Phill Jupitus is unaware that he is headlining the Henley Festival comedy stage, which boasts an impressive collection of 20 stand-ups from Mark Watson and Paul Merton to Lucy Porter and Jon Culshaw, until I tell him.

“The others probably needed to get home for the kids or something, but I’ll take that,” he smiles.

“It does mean I’ll have to think of something to do though,” he continues, as deadpan as ever. “Although Henley is more of a turn on stage than the kind of stuff I’m doing on tour.

“It’s always good to step away from time to time though to do other things. It gives your performance more energy.”

That’s not a problem one presumes for the king of the ad libbers, best known for his nine year tenure as team captain on BBC2’s Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

And yet performance poetry is what he enjoys the most, and moulds his shows around: “It’s still comedy,” he objects “It’s just made up of a combination of poetry and stand-up.

“It’s more a stream of consciousness, so while I know what I’m going to talk about, I then feed off the energy in a room and just tell stories.

“Wanna know why? Because it’s just me, turning up and talking to people. You just don’t get that level of interaction anywhere else. I just stride around the audience and it’s really good fun which means I’m always just waiting for the moment when my gig can start.”

So is Phill’s extensive tour a reaction against the trend for comedy in stadiums? “Yes I wanted to get right away from that. It’s an absurd thing. And yes it means more gigs but it’s also more fun,” he shrugs. “What can I say? I live a charmed life.”

But then that’s Phill Jupitus for you, completely without airs and graces: “It’s fun doing something unexpected. I have less of a filter on stage so I do talk about personal stuff.

“But that’s the thing about being a comedian. People always say ‘he or she’s not funny in real life’, but it’s not that, it’s just that we need all our energy for the stage, like a predatory cheetah, we are just reserving our strength,” he chuckles.

“I can’t tell you how many people come up and say ‘tell us a joke’. I reply that I don’t tell jokes, I tell stories, which really scuppers them.”

“Mind you, this week has been so hot I wondered if I might be able to do the gig in the car park instead. It wouldn’t be the first time,” he laughs.

But don’t be foiled.

Named one of the ‘top 20 hardest-working comedians in 2017’, Phill is fully committed.

After all, he took a while to work out what he wanted to do, working first as a runner for an independent record label, before directing music videos for the likes of Billy Bragg, Kirsty MacColl and The Housemartins, as well as warming up TV comedy shows and compering live music acts, all while trying to get his foot in the London comedy circuit door.

“I’ve done so many different things,” he groans ,”but comedy wasn’t a career I chose, it chose me.

“It was a happy accident which came about because of all the other things I was doing.

“But then it’s not the job, it’s the journey. And it has been an amazing journey.

For example? “The TV series I did with Marcus Brigstocke ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Roads? where we crossed The Andes and Bolivia?

“Playing Edna and wearing a sequinned dress in Hairspray The Musical in the West End, which was one of the greatest moments of my life.

“Starring in a Billy Bragg video, singing with Paul Weller in Southend, getting an honorary doctorate from the University Of Kent.....

“When Buzzcocks was confirmed I was about to go and study fine art at university, and who knows, I might still do that.

“You just find it. But I’ve never chased anything.”

Coming from a man who was also the first voice heard on BBC 6 Music and was its breakfast DJ for the following five years and wrote the book Good Morning Nantwich: Adventures in Breakfast Radio about it, sometimes plays with the late Ian Dury’s band The Blockheads and recently finished playing King Arthur in the tour of Monty Python’s Spamalot.

It seems he can do no wrong.

So any regrets? “Not getting the part in Guys and Dolls broke my heart. I really wanted that part,” he says sadly.

What about reality TV then, surely they’d sign him up quicker than you can say? “They’ve all asked but no. I wouldn’t do anything I wouldn’t enjoy and I wouldn’t enjoy that. So I’ve turned them all down - Strictly, the jungle, baking and Big Brother.

“People think they’ll be different and funny but 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the facade soon cracks and I’d be as cranky as everyone else.

Does anything phase him then? Does he still get nervous before a show like Live At The Apollo with thousands in the audience and millions more watching at home?

“I don’t live in a permanent state of anxiety if that’s what you mean. But that’s because I’m talking to an audience and that’s how your act grows. You embellish it each time you do it. That’s how stand-up develops.”

As for his comedic time frame, Phil says: You develop a show for a year, tour it for two and then go and do something else to enable you to come up with some new material.

“But then I’m always doing something new. My life is like a cultural lottery win

He recently moved to Fife however, which must be tricky to get back to after a night in Bournemouth?

“What’s wrong with living in Fife,” he asks? “I was brought up on the Isle Of Wight so I’m used to it, and my kids have grown up, so travelling doesn’t bother me.

“If you are touring all the time it doesn’t really matter where home is.”

“But what happens happens. It’s a mantra that has always worked really well for me because I’ve had an amazing time.

“I'm just determined to keep on enjoying it.”

Henley Festival runs from July 11-15

Phill Jupitus appears on Thursday next week.