DAVE Twentyman, the compere of Blackburn's regular Frog & Bucket comedy night, talks about the highs and lows of life as a comic... and how to deal with hecklers.

COMEDIAN Dave Twentyman reckons he has a lot to thank Blackburn comedy fans for.

His first ever stand-up gig, back in 2002, was at the Frog & Bucket comedy club — then based at Eanam Wharf — and the experience is what got him hooked.

“At the time I was working as a lab technician and one day I watched a Peter Kay DVD and thought 'that looks easy, I could do that'," said St Helens-based Dave.

“Before that I thought stand-up was about firing off one-liners about your mother-in-law, but observational comedy is just telling stories.

"I was always the centre of attention with my friends so I knew I could do that.

“So I emailed the late Martin Cassidy and he invited me to come down to a Frog & Bucket night in Blackburn.

"I ended up getting really drunk. Martin said: ‘Do you want a go?’ and handed me the mic, but I in that state where you're so drunk you're not aware of what’s going on so I didn't know how badly it went.

"All I remember is getting one huge laugh, and that was enough to get me hooked.”

Dave now plays to audiences across the UK and abroad and in 2004 won St Helen’s Comedian of the Year.

In early 2007 he became a full-time professional comic and regularly comperes at King George’s Hall’s monthly comedy night.

His job is to warm up the audience and ensure they're in a good mood for the acts.

“I do about 15 minutes between each act,” said Dave.

“I go on to a cold audience at the beginning and I have to warm them up and make sure they're comfy and in a good mood for the first act.

"If an act is struggling I have to go on and pick the audience back up, and sometimes I even have to bring them down a bit.”

Dave’s style is observational and he loves interacting with audiences.

“If I don't talk to the audience it doesn't feel right,” he said.

“If I just run through my material they might as well put a TV screen on the stage.”

Audience participation, of course, means hecklers are more common. But that doesn't bother Dave.

“To be honest, I'm used to proper rough audiences,” he said.

“I know what do to with hecklers — I come tooled up ready to handle them.

“I did a bikers' rally recently. They were the scariest-looking people you've ever seen.

"They were there with their big arms and ZZ Top beards looking scary — they were probably bank managers during the week.

"You have just got to go out all guns blazing, slam a few of them, then they're up for it.”

The best part of the job, according to Dave, is simply the high of getting the laughs.

“Storming a room is an amazing feeling," he said.

“I'm a bit shy in my normal life. I like the idea of walking out of the club and no-one knowing who I am. I just get a kebab and go home.”

People who make Dave laugh include Michael McIntyre and Lee Evans.

“I love Michael McIntyre’s new Saturday night show,” he said.

“I know a lot of the comics who have appeared on it and it's so great to watch your mates on TV.

"You're thinking 'Come on, do your stuff'. Mind you, there's a few who you think ‘Go on, die on your a**e’.

"It’s as bitchy as other jobs" target="_blank">work places, it really is.”

l See Dave Twentyman as well as Chris Roche, Gary Delaney and Roger Monkhouse at King George's Hall's Frog & Bucket comedy night on Friday, July 3. For tickets call 0844 847 1664 or visit the website below.