Even when it comes to the publicity for his new tour Rob Brydon cannot help but have a little joke.

“I was looking rather lovely in a suit and freshly pressed shirt,” he comments. “It was a glorious sight to behold. As you know, I’m a very elegant man. I encapsulate a lot of Daniel Craig. Albeit after he’s been savagely beaten.”

Expect plenty of this kind of thing on his latest nationwide tour, Songs & Stories, which arrives in Colchester in February.

The twist is that on this tour, as well as his stand-up and impersonations, Rob will be treating audiences to his singing, accompanied by an eight-piece band.

Rob first broke through on TV with such programmes as Marion and Geoff, Human Remains and The Keith Barret Show. He went on to gain a huge following from such widely adored comedies as Gavin and Stacey and The Trip.

But for all his success on TV, Rob has been yearning for return to his live roots.

He explains: “Live comedy is just such a buzz. People come just to see you. Sometimes you stand on stage thinking, ‘Good God, these people have all gone to the trouble of paying a babysitter and chosen to come and watch my show.’ That’s a very special feeling.

“You feel very comfortable on stage, and that grows over time. The more you get used to it, the more it becomes your norm. I like to entertain people and make them laugh. It’s a real privilege. As with a lot of things, you appreciate that more as you get older. You stand there on stage and think, ‘Wow, this is great!’”

At the same time, because he is known primarily as a comedian, Rob is conscious that performing Songs & Stories might be regarded as a risky business. But, he asserts, “It’s a deliberate risk. I have got to the stage of my career where shows I’m in like Would I Lie To You? and The Trip and stand-up tours return.

“But I want to go outside my comfort zone and test myself. I’ll be nervous before this tour thinking, ‘What will the reaction be?’ But I’m taking a chance, and the fact that there is risk involved is part of the thrill of it.”

Since appearing in a school production of Guys and Dolls, Rob has always loved singing.

In 2009, alongside Ruth Jones (who starred alongside him in that production of Guys and Dolls), Robin Gibb, and Sir Tom Jones, he reached number one in the charts with the single Islands in the Stream, in aid of Comic Relief. He has also performed with such music stars as Neil Diamond, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Sharleen Spiteri.

For all that, Rob is well aware that some people might still be taken aback by what they perceive as a change of tack.

“It will take some people by surprise,” he says. “There are so many media outlets nowadays that some people might only know me from Gavin and Stacey or Would I Lie To You?. Those people often say to me, ‘I didn’t know you could sing’, and yet I have sung a lot. I hope this show is a very pleasant surprise for audiences.”

A BAFTA nominated actor who has also starred in such acclaimed films as A Cock and Bull Story, 24-Hour Party People and Blinded by the Light, Rob continues: “At the end of the day, I’m there to entertain people. I recently went to see Jeff Goldblum play with his band. That was wonderful. That guy was just there to entertain people. He played his songs, but he did lots of other things as well, like film quizzes. The show followed no rulebook.

“I found that very liberating and quite instructive. It showed me that you don’t have to follow the rules. You can make the show whatever you want it to be. So that’s what I’ve done with ‘Songs & Stories’.”

Rob, who trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff before moving to a job at BBC Wales, reveals that the show will recount his life story through a series of anecdotes and songs by such varied artists as Paul Simon, George and Ira Gershwin, Stephen Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits.

He explains: “I go back to my childhood. I was 16 and starting to get interested in girls, but I was always pining from afar. In my teens I lived in Porthcawl, a coastal town in Wales, and all the cool boys were surfers. I wasn’t a surfer. I had a go once, but I hurt my knee.

“My musical taste was never considered cool. I never set much store by stuff being fashionable. I loved David Bowie and The Police, but also Shakin’ Stevens and Cliff Richard, which not many boys of my age did. Well, not the ones sitting at the back of the bus.

“I would see Neanderthals from my class with their arm around a girl at the school disco and think, ‘How did he manage that? He can’t string a sentence together and now it looks as if they’re setting up home together’. I talk a lot about my bemusement that girls were going out with those boys. At the time, Joe Jackson’s song, ‘Is She Really Going Out with Him?’ was a big hit, and I sing a bit of that by way of illustration.”

Although he hasn’t done too bad for himself as anyone who goes along to his new show will discover.

“I hope people will come out happier than when they went in,” he finishes. “I hope they will have forgotten about the world for two hours.

“As a performer in the last few years, you can really feel that people just want to escape. It’s tangible. People come up to you afterwards and say, ‘I’m so glad you didn’t talk about the state of the country or the current US President.’

“My show is an escape. It’s a service. People want to go out and be entertained. In times of adversity, which you could definitely say we are in now, people want that more than ever.”

Rob Brydon Songs & Stories is at Charter Hall, Leisure World, Colchester, on February 26. For tickets call 01206 573948.