Tom Stade answers the phone like I’ve just woken him up. It’s 11am and, according to his tour date list, the Canadian, who lives in Edinburgh, wasn’t gigging last night. Or either of the two nights before that.
So what’s the father-of-two’s excuse for sleeping in and being in urgent need of coffee?
“I fell asleep on the sofa watching American Psycho,” he says.
“I don’t usually go in for those things, but I like that guy Christian Bale. I had three days off from touring Sammy,” he continues, through a heavily-accented yawn, “and I’m not used to taking many breaks... plus I’m trying to quit smoking and this is like my second day. I’m a little flustered.”
He’s also more than a little giggly, to the point that for a long time I think he’s joking when he tells me the in-laws he acquired when he married his wife of 17 years, Trudie, actually hail from Newcastle, and her British citizenship was the reason they were able to move to the UK... I’m still not 100% sure.
During the interview - which quickly develops its own canned laughter soundtrack - there are many answers delivered through what I can only assume is a chortle filter, meanwhile a tangent exploring the notion of putting stand-up comedy on the curriculum of a seven-year-old, quickly produces a very infectious bout of hysteria.
This is a regular occurrence when you’re in Tom’s born-performer presence though.
“When I’m on stage, I’ll normally connect with a couple of people who will be laughing uncontrollably,” he says. “And then I start laughing uncontrollably with them, because I know what the next thing I’m gonna say is... and I know it’s gonna floor ’em. It’s beautiful.”
Having spent more than a decade doing his distinctive, slightly drunken-style thing in the UK - and around eight years gigging in Canada before that - Tom says the lure of the singular mic on a stage only deepens as time marches on. “I was gone the first time I went on stage to do stand up in 1989,” he says. “That rush of making people laugh... there’s nothing like it - probably because it’s the most difficult thing to do.
“I can walk in a room and make people angry or sad - everybody can do that. But making someone laugh is incredible and the longer you do this job the better you get at it and the bigger the rush. It never gets old.”
Tom says a childhood listening to comedy greats like George Carlin with his dad (“I can still do his routines”), should have signalled his future career.
“Looking back I suppose I should have known it would be stand up, but to begin with I thought it was going to be acting.
“I was never going to be a physicist, that’s for sure... but I guess I knew I was going to perform, and I do take what I do seriously.”
Never more so than in recent years since a friend inspired him to adopt a more nine-to-five approach to material creation.
“So now two or three days a week I sit down to work and don’t leave it alone until five.
“I want to be the best of the best... and I don’t know if I’ll get there, but I’m gonna have a shot.”
Although doubtless considered a comedy circuit stalwart, the wider comedy-loving public have perhaps only become aware of Tom’s sharp-suited charms since his increasing TV appearances on the likes of Live at the Apollo and Mock The Week.
It’s perhaps thanks to slots like these that his debut DVD will be coming out next month.
“On Amazon and in HMV because we don’t have a massive PR budget,” he laughs.
“It was the first time a big company had wanted to put me on a DVD... it’s kind of like all of my best jokes in one place and, I’ll tell ya, it’s very funny.”
I don’t doubt it.
Spending some time taking a Tom Stade tour on YouTube produced more than a handful of laugh-out-loud moments (apologies to nearby colleagues who weren’t sharing my headphones) - and the best of it is, none of them were from his Totally Rocks show, which returns to The Stand Newcastle on Tuesday.
“I’ll see you there for a beer,” says Tom, grabbing the last laugh. “I’ll just be off to work on some jokes now.” For tickets, call 0844 693 3336 or visit thestand.co.uk