Comedian Patrick Monahan reckons: “You have to have a few screws loose to do this job.”
And he should know. After beavering away for the best part of a decade, regularly touring and grabbing the odd TV appearance, the 35-year-old has just scooped a £100,000 prize, a DVD deal and national tour after being shouted at by Johnny Vegas and winning over 300 Midland schoolkids.
The winner of ITV1’s search for a new comedy star, Show Me The Funny, Pat relished the challenge, although admits the live final was terrifying.
“Performing in front of 300 people can be nerve-wracking, but performing in front of 3,000 is ten times as mad! And there were also the millions of live ITV viewers at home,” he gulps.
“The nerves only really kick in when you’re standing in the wings ready to go on. For the whole day before, I was pinching myself to see if I was really in the Hammersmith Apollo dressing room, wondering what the hell I was doing there, trying not to use the toilet every three minutes!”
While the prize was welcome, it was the advice from the judges and his mentor he really values.
“One of the main reasons for doing the show was to get some professional advice, which is very rare on the comedy circuit as you just learn by doing gigs.
“If you do well, you carry on doing what you’re doing. If you get heckled and struggle, you sharpen up, but no one ever really tells you what you’re doing wrong, or asks why you’re doing what you’re doing, or asks you to challenge yourself by trying different things on stage.
“So doing Show Me The Funny was priceless, and it really helped me get back to writing and to trying out more material that I write instead of chickening out, doing just banter and improvising with the audience.”
* Patrick Monahan: Hug Me I Feel Good plays the Old Joint Stock on October 11. Ring 0121 200 0946 or go to www.bhamcomfest.co.uk.