DARA O’Briain has made a real name for himself as a TV presenter in recent years. He has shone fronting shows as diverse as Mock the Week, Stargazing Live, The Apprentice: You’re Fired!and Robot Wars.

But now he’s back on the road and heading to Cumbria next week with his show Voice of Reason.

It’s a return to the live arena, somewhere Dara gets the opportunity to display his breath-taking ability to create superb off-the-cuff material out of thin air.

A graduate in mathematics and theoretical physics from University College Dublin, 46-year-old Dara also manifests a razor-sharp intelligence that he uses to hilarious effect in dismantling all sorts of bogus theories.

He’s delighted to be back out live.

“Doing stand-up is a euphoric experience,” he said. “The great thing is the anticipation. You’re thinking, ‘You’re going to love this next bit!’”

What Dara does better than any other stand-up is play to the home crowd. He is fantastic at making a show specific to the particular town he is performing in.

He says that, “It’s wonderful to create local jokes that repay three or seven or even 12 years later. When I play Coventry, for instance, there are always packets of crisps on the stage. That comes from an audience interaction I had 12 years ago.

In Voice of Reason, Dara will be discussing topics such as the ordinariness of his daily life. He reflects that, “If there is a theme to the show, it is that at the age of 46, I have an incredibly normal life!”

On stage, Dara will also be mulling over the rise of the nerd. The comic observes that, “Nerds have become much cooler recently. Thanks to the Internet, they can find each other now. It’s very positive.”

He will also be talking about his on-screen relationship with Professor Brian Cox on Stargazing Live. “When Brian and I work together, he is the expert and I am the broadcaster,” said Dara.”When he is talking, sometimes a producer says into my earpiece: ‘A plane is now hovering over Scandinavia with shots of the aurora borealis. We have to cut to that.’

“So at those moments, I have to interrupt Brian. But furious viewers then write in saying, ‘Why did you interrupt Professor Brian Cox? I was enjoying watching him!’”

Dara adds: “They genuinely think I interrupt Brian because I’m jealous of him. They imagine I’m saying, ‘Sorry to interrupt you, Brian, but it is not going to be all about you tonight. I also know things that I want to tell the audience’. Brian and I find that idea hilarious!”

The comedian will also be devoting a large section of the show to a very funny routine about how he has become the subject of a fake news website.

The comedian, who has released two best-selling children’s books – 2017’s ‘Beyond The Sky: You and the Universe’ and 2018’s ‘Secret Science: The Amazing World Beyond Your Eyes’ - explains that, “I go in to the madness of this story about these things that are supposed to have happened to me. The producers of this fake news site have filled in some details. For example, they mention James Street in Dublin. So some effort has been made in producing it.

“But it’s still so ludicrous. The site pops up next to features headlined, ‘She has discovered the secret that dentists don’t want you to know’, and, ‘20 stars whose lives have been ravaged by drugs.’.”

Dara reflects: “The internet has become a torrent of disinformation.

“There was a tiny moment where we thought we could use the Internet to amplify scientific truths and have a great weapon for fighting lies. But no, that was completely wrong. What the Internet is really useful for is more lies!”

Dara will have visited more than 20 countries by the time his Voice of Reason tour ends as thanks to the millions of people in different countries watching his shows online, he has become an enormous draw all over the world.

He said: “The whole thing has opened out and gone global. I recently walked past a bus stop in Stavanger that had a picture of Russell Howard.

“In Tromsø in the Arctic Circle, I walked on stage and said, ‘I don’t know how often you have these gigs’. And they called out; ‘We had Bill Bailey here last night!’ That punctured my balloon a bit. Bill went on to play Svalbard, which is even further north. I thought I was being a hero doing Tromsø, but he was doing a gig to polar bears in the Svalbard arts centre!”

Dara outlines what he hopes audiences will take away from Voice of Reason.

“I get really enthusiastic about science-y stuff,” he said. “You can see me getting giddy about space. That’s why I recently wrote that kids’ book about space. But on tour, I’m there to do funny.

“This show is an evening of entertainment. It’s two hours of laughing. It’s not meant to be pedagogic. It is not meant to say, ‘You’ll be laughing, but you’ll also be learning.’ Of course, if that happens, that’s grand. But first and foremost, Voice of Reason is a load of funny stuff.”

*Dara O’Briain plays Carlisle’s Sands Centre on Saturday, February 8, and Kendal’s Westmorland Hall on Sunday, February 9.