‘AVOCADOS are this generation's Vietnam’ -- wise words from a veteran of comedy.

Ardal O’Hanlon’s live stand-up act, The Showing Off Must Go On, didn’t just bring eye-watering and side tickling laughter to Stirling, it also tendered a welcome change to the current stagnant world of comedy.

Even although I am a fan of the many young(ish) comedians on the scene these days, highly talented as they are, I sometimes feel there is a predictable quality to them. Despite offering their own unique, hilarious and messed up perceptions of the world, they’re all rather repetitive. They talk about the same things: dating, drinking, sex, socially-awkward encounters, weight problems, and even farts. They might be hailed as comical geniuses, but I always feel like I’m listening to a redraft of the same plagiarised material.

But, when Ardal hit the stage, there was something distinct. My comedy antenna started to twitch. From the moment he walked on, I could see he was going to be a novelty. He didn’t aim to be cool, sexy, or even a sassy, bold presence. He was just an ordinary man entering stage right. Then as he began to speak, I realised his trick. He is an old-timer, a dab hand, an experienced salesman. In other words, he knows his trade, he is comfortable in his own shoes.

His act was just a middle-aged man, who has lived a relatively normal life, having a good old banter about his relatable struggles. He started off acknowledging the birth of his career in Father Ted and the fact that the infamous Father Dougal McGuire has given him an enduring legacy of stupidity, despite him now playing a canny detective. He went on to poke fun at Brexit, being a dad of teenage kids, Trump’s toupee, and getting grey-haired and mistrusting fruit. There was a lot of comical ground to cover, but we felt at home the whole time. It was like listening to a beloved uncle cracking us all up around the dinner table.

I think what was most impressive, was that he didn’t need to rely on any crude lines or obscene topics, with the aim of seeking to shock his audience into attention. He was just having a natter and sometimes a rant about life.

Perhaps his modesty can be found in the show’s title, for as the man himself admitted when growing up in Ireland, showing off was not an option. So, in an avocado nutshell, his act was simple and genuinely funny. And I know we all thanked him for it.