Alan Davies is one of those rare comedians whose stand-up delivery makes him feel like one of your best mates telling stories.
He’s had 25 years behind the mic to hone his craft but you suspect he’s always just naturally been a funny bugger.
Davies – star of TV shows QI and Jonathan Creek – returns to Queenstown on Tuesday with his critically-acclaimed Little Victories.
Davies says: “It’s two hours – there’s a lot in there.
“I came back to stand-up four years ago with a show called Life is Pain.
“There was some quite personal stuff in that one and I’ve followed up on that really.
“I feel it’s a better show because it’s only me who could do it; I couldn’t flog the stuff to another stand-up.”
Now aged 49, he says he’s able to talk on stage about difficult moments in his life.
“I touch on a few things that happened when I was younger; I lost my mum when I was a kid, which I wasn’t really able to talk about when I was a young comedian back in my 20s.
“There’s also quite a lot on my kids, about my father who’s got Alzheimer’s at the moment, about what it’s like being a kid, what it’s like being a parent, so it resonates for most audiences.
“I think it’s the best stand-up I’ve done.”
Davies says there’s also a lengthy section on painful sexual intercourse.
“I wanted to call the show Sex is Pain, following on from Life is Pain, but my promoter thought we might attract the wrong sort of crowd.”
He doesn’t use writers, but gathering together two hours of material is a fairly simple process for someone who sees the funny side of life.
“I didn’t think I’d have this much, it’s a lot of fun.
“I don’t sit with a blank bit of paper and script it. It’s about jotting down things that you think are funny. It might be something you thought of, remember, or overheard.
“I end up with a big pile of paper with notes on, so I type them up, print them off, and go into a little studio theatre and read them out to an audience.
“You see which lines you thought were funny actually are, and what can be combined with other things – that’s my process, getting some notes, getting on stage and talking it through.
“And it kind of evolves in the telling of it.”
Davies has been to Queenstown before but only on holiday – although that didn’t stop him gleaning some material on bungy jumping for his 2009 show Urban Trauma.
This time around he’s just here one night for the show, which he’s been touring now for over a year.
“It’s a bit annoying for me because I’ve one day off the whole tour and it’s in Invercargill.
“I was hoping it’d be Queenstown, but then if I go skiing I’ll only break my leg and have to cancel the whole tour – probably for the best.”
Alan Davies: Little Victories comes to the Queenstown Memorial Centre, Tuesday, 8pm. Tickets are $69.