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The List: Darkside ofthe Love Rocket; Stand up feast without the garlic bread.

Byline: By GARETH BICKNELL

PADDY the sex-mad bouncer had no problem picking up the ladies while on doorman's duties in Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights. The hardcase got so many phone numbers he was known as the Love Rocket, claiming his sex addiction was "an illness - Michael Douglas had it!"

But stand-up comedian Paddy McGuinness, who played the Love Rocket in Phoenix Nights and in spin-off series Max And Paddy's Road To Nowhere - starring Kay as Max - insists comedy groupies aren't beating a path to his stage door.

"Everyone says to me it must be great to have women throwing themselves at you every night," says McGuinness ahead of his return to Llandudno's North Wales Theatre next month.

"Yeah, I think it would be great, but it doesn't f***ing happen!" he bellows in the broad, working-class Bolton accent that's rooted in the building sites and factories where he worked before being inspired by pal Kay to try stand-up.

But even though Kay was a guiding influence on his career, McGuinness - also seen in The Match recently - was keen to strike out on his own.

He compered the stars of Phoenix Nights in their Jumping On The Bandwagon tour, which was a hit in Llandudno last year - "It were a belter," he says. "So it made sense to do it again this time round."

This time round, though, McGuinness has gone to the trouble of calling his solo show The Dark Side as a health warning to anyone expecting garlic bread-style family-friendly material.

"You get a lot of people turning up who are fans of Phoenix Nights, Max and Paddy or of Peter, and they're waiting for you to start talking about f***in' garlic bread and nans dancing at weddings.

"That isn't us - it's not vulgar, don't get me wrong, but there's a smattering of swear words, and you look at the audience and there's a 10-year-old there and you're talking about STDs or something."

He says his working background was the perfect place to hone his comic talents before giving up the blue-collar jobs and going into showbiz.

"Any job like a building site - I worked in places like factories as well - you're subjected to men who've worked hard all their lives and they're very, very funny.

"You learn a lot off them but the only trouble is a lot of people are funny when they're cracking jokes with their mates. You come across them every day, everyone's got a mate who's hilarious, but it's doing it on stage, that's the hard thing.

"If you're funny everyone says 'Why don't you give it a whirl?' but they get up on stage and they can't do it.

"I'm lucky I never had a problem with it," he adds. "I were never the wacky office type - for one thing I've never worked in an office - but I always had the ability to get a laugh."

Anyone who knows McGuinness will probably already be familiar with his material - as he practises by secretly dropping ideas for routines into conversation.

"I might just be driving with a mate and you might just say summat funny and it'll get a bit of a laugh.

"With anything to do with material you write it down and you just go on with it. It's not like a song where you stand there in a room in front of a mirror with a hairbrush and have a practice. You just sort of write it down and the day you say it is when you're on stage.

"But one tip if you want to get on in stand-up comedy," he says. "What I do is I try little bits of stand-up routines while I'm talking to my mates and I wouldn't tell anybody I were doing it. If it gets a laugh I think ' I'll do that one'.

"But I never tell anybody because they'll f***in' never laugh. If it falls on deaf ears, it's time to hang your nail up son."

It seems to have worked for McGuinness so far, as one national red-top described him as "the fifth funniest comedian in the UK". Does he know who the four ahead of him are?

"I've not got a clue squire," he answers. "I imagine Peter's number one, but as to two, three and four I've not a clue. I'd like to find out though - mind you, if you're in the top five of anything you're doing well

Paddy McGuinness is at the North Wales Theatre, Llandudno on Tuesday, November 15, 8pm

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Stand-up comic Paddy McGuinness (main picture) and with Peter Kay (above) in Max and Paddy's Road To Nowhere
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 14, 2005
Words:775
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