Go give comedian Patrick a hug at Felixstowe Spa

We all need four hugs a day for basic survival, says comedian Patrick Monahan. If you need more than 24 you’re addicted and need to find a support group.

Talk soon turns to cuddling and spooning. Don’t worry, the interview’s not taken an inappropriate turn.

It’s just one of the topics the winner of ITV1’s Show Me the Funny gets to grips with in his new tour which comes to Felixstowe’s Spa Pavilion on March 2.

Direct from the Edinburgh Festival, Hug Me I Feel Good is a bit of light-hearted fun, a bit topical with some pure “bang, bang, bang” stand-up thrown in.

“The majority of people who have come out to see this show just want to have a laugh, so I steer away from having anything too heavily themed,” Patrick says.

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“I also talk about stuff happening at the moment. I just found out we’re a trillion pounds in debt and owe 43billion a year in interest; I’m like ‘oh my God, did they get the loan from Wonga.com’?”

It was legendary comic Dave Allen who got him first interested in stand-up. Ironic, as neither can remember him standing up much.

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“My dad, being Irish, would just be cracking up, rolling about. I thought ‘you know what, if I could do it I’d love to do a job like this’.”

Patrick’s brother was the one who really got him started.

“I came down to visit him in London and it was totally different. This was like 2000-2001; up north everything was closed. They had like one alternative comedy club.

“In London there was one or two clubs on every street corner. My brother said ‘you like your talking, your comedy, why don’t you just go along, go on and do five minutes’?”

He grabbed some local listings, watched a bit of a show and the following week was back, this time on stage.

“Comedy is the only job or profession in the world where there’s no training, no course, no apprenticeship, if you want to do it you’ve just got to jump in.”

The live circuit and festivals beckoned. Aside from some warm up gigs and bits and pieces on the Paul O’Grady show he shied away from telly.

Panel shows weren’t, still aren’t, his thing; he prefers a real audience.

Then Show me The Funny came along.

Loads of comics on the circuit were approached to take part in the series, a sort of The Apprentice meets Britain’s Got Talent.

Patrick and the rest had to try material just a few days old out on some of the toughest audiences imaginable - from squaddies to school kids.

“It’s not [somewhere] you’d normally do even your best material. It was madness really but good fun. I thought to be honest it’ll go out on ITV1 and even if I get voted out after two weeks it doesn’t really matter; it’s a bit of exposure.”

He wasn’t wrong, after winning the show 500 people turned up to see Patrick play in his hometown of Middlesbrough.

“Normally you might be lucky if you get 150; it was bonkers and purely because of the show. Okay it was a little bit of a gamble but to be honest that’s the whole point of stand-up, the whole point of life I suppose - that you’re only as good as your next gig.”

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