By Graham Chalmers
So popular is comedian Jason Manford his current First World Problems tour keeps getting bigger and bigger.
Fans have the chance to see him in the, by his standards, intimate confines of Harrogate Theatre.
He’s already played more 200 dates on the current tour which, so he should certainly be warmed up.
His likeable charm and teasing, intelligent with has won him an army of fans since he shot to stardom on TV as team captain on Channel 4’s 8 Out of 10 Cats in 2007.
And his current show builds on that rapport with a good deal of audience participation inspiring different comic exchanges each night on the First World Problems tour.
Jason said: “I’ve been really enjoying this show; I have fun with the audience, it’s very friendly and relaxed and I never get bored of it.
“I love being on stage and I want to say a huge thank you to the brilliant crowds for their loyal support.”
It’s fair to say Jason has been constantly on the go since he was last on tour, branching out into new areas beyond his stand-up roots.
After his opera singing turn saw him emerge the winner on Born To Shine on ITV1, Jason put his new found talent into practice joining Alfie Boe on tour.
This was followed by a well-received run in the critically acclaimed hit west-end musical Sweeney Todd, starring Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton.
Most recently, Jason appeared alongside Shameless star David Threlfall in ITV1’s drama based on the life of Tommy Cooper, Not Like This, Like That.
Citing Billy Connolly as his all-time comedy hero, he has also been influenced by Tommy Cooper and Peter Kay.
What many people don’t know about the 32-year-old Mancunian is that, rather than coming up through the pub circuit, Jason earned a degree in media and performance at Salford University first – the same course, incidentally, that comic superstar Peter Kay also qualified in.
He made the decision to go to university despite winning the North West Comedian of the Year after just seven gigs,
Talking to Time Out magazine about it, Jason said: “After I won the award, people would ring up and say “can you come and do half an hour at my pub?” And I’d be like: “I’ve only got seven minutes, mate.”
“I decided to go to university because I thought what’s a 17-year-old gonna tell your average 45-year-old punter about life that they don’t already know?’
Since those early days, Jason has been a regular panelist on two series of Odd One In (ITV1) and hosted ITV’s Funny Old Year on New Year’s Eve 2013, giving his unique and personal take on everything from television to sport, from the gaffes to the feuds and the trends of the year.
For tickets for his Harrogate show on Friday, July 11 call the Box Office on 01423 502116 or book online at www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk