McIntyre mania

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Funny man Michael McIntyre's meteoric rise to fame was thanks to a visit to Canary Wharf.

In an exclusive interview he told The Wharf that it was a gig at East Wintergarden three years ago that changed his life forever.

He said: "I owe it all to Canary Wharf. This is where it all changed for me. It was East Wintergarden - they did a very tough comedy night. It was a horrible gig - but it was there I got my new agent that changed my life.

"I was with this terrible agent for years and then I got in touch with the biggest agents in the country, who have Jonathan Ross, Lee Evans, Jack Dee and Alan Carr on their books. They came to see me in Canary Wharf and that's where it all started and they took me on the next day.

"It really was the turning point of everything. It's so tough here - that hall has a really high ceiling and is a horrible place for comedy. They put people in there and I guess the theory is if they do well there, they can do well anywhere."

McIntyre sold out a record six nights at Wembley Arena and four nights at The 02 last year and has become one of Britiain's biggest comedy stars. His debut stand-up DVD Live and Laughing, was the fastest selling of all time, only to be eclipsed by his second, Hello Wembley which sold over 1.4 million copies.

He hosts his own Bafta-nominated BBC1 series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow and won the British Comedy Award for best live stand-up in 2009 following his record-breaking 54 date arena tour.

So it was little wonder that fans flocked to Jubilee Place last week eager to meet the comedian signing copies of his new book Life And Laughing.

Hundreds of fans queued for up to four hours waiting for McIntyre to arrive and mass hysteria ensued as he skipped down the mall.

Crowds of screaming onlookers were shouting his name excited by the visit, all waving copies of his autobiography ready for signing.

McIntyre said: "I love all these people coming to see me - can you imagine a better day?

"You couldn't create a better day, apart from the fact it is quite long. People queue up to be nice to you. It's lovely. Apart from one guy in Manchester said to me 'I'm just here killing time, I've got a flight and I've got seven hours to kill' so not everyone is so thrilled to see me all the time.

"I'm very excited to be here - it's mental."

The autobiography tells of his extraordinary rise to stardom, giving details of his showbiz roots and his journey from selling just one ticket at the Edinburgh Festival to selling half a million tickets on his last tour.

He said: "When I did my first signing in Selfridges I had no idea if anyone would turn up. I went with my mum and I said 'what if no-one comes', and she just replied 'well I've got shopping to do.'

"You think you are funny, then you test it out on people and you find out if you are funny through their laughter.

"And there was no laughter for many years - and that's why I have got a lot to write about in my book."

Of his influences he said: "Woody Allen was the first person I really loved and I like Billy Connolly - but I have not watched a lot of comedy since I got into to comedy as it freaks me out. It's difficult to relax and laugh because its work now.

McIntyre' popularity continues to rise with more TV appearances planned for later this year and 2011.

"I'm concentrating on the book then I have to do the Royal Variety Show that I agreed to do a long time ago and I'm terrified - I don't have any jokes.

"It's like I've won Britain's Got Talent performing for the Queen."

Life And Laughing by Michael McIntyre. Penguin, Michael Joseph, £20.

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