GOOGLE “posh, British comedian”, and up pops Jack Whitehall, Marcus Brigstocke and Tom Allen.
Throw in “chubby” and, yep, there’s poor Michael McIntyre.
It was this unflattering prefix that sent the star running, quite literally, to a hardcore weight-loss clinic, shedding more than two stone as a result.
Five years on, no longer whippet-thin — “my wife (Kitty) doesn’t like me with cheekbones” — the 47-year-old remains unapologetically middle class and one of the country’s most popular performers.
He has also developed a fear of apples, malusdomesticaphobia, if you will.
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“It was a week of pain and they did all these tests on me, put little probes on the end of my tongue and told me I shouldn’t eat apples.
“Apparently apples will make me very lethargic and confused in my brain.
“It’s the only thing I’ve taken from it, really.
“I mean, I’ve put all the weight back on but I’ve got this real fear of apples, which are actually really good for you.
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“But the problem is my wife doesn’t like me losing weight.
“It would be a hell of a lot easier to stay thin if she was quite rude to me about my weight but it’s that annoying thing of she just loves me.
‘You’ve got to keep going with the diet, and I didn’t’
“She wants teddy bear Michael, not racing snake Michael, the man she first met.
“She was like, ‘Who is this? Who is this insanely hot, chiselled man in front of me?’ She didn’t like it. So that was quite demotivating.
“The problem is you’ve got to keep going with the diet, and I didn’t.
“I piled it all back on again.
“But I did really enjoy all the headlines though, you know, ‘Is he wasting away?’”
After piling on the pounds again — his words — he says he is considering a return stint in the £4,000-a-week penitentiary for posh people [my words].
He admits to checking in in the first place after asking an app on his son’s phone to name a “male comedian”, only for it to come back with “Jimmy Carr”.
When he asked it to name an “overweight male comedian”, it suggested him.
Chatting over breakfast in a celebrity favourite North London restaurant — omelette and no bread — Michael is not short of showbiz anecdotes.
His phone reads like a Who’s Who of international famous people.
Making him pore through his contacts book is like a game in itself.
“And there’s my best name . . . Madders!”
He means Spurs and England midfielder James Maddison.
A huge Tottenham fan — Michael goes to nearly every home game, work permitting — it was the footballer who recently inspired a hilarious segment on his hit BBC1 Saturday evening series Michael McIntyre’s Big Show.
Send To All sees celebrity victims hand over their mobile to Michael, who live-messages embarrassing texts to everyone in the star’s phone book.
Hilariously, included in said “To Do” list was to “get money back” from another well-known player (annoyingly, he won’t name names).
The dad of two also relays another celeb mishap which saw him meet former Doctor Who Matt Smith on a night out.
“I took his number and saved him as Doctor Who,” he explains.
“Then, one day, my son had this injection in his shoulder and came out with a really bad rash.
“So I photographed it and sent it to the doctor, and wrote, ‘Does this look OK? It still hurts’.
“Except I accidentally sent it to Doctor Who.
“I think he was a bit confused.”
The Big Show has become a Saturday night family staple, averaging more than six million viewers, and Michael is rightly proud of it.
He is passionate about the programme — which also includes the Midnight Gameshow, where he surprises a celeb while they are in bed — and incredibly hands-on, leaving this interview to dash to the edit suite.
While the BBC has come in for a bashing, the star is quick to back the corporation.
Well, they are his employers. “All I know is that I love the BBC,” he replies diplomatically.
“I’ve always been on the BBC and I watch and enjoy the BBC a lot.
“There was a time, when all the streamers first showed up, it was like, ‘Oh my God’, because you’re getting so much good stuff.
“But I feel like it’s settled down a lot and actually there isn’t a lot of great content out there.
“There’s so many options but a lot of very average stuff too.
Should we still pay a licence fee?
“All I will say is that the BBC is brilliant.
“I feel honoured to be allowed on people’s tellies for an hour every Saturday night and I feel like they’re really flying at the moment. They are giving people what they want.”
Later this year Michael embarks on a multi-date world tour, after already performing across the UK.
‘My last run for a bus? I’d guess circa 1990’
The gigs will doubtless add to his already not insubstantial coffers.
So how relatable is Michael McIntyre, 2012’s highest-grossing global comedian?
Does he, for example, ever nip to Lidl?
“Lidl? Oh yes, I’ve seen their adverts at Christmas. Have I ever been? No.”
When pushed on what super-market he frequents, he looks genuinely puzzled before saying: “Well, it gets delivered every week.”
That’ll be those magical fairies, then.
So when did he last run for a bus?
“I’m going to hazard a guess it was on the Finchley Road, circa 1990.”
While on the surface he lives a life of privilege, Michael is genuinely kind and engaging — and hasn’t led an entirely gilded life.
In June 2018 he was robbed by two weapon-wielding men on a moped while parked outside his children’s school.
The men smashed his car windows with a hammer before stealing his Rolex and fleeing.
Speaking about the terrifying incident for the first time, Michael says: “Of course it was horrific.
“Even talking about it now, an incident I really try not to think about, is making me twitchy.
“I love London but, you know, cities are dangerous.
“You never know what’s around the corner.
“It was very traumatic and a very grim time.
“The police were great though and stayed in touch with me.
“But honestly, I don’t think about it any more . . . until you just brought it up.” Sorry, Michael.
It is understood the two men were eventually arrested but it is a topic on which Michael, understandably, does not wish to elaborate.
Does Michael worry about saying the wrong thing? (Although, granted, he’s more likely to joke about shopping in Waitrose or moving to the countryside.)
He muses: “I’m not precious, and I like chatting.
“But obviously I don’t want to say the wrong thing so I don’t really do too much live TV now.
“That’s good, because then you don’t get to be misconstrued, so I just really stay away from live TV.
“And I don’t really do interviews . . . I’m doing this because you support Spurs, so you have to be OK (Time will tell, Michael).
“I do find clickbait frustrating.
“People are drawn to negativity. And that’s on us, we should all be looking for more positivity.
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“But you know, it’s business, it’s competitive and you’ve got to be thick-skinned and the best thing to do, I think, is ignore it.”
- Michael McIntyre’s Big Show airs tomorrow night on BBC1 at 8.10pm.