Unlike many comedians, Bill Bailey doesn’t hide behind a comedy routine or put on another persona when I interview him. He’s far too highbrow for that.
The intelligent worldly 47-year-old comic and musician has a wealth of knowledge and he’s willing to share it.
There’s the forthcoming documentary he’s preparing about the unsung hero of evolution Alfred Wallace, the ‘myth’ that Americans don’t get British humour and how he never has a support act as he has too much to share with a crowd as it is.
Perhaps the only thing he steps aside from talking about is Never Mind The Buzzcocks, the BBC2 show that he reportedly left acrimoniously after 11 series.
When I ask if he’d consider going back, he gentlemanly speaks about “not looking that far ahead” and “taking some time out after the tour”.
That aside, Bailey is awash with excitement ahead of the UK leg of his worldwide Dandelion Mind Tour which he launches at Birmingham LG Arena on November 1.
“This show started out as a way of getting back to my roots of stand-up,” Bailey tells me. “I started it in little venues in Scotland, playing community halls and art centres.”
From there, the tour expanded out to Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada before being homeward bound for its final journey.
“This is a more complete show than I have ever done before,” adds the comic.
“I like to see something that has a flow with different elements, visual and musical, creating light and shade.
“There’s stand-up and traditional stuff, a lot of physical business, almost slapstick, folk rock, jazz, rap, hip-hop, state of the art Japanese gizmos.
“It’s different and more intellectual comedy. I love performing it.
“This is the last time I will tour it and there is a lot of sadness, but I have to move on.”
Bailey, who has been named as one of Britain’s top 50 funniest acts and in the top ten of greatest stand-ups in the past eight years, seems keen to show off his creation in the heartlands of Britain and describes Birmingham like an old friend.
“It’s always good fun in Birmingham,” chuckles Bailey. “It’s my chance to go out and have a decent curry.
“I used to come to Birmingham a lot when I was doing the clubs, places like the Bearwood Tavern where Frank Skinner started, and would always go for a Balti. Frank would be compering when I came up and played there.
“There’s a perception that comedy is different in different cultures, like the old cliche of Americans not getting irony,” Bailey adds with annoyance in his voice.
“That is a complete myth. Comedy translates all over the world and now, more so than ever before.
“The huge rise in posting comedy clips on the internet means people can see comedy from everywhere.
“People are quite savvy about comedy. You can pick and choose and there’s a lot out there I am enjoying. Comedy is in a great state of affairs at the moment.”
?Bill Bailey appears at the LG Arena on November 1. Details at: www.lgarena.co.uk/whatson/bill-bailey