If a week is a long time in politics, then a decade must be worth at least a lifetime in comedy years.
Or at least it must sometimes seem that way to St Helens funnyman Dave Twentyman.
Ten, long years ago, Dave was an aspiring stand-up, fitting his nascent comic dreams around his day job.
All that changed, though, when he won a St Helens Reporter competition to find the town’s brightest up and coming comedian.
Embolden by his triumph, he went on to establish an unblemished record on the live circuit, regularly performing with, and writing for, some of the biggest names in comedy.
Not that the modest 35-year-old sees himself as some kind of comedy superstar.
Far from it.
“I’m sort of like the Spiderman of comedy,” says Dave. “I do my comedy thing at night, but then during the day I slip back to normal society and no-one knows who I am.”
Dave’s transformation from a humble lab technician to comedy superhero began with stints at open mic nights.
By the time he got to our Barrel of Laugh contest, which was staged at the Citadel, he’d been well and truly bitten by the comedy bug.
Said Dave: “When I turned up at the competition, I was so competitive and put myself under so much pressure to win, that when I did it was more a relief than anything else.
“But winning it was massive for me. It made me realise that I was decent at it. I suspected I was and I was glad that I knew I hadn’t been kidding myself.”
The win was also timely. He’d just lost his job and badly needed a regular income.
“I’d just moved house and had a bigger mortgage, so it was that thing of having to make things happen,” he said. “After the competition, doors opened, and I had the confidence to go out and earn myself a reputation.”
Since then he has travelled the globe, and performed at a mind-boggling number of concerts. But whether it’s a mega-sized festival or smaller clubs, dad-of-two Dave’s homespun wit has lost none of its winning gleam.
“I just talk about daft stuff I do, so the comedy has sort of grown with me,” said Dave. “I am getting older; I’m 35 now. I have a chiminea and if I can’t cook something on it, then I like to burn things.
“I like to burn things in the back garden, that’s what I do. So that the kind of things I talk about on stage. It’s nothing fancy.”
After 10 years as a top performer, what next for the affable Twentyman?
“I love performing; it’s an addiction, a buzz,” he says. “You crave the next laugh because it is like a feeling of validation.”
While he’s played to big crowds, the years of stage adulation have done nothing to dent Dave’s down-to-earth nature.
“One of my best ever gigs was opening for Tim Minchin at Leeds Festival. There were about 3,500 people and it was absolutely rocking.”
And the worst?
“I was at was this cricket club, completely dying on stage, they just weren’t getting me at all,” he explains.
“I kept hearing cheering from the next room, and eventually I had to ask the audience what it was and they said, ‘Oh, that’s meat raffle’.
“I think it’s important to realise that whatever you do, sometimes you just can’t compete with a meat raffle. If that doesn’t keep you grounded, nothing will.”
g Read Dave brilliantly funny article about his beloved hometown exclusively on our website.