Paul Merton UK tour with Out of My Head

Paul Merton to visit Scotland with his Out of My Head show

The stand-up will be joined be Impro Chums Lee Simpson, Richard Vranch and Suki Webster

It’s 14 long years since Paul Merton last embarked on a solo tour of the UK. Since then he has performed with his Impro Chums across the country and at several Edinburgh Fringes. The reason he gave up the former is the same reason he has been happy to continually do the latter. ‘Back in 1998 when I was out on tour I found myself sitting on my own at the interval drinking a cup of tea and listening to the buzz of the audience. I felt like the loneliest person in the building and I thought, “This is mad”.’

Merton is certainly not going to make that mistake again and so his three Impro Chums – Lee Simpson, Richard Vranch and Suki Webster – will be joining him for Out of My Head, a show billed as ‘sketches, music, magic, variety and dancing girls (two of them aren’t girls)’. Magic? ‘I don’t want to give too much away just yet, but for now we’re calling it special effects. I’ll let the mind boggle on that.’

In terms of the stand-up element, Merton will do 30-40 minutes in front of the mic and while he will usher his trio on and off, he will be on stage for the whole show. So what has enticed him back? ‘I made a trilogy of films last year about the early days of Hollywood and spent a lot of time in the editing suite. I just loved the process of putting something together. With the impro show you never get the chance to retune or hone something. With this you are saying, “This is the show”, you’re not just asking for a household object.’ And he’s perfectly happy to spread the burden across his fellow performers. ‘Contrary to what you might think, I do get tired of listening to my own voice. There’s an exclusive.’

Perth Concert Hall, Mon 26 Mar; Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 27 Mar.

Paul Merton: Out of My Head

The Have I Got News for You stalwart returns to stand-up after a 13-year absence, with help from his improv chums Lee Simpson, Richard Vranch and Suki Webster, for a night of bizarre musings, sketches and dancing girls (and boys).

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