Frank Skinner is back on tour for the first time in seven years with his coruscating new show, Man in a Suit. And he just can’t wait!

He’s has had an immensely successful broadcasting career ranging from The Frank Skinner Show and Fantasy Football League in the 1990s to today’s Room 101 (which is currently in its third series for BBC1), and his Sony Award-winning Absolute Radio show.

But it is as a stand-up comedian where he feels most at home.

Over the years he’s won numerous awards for his stand-up, including the prestigious Perrier Award in 1991. He is very much looking forward to returning to the stage.

“It’s so different from other stuff. I love interacting with the audience,” affirms the comedian, the proud father of a one-year-old son called Buzz. “When it goes well, suddenly I feel like I’m part of the audience as well.

“Those moments are very precious because they’re not repeatable. They happen so quickly that you’re not even aware of the process.”

What makes Frank’s live work so special is its unalloyed candour. As he ranges over such a varied subjects as relationships, religion, rows with your partner, filth, salty popcorn, Prince Charles, long black leather coats, the yard of ale, giving to the homeless, the Tube and taste, he delivers his material with a sense of honesty.

This makes sense from a comedian whose first autobiography was simply entitled Frank.

“Honesty is vital,” he reflects. “Everything I do is autobiographical. When I’ve strayed from that and tried to write a novel in the third person or sitcoms, they have not been great. I’m essentially an autobiographical writer. I once read a biography of Jack London. It revealed that he wrote by buying a story from someone and then developing that into a novel. His justification was that his gift lay in expression, not invention. I suspect I’m the same.”

So just how much of Frank’s material in Man in a Suit is lifted directly from his own life?

“You’d be amazed! I embroider very little. I never completely invent anything. I think it would lack conviction if I did. It feels more real when it is true.”

One thing that has changed about Frank’s act over the years is that it now is a lot less blue than it was in the past.

“There’s a bit of filth, but not much. When I do Room 101 or my radio show, I’m very me. I don’t feel phoney. I’m very clean because it’s eight in the morning.”

All the same, 57-year-old Frank adds: “I still have to do a bit of filth on stage. If I didn’t, that would be like Bernie Clifton not performing with his ostrich. So I go through a process of negotiation with my audience – ‘let me read you some haikus, and I’ll trade you that for some knob gags later on.’ I think that’s a fair deal. I’ll talk about Plato, and I’ll then give you a knob gag. It’s like training a dog: you have to sit while I say my bit, but then I’ll reward you with a chocolate biscuit afterwards.”

Frank closes by returning to the subject of how much is looking forward to performing live once more with Man in a Suit.

“I’ve always had the showing off gene. I see it now in my son. The other day he did an impression of me doing the impression of Louis Armstrong, and I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder! So on stage I want to show off. If the audience are laughing, I want to make them laugh even more.”