Fancy that, Paul’s on his way with his debut tour

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According to Michael McIntyre, who you would expect to know about such things, nobody makes him laugh like Paul Tonkinson.

That could be a double-edged compliment, because the megacomic’s laugh is definitely an acquired taste and if it featured as an uncontrollable accompaniment to Paul’s stand-up gig at the Old Town Hall on Friday night it could really take the shine off the night.

Be that as it may, there’s no denying that Paul has been one of the most reliable performers on the stand-up circuit for years, and his combination of quick wit and spot-on character comedy have earned him a reputation as a real rib-tickler.

Although he’s a familiar face on TV and has regularly landed radio gigs in the past, the Hemel Hempstead date is actually part of his first national tour, under the title Fancy Man, and comes 20 years after he first hit the circuit.

But he reckons it’s been worth the wait. “I’d done smaller tours previously but the time felt right and my schedule opened up to do it,” he said.

“I feel more confident now and more daring in my subject choices. The show is an hour and a half of pure stand-up over two halves. All killer, no filler - there’s loads of new stuff and space for a bit of on-the-night nonsense if it so arises.

“I’m loving the art and craft of stand-up and see it as providing everything I could want creatively.”

Born in Scarborough in 1969 and a famously fanatical Manchester United – as we all know, there’s no requirement for you to be born in Manchester to follow the Red Devils – Paul’s most sustained spell in the spotlight came with presenting roles on The Big Breakfast and The Sunday Show, and his comedy credentials were confirmed with the capture of the Time Out New Act Of The Year title in 1991 followed by another Time Out nod as Stand Up Comic Of The year five years later.

Tickets for his OH show are £12 (£10 concessions) from or 01442 228091.