The award-winning standup is known for his exuberance, but, as he writes in his memoir, he has had to dodge snobbery throughout his career. He discusses family, fame and being funny

Rob Beckett is one of those comedians without whom many TV formats would collapse. He is an accomplished standup who made his debut in 2009, at 23, performing anywhere that would have him, often not even for petrol money. He has a rare combination of warmth and edge. He can present Wedding Day Winners with Lorraine Kelly without making her seem square; do a pitch-perfect double-act with Romesh Ranganathan that makes the audience feel as though they are included in the friendship; pack out the Hammersmith Apollo with a solo show for which his notes amount to 10 words; and hold his own on Mock the Week, famous for its bear-pit atmosphere and comic-eat-comic sensibility.

We meet in a cafe in south‑east London, a greasy spoon that the owner says has been there since 1932 (they dated it from the fly-posted film billboards in an old photo). Strangers open up with Beckett in the room; I have never had a conversation so intently eavesdropped. It is partly that he has natural charisma, partly because he has a celebrity gloss – slightly exaggerated features, not classically handsome so much as screen-ready – and partly because what he is saying is novel and his delivery is vivacious and so incredibly fast.

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