Set sail for some silliness
A ndy Ford is one of those people who has the knack of being able to make children and adults laugh at the same time.
"They're not always laughing at the same thing," he says.
"Kids like physical humour and silly things. I can trip over and do silly voices to make the kids laugh and if I weave in some innuendo or something for the adults then they can laugh along too, even though the kids don't know what they're laughing at."
I catch up with the West Country comedian just before he's about to go on a two-week cruise of the Norweigan Fjords. He'll be entertaining the guests rather than soaking up the scenery and refining the act he'll be bringing to The Bristol Hippodrome later this month.
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"It's called Andy Ford Is Back and it is me being daft and doing a stand-up show for an hour," he says.
"People in Bristol know me and know the kind of show I do – it's fun and family friendly. They are a very loyal audience which I've built up over the years.
"I'm also bringing a special guest, James, who I've seen on the cruise ships. He'll be doing some magic with a lot of audience participation."
Andy began his professional career at the age of 12, performing in Exeter clubs and dance bands. Later, he started to introduce more and more humour into his shows.
In 1997 his unique style meant he was chosen to appear on ITV's Big Big Talent Show and an appearance at the Royal Variety Show as well as more television work followed.
In 1998, Des O'Connor invited him on to his famous couch and the merriment that ensued saw a return spot immediately booked for his next series.
He continued his live performances alongside the television spots and eventually made a move into pantomime, where he always plays the Simple Simon role.
In 2009, Andy received rave reviews in Bristol performing in pantomime with EastEnders' actors Joe Swash and Kara Tointon. The following year, British icon Barbara Windsor personally asked for him to appear with her on stage and last year he found himself starring alongside David Hasselhoff.
He says: "They're all wonderful people.
"I love Barbara, she's one of my heroes and it was a pleasure to work with her.
"David is now one of my besties – we got on so well. He emails me to tell me he misses me. He was a character; a little bit eccentric but very giving and very respectful when we were rehearsing.
"I actually wrote some of the routines we were in together. We just went off into a room together, him, this global megastar, and me, this lad from Exeter. It was quite mad really.
"It's nice to say these people are my friends but I know they think of me the same."
Andy, who is now in his 42nd year in showbiz, said he has always worked to bring family style entertainment back to the stage – and he never swears.
"People say I'm old fashioned," he says. "But I'm not really. It's me being silly and having a laugh with the audience.
"I wouldn't say I'm topical. I don't sit down and read the papers every day looking for material but if I hear a nice joke I'll put it in. I heard a good one when I was working on a cruise up the Amazon. It was a fantastic gag all about a West Indian guy.
"Now I can't do accents at all so I played with it and made the guy a farmer from the West Country and added some extra lines to make it believable.
"I like to give local places a mention when I'm here, too, as that always goes down well."
And as well as cruising the world, Andy is also waiting to hear whether his one-man play, Funny Ha Ha, will have a run at a theatre in London.
He says: "It's about the ups and downs of a comedian – which I know a lot about.
"I'm very lucky that I've got a lot of support – a wonderful wife and family who help when I'm having a tough time.
"There is a lot of camaraderie between comedians, too. I remember a few years ago when Joe Pasquale called me several times in one night just to make sure I was OK.
"We all support each other and I'm incredibly fortunate to have kept working throughout the last 42 years."
Andy Ford plays Bristol Hippodrome on Sunday, May 13, at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £17. Tel 0844 871 3012