Of course Dara O’Briain is excited to be back on stage doing what he does best, live stand-up. But being such a multi-talented bloke, he can’t help but admit it’s not just delivering the gags that excites him, it’s his rapport with the audience that makes him tick.

Because, after hosting a wide range of programmes, from Mock The Week, The Apprentice – You’re Fired! and Stargazing Live as well as travelogues such as Three Men in a Boat, the diverse comedian needs the punters to keep him on his toes.

“I get a thrill from my audience. They remain a great untapped resource. I love interacting with them. They go in directions I would never have thought of,” he beams.

“One of the things that makes stand-up great and different is it’s so reactive. You break the fourth wall and engage in a really natural conversation. You don’t want to fall into the corny trap of taking the micky because you’re not just looking for a victim, but someone who will add something. The audience feel the tension when it is off-the-cuff and can sense it’s unique. It’s fun!”

In other words, you are his favourite comedy tool and one he never tires of. “Some chat is based on my bewilderment with the world of work. I’m institutionalised in my life, so real people who do real work baffle me! Nowadays, people rarely do jobs we learnt about as children – butchers or bakers.

“A guy the other night said he was in investment insurance!”

The comedian, who this spring also presents Dara O Briain’s School of Hard Sums, a maths series on Dave, continues: “If you do gigs in colleges, you find the students are studying really specific subjects. They’ll say ‘I am studying the freezing of fish – not just any fish, flat fish!’”

The hard part of stand-up is finding topics, he says. “Once you’ve got them, your natural stance takes off. This far into a career, you’re like a sitcom character. Your persona takes over. What’s mine? Argumentative with a tendency towards misadventure. Not the most catchy title!”

So what themes will Dara address in Craic Dealer Live? He has just hit 40. “There is a long section about whether we shift to the right as we get older. Once we reach a certain age, are we on a slippery slope of golf membership and planning applications? Is it a lifetime of tiny battles?

“That started with the riots last summer. I saw how quickly Twitter went authoritarian. Midway through the first night, rubber bullets and water cannon were proposed. I thought, ‘Wow, that didn’t take long!’”

The comic reflects: “All stand-up shows are about ageing. At one point in Craic Dealer Live, I ridicule the phrase, ‘something for the dads’. Because now I’m being catered for by X Factor producers who think, ‘throw him a bone with some sexy choreography’. I’m no longer an angry young Turk shaking the world.”

And yet, a pipe and slippers are a million miles away from Dara. “As long as you’re getting and giving pleasure performing, you don’t want to stop. The Rolling Stones are still at it – so what’s the problem? I still love this is much as ever. I never want to give it up!”