MARTIN Bigpig Mor was busy preparing his act when I rang.

He had been asked to do his circus routine for the first time in a long while and was busy preparing his props for a knife-throwing act involving a member of the audience.

“I was going to have a practice this afternoon but it’s pouring down outside so it doesn't look like I’ll be able to,” he told me., “Never mind, I’m sure it’ll be fine. What’s the worst that can happen?”

Cue manic laughter.

Born into a circus family, Martin had an early career as a juggler, unicyclist, knife thrower, fire-eater, and magician. He even appears on an arts and entertainment square of Trivial Pursuit (Genus Edition) wearing a leotard.

But an accident on stage, in which he shattered his ankle, forced him to take a break from life in the Big Top. It was during this time that he discovered that he was funny.

“I worked in various different circuses across Ireland but was mainly involved with a group called Circus Belfast,” said the Northern Irish comedian, who now lives in Todmorden.

“I was living and working in Manchester when I broke my ankle and was on crutches so I couldn't do my act. I ended up going to the Frog and Bucket comedy store in Manchester and met the owner, who I got on well with. I thought ‘I'll have a go at this comedy thing’ and that’s what I did.”

For a number of years Martin worked during the days as a circus performer and at night on the comedy circuit but, fed-up with having no social life because he was always working, he decided to give stand-up comedy a go for a year to see if he could make it.

And 12 years on he’s still going. Last year he supported comic Frankie Boyle on his national tour, and he also works as a comedy writer.

Next Friday he is coming to Blackburn's King George’s Hall to compere at the regular Frog & Bucket comedy night.

“I performed at King George’s when I supported Frankie Boyle and we had such a laugh there,” said Martin.

“The great thing was how friendly everyone was. After the gig we were walking to the car and a few people had hung around afterwards to meet Frankie. He couldn’t believe how nice everybody was compared to how they are in London. I told him that’s what it’s like up north.”

Martin has also signed up to appear at King George's Hall on November 5 as part of its annual You Must Be Joking comedy festival.

It's not all laughs though — Martin admitted the comedy circuit can be a lonely place sometimes.

“All performers who travel with their act get fed-up of being on the road all time at some point,” he said.

l Martin will be joined by comics Jim Tavare, Anthony J Brown, and Rick Right at the Frog & Bucket comedy night at King George's Hall, Blackburn, on Friday, August 7. For tickets call 0844 8471664 or visit the website below.