THE cheeky-faced, toothy comedian Rob Beckett – best known for presenting the spin-off show to I’m a Celebrity – seems partly surprised, partly humbled by his success.

He comes to the Palace Theatre as part of his national tour which has been extended due to popular demand. Tickets are selling really well, he says, in that very fast-talking, enthusiastic, boy-next-door way of his.

Rob, 28, is naturally funny, with a knack of seeing the amusing side of everyday things, without really trying to be too clever or contrived, which really is the idea for his gig.

“Oh, it’s the type of show where you could come with your nan or your kids. It’s just me, talking about things I find funny, like being working class and going out with a middle-class girlfriend.

“It’s more like ‘come round for a chat’, the laugh’s all on me. I just want people to have a laugh and leave happy.”

Perhaps it’s this seemingly down-to-earth and affable nature that has seen Rob’s popularity continue to soar since he started out in 2009, performing stand-up in pubs.

“I just wanted to have a go at it at first,” he says. “I got on the stage and it was that thrill of ‘well, I’ll try this and will they laugh or won’t they laugh?’ thing. When they do, it really is such a thrill.

“I don’t think I decided to make a career in it though. To be honest, it’s a hobby that has got well out of hand, but I’ve kept doing it.

“If I didn’t, I suppose I’d be a black cab driver like me dad. That’s the way I see it really, if this all goes wrong, I can always do the Knowledge.”

Despite the uncalculated start, it was obviously something he did well, quickly enjoying success in all of the new comedian competitions, winning four in his first year. Rob finished as a runner-up in So You Think You’re Funny and won the Amused Moose Laugh Off, which earned him an invite to perform at comedy festivals in Australia. At a festival in Adelaide, Rob was nominated for the best newcomer award. He then made his debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2012, with his solo show, Rob Beckett’s Summer Holiday.

It was in that same year he got the job on I’m a Celebrity... Get me Out of Here! Now! on ITV2.

I ask him if (even though he has been on telly in loads of other shows), that’s when he started to get recognised more, given the huge popularity of the jungle-set game show.

“I suppose so, athough I don’t really get recognised in Australia,” he mused.

“It’s a bit weird. People ask me things like what Ant and Dec are like, but I don’t really think too much about that side of it, the fame stuff. I just try to concentrate on being funny and getting better. If I thought about it too much, like, ‘oh my god I’m standing in a room with Ant and Dec’, I don’t think that would do me much good.

“I just think they are two really nice blokes. I’ll chat to them like I will chat to everyone, the dustman or the postman. That’s how it should be really, isn’t it? Treating everyone the same. I like chatting to people – it’s nice.

“Thing is, I live in a bit of a rough area in Lewisham, so when someone looks at you because you’re off the telly, well it’s the same look they might give you just before they hit you and mug you. It’s a bit disconcerting. I haven’t been mugged yet, by the way, so hopefully they just look at me like that because they recognise me.

“I think doing the telly stuff, probably doing Live at the Apollo, gets you recognised.”

At the time of our conversation, Rob’s appearance at the theatre had just gone out on TV.

“I loved doing it,” he said, “although it is nerve-wracking – there are about 3,000 people there.

“The weird thing is I can listen back to myself on recordings, but I can’t watch back things that have been on the telly. It makes me go all funny.

“I think it’s because I put so much effort into it, and I want it to do well, and what happens on the night happens on the night, so if I’ve done something wrong, well, it’s too late then isn’t it?

“I don’t want to watch it back and worry about it, I just want to keep working to get better.

“I ask my mum – if she says it was alright, then I know it was alright. She’d tell me, her and my girlfriend.”

It’s clear that despite Rob’s success, he realises he is still fairly new to the scene and wants to continue to improve as a comedian.

“I liked Richard Prior and Billy Connolly when I was a kid,” he says, “but I couldn’t necessarily relate to them personally.

“Then when Alan Davies and Peter Kay came along, I realised you can be funny by just talking about normal things. You can just talk about looking after your sister’s dog and it can be funny.

“I think if I find something that is funny to me, something I hear or say or notice, if it makes me laugh and I can re-tell it respectfully and with a little bit of hard work develop that into a routine, that is what works for me.

“It’s a case of becoming more confident too. You know, if you go out and perform all the time, then you get more confident at it, like anything, except the difference is, you might only get five minutes to go out and perform stand-up when you’re first starting out, so you need to do it a lot so you can build it up.

“I mean, if you start a job in an office, on your first day you’re probably well scared, but at least you get 40 hours a week to be there and get better at the job. Can you imagine if you only had five minutes in the office?

“Or you know, if you start driving a car, which is scary, going out in this metal thing on wheels at first, but you only get five minutes to practise, it’d be really hard.”

Rob Beckett
Colchester Arts Centre,
Church Street, Colchester.
March 21. Doors 8pm,
show starts 8.30pm.
£12, £10 concessions. 01206 500900.