Introducing... comedian Des Clarke

DES CLARKE is a funny guy. And the annoying this is, he doesn't even have to try. When interviewing him, it's immediately obvious that the 27-year-old Glaswegian's quick-fire delivery and boundless enthusiasm is no act.

But perhaps sharing your name with a character from Neighbours necessitates a good sense of humour.

"He was the big-eared bank manager who married a stripper – it sounds like a much more interesting life than the one I've got," says Clarke, who is performing at the Pleasance Cabaret Bar on Tuesday.

"I was teased mercilessly at school. Coming from Glasgow, there's no excuse for a kicking, but I was called Desmond and named after someone in Neighbours."

However, Clarke insists there was no great epiphany for a career in comedy.

"I want to say Billy Connolly appeared before me in the middle of the night on a big banana saying, 'You shall go forth and say the word jobby', but it wasn't like that," he says.

"I used to do the talent show at school and I suppose I was bitten by the bug then. When I was 19 I did a five-minute open-mic spot at Blackfriars in Glasgow. Comedy's quite easy to get into. You just have to go for it."

Although Clarke insists he's a good friend of Joe Heenan, who is also on the bill at The Pleasance, that didn't stop the London-based funnyman voting his fellow comedian off The Weakest Link stand-up special in 2002.

"Well, I did and I didn't," says Clarke. "We had to write down the name of who we wanted to vote off on an electronic key pad, but mine conked out halfway through.

"The technicians said, 'Do you mind if we just put the name of the Weakest Link on your board?' And that happened to be Joe. I wouldn't have chosen him. I would have voted off Andy White – he's far cleverer than any comedian should be. He won it, but I got to the final three, which I was pretty chuffed with."

Clarke's comic skills have earned him, among numerous other accolades, the 2001 ITV Golden Mic Award and the 2002 Chortle Open Mic Comedian of The Year.

His razor-sharp tongue also got him a job presenting the breakfast show on Beat 106 (now XFM Scotland). This, in turn, led to his biggest break – stepping into the shoes of Ant and Dec to present SM:TV Live.

Clarke worked on the popular ITV1 children's show between March and December 2003, performing sketches such as Eminemerdale, the hilarious rap-soap opera crossover.

"The high point was interviewing Britney Spears while I was dressed as Eminem," he recalls.

"I had to burst through a wall with a chainsaw and present her with a This Is Your Life-style book. She was great – really chatty and fun. That was just before she started to go off the rails. So, if she ever has psychoanalysis and discovers that her tipping point was seeing a mad Scotsman bursting through a wall brandishing a chainsaw, I might have to re-assess how good a moment that was."

Although Clarke does work for Radio Scotland, Radio Clyde, Setanta Sports, Radio Five Live and is the anchor for BBC Scotland's Children In Need, he says: "I'm always doing what I can to stay busy, but stand-up is what keeps me sharp. It's my first love."

&#149 Des Clarke, Cabaret Bar, The Pleasance, Tuesday, 7.30pm (7pm doors), 6 (5 students), 0131-650 2349