WHEN Frank Skinner calls at 10am, he’s already been up for six hours.

“Sorry if I sound a bit flat – I was up at 4am,” he says. Having a two-year-old can do that. But while his young son Buzz is the centre of his life, Frank won’t be peppering his stand-up show with stories of life as a parent.

“Lots of comics talk about being a dad and I find it tedious,” he says. “It alienates the percentage of the audience that doesn’t have children. I don’t talk about football either, for the same reason.”

There was a time when Frank relished being on tour but these days he spends a certain amount of time at home between gigs. “If I didn’t go home I’d miss my son, but I still love being on the road, hotels and motorway services. I love opening the door into your hotel room for the first time, having that space all to yourself.”

Frank, 56, returns to stand-up after seven years, with his Man in a Suit tour. “It’s easy to put off stand-up,” he says. “It represents the point where I am in life, it’s a bit ironic but largely autobiographical. I’m not good at making things up, and I always know when comics have done that.”

Frank’s hero is American comic Lenny Bruce, who said the foundation of comedy was personal truth. Are there limits? “I like the idea of nothing being off limits, but people in public life are scared to say anything that might offend,” says Frank. “Anne Robinson put Wales into Room 101, for a joke, and was practically lynched. If you watch Question Time there are issues involving race that nobody dares mention.

“Lenny Bruce was a courageous bloke who made a great impression on me as a 17-year-old, to the extent where I started being honest in all dealings with life, which people don’t always like. But you have a filter. I don’t swear on my radio show in the same way you don’t say stuff in your grandma’s house that you’d say down the pub.

“I suppose Twitter allows free speech but I don’t like it. It’s like being under surveillance; I came home the other day and my girlfriend said: ‘Why were you in Superdrug?’ Someone had clocked me and put it on Twitter! Your life’s not your own.”

Born in West Bromwich, he was Chris Collins before taking the name Frank Skinner from a member of his dad’s dominoes team. It was while working as an English lecturer that he did his first stand-up gig, in 1987. In 1990 he co-wrote and starred in Channel 4’s Packet Of Three and became one of the biggest comedy ‘lads’ of the Nineties, thanks to his Fantasy Football League double act with David Baddiel. The pair’s success peaked with football anthem Three Lions.

Frank hosted TV chat shows, starred in self-written sitcoms and is currently filming a new series of Room 101. But as a lifelong ‘Whovian’, it’s Doctor Who he’s most excited about. An episode he appeared in, Mummy on the Orient Express, was screened earlier this month.

“I can’t remember ever doing anything so exciting,” he said. “I wasn’t even worried about how I was – just doing it was enough. And I got to sit and have lunch with that Eqyptian Mummy.”

lFrank Skinner is at St George’s Hall on Thursday, November 13. Call (01274) 432000.