Hat of doom in hand, it's Andy Hamilton

Comic Andy Hamilton happily admits to being an egomaniac. As he says, you probably have to be an egomaniac to do what he does.

But alongside that, he’s now getting an off-the-leash surge of freedom just at the moment.

Andy is back on the road, with his Andy Hamilton’s Hat Of Doom tour taking in The Brook, Southampton on May 13 and Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre on May 17.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

“I do stand-up once every 15 months or so. I just go and have a little burst. It’s different (from TV) in the sense that it is just me and I am in control, for good or ill. It’s very liberating. You just get up and be a comic in an intimate way.

“Most of us are egomaniacs. It’s very good to get up and perform,” says Andy, known to millions for his appearances on Have I Got News for You and QI as well as his frequent appearances on BBC Radio 4 as a panellist, guest and as Satan in Old Harry’s Game.

“When you write, obviously it’s quite a desk-based activity. You live inside your head a lot.”

Inevitably, you need the great sounding board which an audience will always be. They will let you know whether you are funny or not.

“That’s what’s fascinating because you are constantly revising and experimenting”

It’s about living off your wits, particularly with this show where the audience are particularly important in shaping the whole thing. A big element of the show is the Hat Of Doom into which Andy places a number of possible subjects for him to talk about; the audience then pick these out of the hat for him to respond to.

Also part of the show, Andy invites the audience in the interval to write down questions and place them on the stage - questions which Andy then picks up and answers at random in the second half of the show.

Some of the questions are perhaps predictable, but others might just be unanswerable. Andy’s task becomes to make their sheer unanswerability part of the show.

The point is that no two shows are the same: “I wanted to do my one-man show, but I didn’t want to just be doing the same routines every night. Having written for people in the early days and seen them do the same thing every night, I decided that I needed to have a format that kept me sharp and on my toes.”