IT is the last time that Hal Cruttenden asks his family for suggestions for a name for his show.

When the London comedian was preparing for his tour he was approaching his 50th birthday and then to top it all off his daughters came up with the title, Chubster.

He said: “They chose Chubster because they always used to call me that and still do.

“I really did plan to lose lots of weight before the show thinking it would be funny to have this slim man called Chubster.

“Actually I’ve put on more weight so it’s a title that really suits the way I look.”

The show’s content has given Hal pause for thought though and he admitted he was looking at Slimming World’s website while chatting to Weekend.

“I’ve been trying diets since I started getting overweight in my 30s,” he added.

“I’m probably one of those people who will struggle until the end of my life. Slim people don’t understand. I don’t think they have the same compulsion to just eat badly.

“I never really got over growing up in the 70s and 80s with fizzy drinks and chocolate and crisps. My kids have grown up with far more awareness of sensible eating.

“We didn’t talk about it when I was younger. For me sweet things make me happy and I don’t know how to get over that crisis really. My next thing is to try Slimming World.”

Winsford Guardian:

Being out on the road for the Chubster tour only makes matters worse.

Hal, who has been seen on the likes of Have I Got News for You, The Apprentice: You’re Fired, Bake Off: Extra Slice and Live at the Apollo, said: “You’re so hyped after a gig and then you’re all by yourself so you do tend to go back and have a couple of beers and a packet of crisps.

“It’s also hard when you’re doing long journeys. If you go to a garage you can’t get a piece of fruit at 1am – it’s going to be something bad for you.”

There have been many long journeys considering by the end of the tour he will have performed 120 dates.

But Hal, whose sister Abigail Cruttenden is an actor known for the likes of Not Going Out, said that – junk food aside – it is not as much of an endurance challenge as you would think.

He added: “Years ago my sister was in a play for nine months in the West End and I remember she said it goes through times when you love it and then you really start hating it.

“I think stand-up’s easier than things like acting or playing music because you’ve got this ability to put new things in and have a slightly different show each time.

“I did a show in Southport on Friday that was massively different from the others because there was a woman in the front row who really hated her grown-up children.

“It made the whole show just fantastic. Her son had been in prison and now he’s at sea so that led to lots of questions about whether he was now working with Somali pirates.

“You have interesting people, you have different things happen at different events and I’m always renewing the show in my head.”

Hal knows a thing or two about acting because that was his original career path.

Having originally trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama, he had bit parts on programmes like EastEnders, Kavanagh QC and Touching Evil before discovering stand-up.

“I hated the lack of control with acting,” he said.

“The number of actors who also have another job is now ridiculously high. So I started doing a stand-up course.

“I wanted to be a writer-performer. I’d have loved to have written my own plays when I was an actor.

“I thought I’m not technically a good writer but I’m good at being funny and stand-up is the easiest thing to write.

“You’re saying it, you know exactly how you want to deliver it. So that got me into it and then I got completely addicted to stand-up and it took over my life.

“But it didn’t cross my mind until I was nearly 27 and that was when someone I worked with said: ‘I do a stand-up comedy workshop and you should try doing it’.

“It was like a thunderbolt. It was a moment where I thought: ‘This is the thing’.”

There may be transferable skills between acting and comedy but Hal reckons the differences are more noticeable.

“Stand-up is very brutal,” added Hal, who has had two series of his sitcom Hal on BBC Radio 4.

“I don’t think actors know they’re born basically. If an audience hates a play very rarely do they shout: ‘This is crap’ or boo you off.

“With stand-up you’ll know when you’ve had a bad gig. It’s so immediate. You know when something’s not funny because the audience aren’t laughing at it.

“That’s what’s so captivating about it. Because it is much more ‘dangerous’ but it’s much more thrilling than acting.

“There are some big American stars like Jamie Foxx and Jim Carey who start in stand-up and become movie actors and never come back.

“I would never give it up. If I ever had that situation I would always go back because it’s the biggest thing you can control. If you’re a control freak stand-up is for you.”

Hal Cruttenden presents Chubster at the Pyramid on Friday. Visit parrhall.culturewarrington.org