WITH Julian Clary's stand-up show it seems to be a question of life imitating art or art imitating life? In Position Vacant he finds a man from the audience to marry while in reality he said he would like to marry his long term partner, Ian- if and when the gay marriage vote goes through. But he reminds his fans it is all still about having a laugh, particularly as he ventures into the audience with a cattle prod.

Julian Clary has gained a whole new legion of fans after winning Celebrity Big Brother last year. And although talk about it is fading slightly now he has noticed a younger audience coming to his shows.

He said: "That did me a lot of good in terms of people who would come to my show as Big Brother tends to have a younger audience. "I got a whole new generation of punters. I was glad I did that."

Although he is known for pushing boundaries, it seemed a surprise he ventured onto the show. Did he enjoy it?

He said: "I didn't hate it. I have always watched it. I wanted to know what it was like from the other side. It is boring at times and very claustrophobic.

"You do appreciate your own life when you come out.

"It is one of those things. As long as you win it is fine to do it. "If you disgrace yourself and every one hates you that is the risk of it.

"You can't keep up a pretence. You might think this is how I am going to present myself.

"Because it is 24 hours a day that is not possible.

"Just be yourself and sensor yourself to an extent I guess. "I would be quite quiet and let all the noisy people get on with it and preserve my energy.

"I was aware that the edited programme was one hour of your day. It is only an hour- as long as I said a few funny things."

His career has spanned three decades and he continues to appear on panel shows such as Would I Lie To You?, Q.I and Live at the Apollo. He is also a best selling novelist, having written three books.

But when I spoke to him he was really looking forward to his new tour as he had a great time touring with it last year.

Julian said: "It is rather a riot getting a lot of people out on stage to be my husband for the evening and whittling it down to one and marrying him.

"It is quite a dangerous thing to do- it seems to be great fun. "Because there are so many of them there is a camaraderie amongst the men as opposed to being victims."

He said he prods them around the stage with a cattle prod and puts them in a sheep pen and makes them do various dances. He said: "A good time is had by all. It does vary. Generally people are very compliant and have fun. It is different every night and so I never get bored.

"I go down into the audience with a cattle prod in hand. I have usually had a bit of eye contact with people.

"Otherwise it is fairly random. My instinct seems to take over. As long as they are not drunk or mad."

And the comedian admitted as he is quite shy himself he understands people may be mortified to begin with but once they get into it they will surprise themselves. Julian met his partner, Ian, nine years ago on a yacht in Ibiza and he said he would like to marry him in a discreet ceremony.

And he said it seems the gay marriage debate does seem to be at a crucial stage.

He said: "I realise some people are a bit scared but they needn't be. It will all be alright.

"Society won't disintegrate if gay people can get married.

"It is a shame in that it is usually born out of fear and ignorance with these things. "I don't understand the logic between saying if gay marriage is alright and gay relationships are given equal rights some how the family unit and life as we know it will be some how threatened. I don't think that is the case.

"There was a time when white people thought black people shouldn't travel on buses for much the same reason. Thankfully that is no more. Hopefully people will look back in the same way."

But he said although there are serious undertones in the show it is about having a laugh.

And he said he doesn't get lonely on tour adding: "It is a funny thing of being a one man show and being in front of 100 odd people and then coming off stage and sitting in your dressing room on your own. "But there is lots of job satisfaction in making people laugh." Julian Clary Position Vacant is at the Wycombe Swan on May 10 at 8pm. Tickets are £21 from 01494 512000 or go to www.wycombeswan.co.uk

For more leisure stories from I Love My Local to food reviews to what's on click here.