With over 3,000 shows in his nine years as a professional comedian Mark Rough is a hot name on the corporate, cabaret and sporting dinner circuit.

Dubbed The Mackem Motormouth, due to his Sunderland roots, Mark, although not blue, is very much an adult entertainer. He says he is “ideal for functions where a bit of cheekiness won’t cause offence.”

Formerly a lecturer in professional management training at Bradford University, Mark makes now a living from making people laugh, with up six gigs a week and 300 a year.

Mark started his career on a whim one night when he fancied having a go at a Manchester open mic night — the next day he went professional. In the early days Mark frequently rubbed shoulders on the comedy circuit with the likes of Alan Carr, Jason Manford and Paddy McGuinness.

“What’s nice about comedians is that we don’t get jealous,” said Mark. “We don’t see one of them moving onto better things and become bitter, we are happy for them genuinely. We are all just happy to be being paid for what we do, any more is a bonus.”

On Monday Mark will headline the Stand Up Comedy Inaugural Night at the multi-million pound arts, community and enterprise (ACE) Centre in Cross Street, Nelson. And despite playing to far larger crowds in his career, Mark says he is honoured to be on the bill.

“The Ace Centre is fantastic. I don’t normally do small venues but this is such a fantastic place for the whole community I love that I can be a part of its first night. I’d love to come back as a visitor.”

The opening programme at The ACE Centre is a mix of activities from live music, to after-work BBQs, free films and a family open day on Saturday June 13.

Mark added: “My set is 45 minutes to finish the night and it has a really smiley end that will make anyone who comes feel good. It’s the sort of gig where I want to leave on a high.”

Mark is a familiar face in East Lancashire, he recently released his first live DVD, Have You Ever Had It Blue?, recorded at a sell-out show at King George’s Hall, Blackburn to critical acclaim.

“I always get a good reception in Lancashire, especially at King George’s. They’re always up for a laugh so I wanted to use them for my DVD, and they didn’t let me down,” he said.

Mark, who now lives in Lancaster tells me he is about to go for a nap, as we get to the end of the interview. It may be 2.30pm but there is a very good reason. Mark has a habit of sleeping during the day, for he not only travels as far as Dubai at a moment’s notice for a gig, he also writes all his own material.

“I don’t use any jokes you’ll hear anywhere else and I don’t really do the observational stuff that you hear a lot of,” says the comic, who has appeared on numerous TV comedy specials on the BBC and Sky. In his latest show Mark tells his life story with a joke at every turn.

He said: “I am more likely to make a story out of something funny my sister said. I take inspiration from people who say things they don’t even know are funny.”

l See Mark Rough at the opening of The Ace Centre on Monday at 8pm. Other acts include Isma Almas, Andy Watson and MC John Cooper.