Paul Chowdhry on his life in two different worlds
Social media has a lot to answer for in this internet age... Not least the metaphoric rise of comedian Paul Chowdhry.
The London-born comic has been known in the past to film Facebook profiles of people who were abusive to him online, complete with a running commentary, and then upload the videos on to Facebook where they got millions of views.
It is this clever use of social media that has enabled Paul to build up one of the most diverse audiences of any current stand-up. But when he heads to Preston on December 21 audiences shouldn't worry too much about such exploits!
Paul said: "This show is called Live Innit and it is a journey about where I have been so far in my life and what's got me to this point and all the experiences.
"I talk about some darker issues, like depression and the world we live in and social stigma.
"Just different things that I tend to cover across the show, and try and bring light to it. And help the audience a bit if they are having similar experiences."
And when I asked if the show is scripted he told me: "Obviously I have written the show but there is a lot of improvisation. I kind of pride myself on being an improvisational comic, so I like to improvise in every show.
"There are people who come back to the show five times because they like the improvisation."
But how did this funnyman get started in the tough and unrelenting world of stand-up comedy?
"I started stand-up in mid-98 and I was still quite new, so I wasn't established in the 90s."
This I found quite surprising as Paul looks quite young in his press photos and videos online. I mentioned this to him and he laughed: "I wish! I'm 43!"
Once recovered, he continued: "I grew up in the 90s, so it was my era. And yeah I started then. I just did the clubs for a number of years. Did a few TV bits over the past 10 years and this is my third national tour - Live Innit. And the first two tours seemed to be quite a hit with the public and it has took me on to where I am now - where I am doing Wembley Arena and 140-odd dates, with 20 in Australia."
So you're enjoying global appeal I questioned. And he chuckled. "I'm from north west London. I was born in Edgeware and I grew up in Edgeware. I'm not too far from there now, so I'm still around that kind of area, but obviously travelling around the world. And doing this. It's kind of alright."
Each stand-up comedian that you encounter has his own style and view of things that make him or her unique. Paul said: "The stuff I do, it's social commentary, very autobiographical. I talk about my life and my experiences - being British-born asian as well, certain things that revolve around that.
"I grew up in two different worlds - one being British and one being Indian at the same time. But the personal problem was being British and now that's kinda influenced my comedy."
But what often influences a comic most is other comedians: "When I grew up I watched a lot of American stand-ups. A lot of British mainstream comedy like Bruce Forsyth, Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper and stuff like that. They were my main influences as a child.
"And comedy in the UK I think was a bit stagnated in that sense. In terms of stand-up it's probably just getting a big boom now, while in America it was in the 70s. So I grew up watching a lot of George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Sam Kinison, people like that."
And with his career now already hitting a high, playing Wmebley, and that all important global appeal, I asked where he might see himself in five years time. He answered: "I've already done Wembley Arena, that was a sold-out show at Wembley Arena - 10,000 people came to that.
"I did two nights at the Hammersmith Apollo, that was about 4,000 people each night.
"And then the dates extended into next year because the Apollo sold out in a couple of days, and then Wembley sold so we just continued the tour into different cities and towns.
"And even though I'm selling out Wembley, I'm still coming to places like Lancashire and smaller venues to get to the people who can't get to those venues.
"So I don't like to say that I'm just this comic that just plays big venues. I'm this person who can play to the people and also get to the more intimate rooms. Whereas certain comics will only play arenas and they won't play the smaller rooms because it's a different kind of performance.
"I like the intimacy of comedy and I like the areas as well, so I like to play both worlds."
Paul enjoys coming to Lancashire and says: "This is my third tour there actually. I've done it a number of times and that's why I am coming back because the crowds are so great up in Lancashire. They always tend to fill it out up there."
But does he ever get nervous?
"Sometimes yeah, and sometimes I don't get nervous, and then I try and make myself nervous just to get a bit of the nerves going before I walk on. Sometimes if I'm too calm then I'm a bit worried that I'm just too calm."
If you want to find out for yourself what makes Paul Chowdhry tick, catch him at the Guild Hall in Preston on Thursday, December 21. Doors open 8pm and tickets are £21.50. They are available online at https://prestonguildhall.co.uk/shows/paul-chowdhry/ or by calling the box office on 01772 80 44 40.