Funnyman on a one-man warm up mission...

Manford with Matt Lucas on The Matt Lucas Awards.
Manford with Matt Lucas on The Matt Lucas Awards.
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It says much about the status of Jason Manford that he appeared on Radio 2 not once but twice at the weekend.

Which means Graham Norton and Richard Madeley succeeded where I failed because Jason didn’t give an interview to us (if his PR people ever passed on our request that is).

Jason Manford

Jason Manford

But, hey, Jason seems a decent fella and I’m not the type to hold grudges so I’m going to write about him anyway.

The Salford-born comic appears at the Lowther Pavilion in Lytham on Thursday, one of several smaller warm-up shows ahead of a nationwide tour that includes a night at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre in January.

That date is right at the end of a tour that sees Manford out on the road a minimum for four nights a week from now until February.

An exhausting schedule but ‘you’ve got to take the work when you can’, as the 32-year-old puts it.

His show in Lytham is called Work In Progress. Tickets were fairly cheap and as the name suggests, he’ll be testing out material ahead of his main tour.

“People seem to prefer these smaller gigs,” he said. “They seem to think I’d rather it be cheaper and bit rubbish than really good and expensive!”

It’s doubtful much, if any of it, will be rubbish for Manford is an accomplished performer, a genuinely funny man, and one of those comedians whose on-stage easy-going demeanour makes him almost impossible to dislike.

He’s still not convinced it will all go to plan though.

“You write jokes and no matter who you are, no matter how good you are, you sometimes think something is funny on a page but then you say it out loud and the audience just stare at you,” he explained.

“I’ll sometimes add, well that joke’s making its farewell debut. Being a comedian never gets easy. It’s like any workplace on a Monday morning. Someone will tell a story and halfway through they’ll realise it’s not going too well and you end with the words ‘oh well, I suppose you had to be there’.

“You can’t do that on stage – you have to be funny.”

His Lytham show is sold-out but there are tickets available for Manford’s appearance at the Grand on January 23. They’re priced £22.50 – go to www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk or call the box office on 01253 743339.

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If you haven’t got tickets for Manford’s Lytham stop-off on Thursday but still want a laugh, don’t fret - there are two other high-quality, stand-up nights on the Fylde coast.

Comedy Central Station, hosted by Ryan Gleeson, takes place at Viva on Blackpool prom, while Phil Walker’s Woofers Comedy Club is on at Lytham Cricket Club. Both are on Thursday and tickets are still available.