Omid Djalili talks to James Rampton about getting older, being a celebrity and being less political in his act, prior to his gig at the Millfield Arts Centre.

Is stand-up your first love?

I’ve done so many different things but stand-up, when it goes well – it often doesn’t – is definitely what I love the most. There’s something very satisfying about a really good gig. I’m not often happy with my work as an actor. I’m always upset when I see myself acting on screen, mostly because of the way I look. But as a stand up it’s always a bonus if you look heavy or damaged… in my case it helps, in fact.

So you feel very much at home in the stand-up arena?

When I was making Moonfleet last summer, Ray Winstone told me, ‘I don’t feel I come alive on set until I’ve done a fight scene and thrown my first right hook’. Similarly I don’t really feel alive unless I’m making people laugh. It’s probably an illness. A comedian’s illness. Live performance is a two-way thing, audience and performer egging each other on. If a joke misses or backfires I know there’s about 150 more on their way so I don’t panic like I used to.

What themes will you be addressing in the new show?

Growing older. We all struggle with it. As Dave Allen once said, ‘I enjoy getting older. I have to because there’s no choice’. When you hit your 40s you understand life better, but at the same time your body is more prone to fail. So you have to find a way of joining your new-found wisdom with physical prowess.

What else will you be discussing?

I’ll be talking about relationships because I think I’ve come to understand the secret to them now. I know that from the moment a woman marries a man, she has to learn to forgive him. And that’s because men are idiots. Before they become conscious human beings, that is. They can take years doing the wrong thing before they learn to adjust their behaviour. So women need patience and forgiveness. Otherwise it’s over.

Omid Djalili is at Millfield Arts Centre, Silver Street, Edmonton, Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26, 7.30pm. Details: 02088076680,