Rob Brydon has come to our interview directly from the photoshoot for his new live tour. The comedian deadpans that, “I was looking rather lovely in a suit and freshly pressed shirt. It was a glorious sight to behold. As you know, I’m a very elegant man. I encapsulate a lot of Daniel Craig.” A pause. “Albeit after he’s been savagely beaten.”

This is typical of the infectious sense of humour with which Rob has made his name over the last three decades. The tremendous news is that you will be able to witness this first-hand on his new nationwide tour, Songs & Stories, which comes to Watford Colosseum on Wednesday, March 25.

The twist is that on this tour, as well as his fantastically funny stand-up and his dazzling array of impersonations, Rob will be treating audiences to his superb singing, accompanied by very talented eight-piece band.

Rob makes for wonderful company. He is just as entertaining offstage as he is on it.

Rob first broke through on TV with programmes including Marion and Geoff, Human Remains and The Keith Barret Show. He went on to gain a huge following from such comedies as Gavin and Stacey, Would I Lie to You? and The Trip.

But for all his success on TV, Rob has been yearning for return to his live roots.

He said: “Live comedy is just such a buzz. People come just to see you. Sometimes you stand on stage thinking, ‘Good God, these people have all gone to the trouble of paying a babysitter and chosen to come and watch my show.’ That’s a very special feeling.

“Sometimes people say, ‘I can’t imagine getting up on stage and performing. It would be so terrifying.’ But you don’t choose that life – it’s almost a calling, something you just have to do.”

Because he is known primarily as a comedian, Rob is conscious that performing Songs & Stories might be regarded as a risky business. But, he asserts, “It’s a deliberate risk.

I want to go outside my comfort zone and test myself. I’ll be nervous before this tour thinking, ‘What will the reaction be?’ But I’m taking a chance, and the fact that there is risk involved is part of the thrill of it.”

Since appearing in a school production of Guys and Dolls, Rob has always loved singing. In 2009, alongside Ruth Jones, Robin Gibb, and Sir Tom Jones, he reached number one in the charts with the single Islands in the Stream, in aid of Comic Relief. He has also performed with such music stars as Neil Diamond, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Sharleen Spiteri.

For all that, Rob is well aware that some people might still be taken aback by what they perceive as a change of tack with Songs & Stories.

“It will take some people by surprise. Some people might only know me from Gavin and Stacey. Those people often say to me, ‘I didn’t know you could sing’. I hope this show is a very pleasant surprise for audiences.”

Rob continues that, “At the end of the day, I’m there to entertain people. I recently went to see Jeff Goldblum play with his band. That was wonderful. That guy was just there to entertain people. He played his songs, but he did lots of other things as well, like film quizzes. The show followed no rulebook.

“I found that very liberating and quite instructive. It showed me that you don’t have to follow the rules. You can make the show whatever you want it to be. So that’s what I’ve done with Songs & Stories.”

Rob, who trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff before moving to a job at BBC Wales, reveals that Songs & Stories will recount his life story through a series of anecdotes and songs by such varied artists as Paul Simon, George and Ira Gershwin, Stephen Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits.

Rob wraps up by expressing what he hopes audiences will take away from Songs & Stories.

“I hope people will come out happier than when they went in because they’ve had such a great time. I hope they will have forgotten about the world for two hours.

“As a performer in the last few years, you can really feel that people just want to escape. It’s tangible. People come up to you afterwards and say, ‘I’m so glad you didn’t talk about the state of the country or the current US President.’ My show is an escape. People want to go out and be entertained. In times of adversity, which you could definitely say we are in now, people want that more than ever.”

Never more than a minute away from the next joke, Rob adds with a wry grin: “Of course, if the box office is still open, a percentage of the audience will be looking for a refund, I don’t doubt that. I can only hope that the more forgiving among them will draw a line in the sand and put it behind them!”

Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, Watford, Wednesday, March 25, 7.30pm. Details: 01923 571102