Veteran stand-up comedian Fred Cooke is bringing his new show, Fred Space, on tour across the country. We sat down with the funnyman to discuss the show, his time on Dancing with the Stars, and his other half - fellow comedian and tour mate - Julie Jay.
"The new show is called Fred Space and it is kind of like I'm still in denial that [Dancing with the Stars] is over. It's only looking back now that I can have a song and a dance about it because it was such an intense three months," says Fred.
The comedian is warm, chatty, and quick to laugh so - in the best way - it's somewhat surprising that he made it so far in the hit dance competition. For all it's glitter and fake tan, getting to the semi-final of DWTS is no laughing matter, and is known to take both an emotional and physical toll on its contestants.
"I got so emotionally involved in it and I got so nervous - sick with nerves - more than I've ever been before," he admitted. "I've been doing stand-up for ten years straight and nothing compared to the nerves I had on Dancing with the Stars, and then I was so emotionally involved that when I got through, I was euphoric. It goes from one extreme to another."
The Meath native, who many will recognise from various TV appearances on Irish shows including Republic of Telly, Bridget and Eamon, and The Savage Eye, is enjoying a new level of fame thanks to his time on the dance floor - but is he enjoying being recognised everywhere he goes?
"It's great! Brilliant! Fantastic!" he laughed. "I'm all for it now, myself. I'd recommend it to anyone to tell you the truth. Get famous!"
"Ah no, the thing is, I'm on tour in Ireland now and the numbers are up," he continued, on a slightly more serious note. "People know me. I guess with things that I had done prior to [DWTS] - which I was lucky to get - people knew my face but they didn't know me. Now they know who Fred Cooke is, which is class."
As well as being known for his stand-up, the Kells native is often spoken about in relation to his relationship with fellow comedian, and current tour mate, Julie Jay. And while many celebs dread being asked about their personal lives, Fred has put a more romantic spin on things.
"I'm in a wonderful relationship with Julie Jay and it's great, I'm very lucky to have it so I can just keep talking about how lucky I am - that's it like!"
"I'm lucky to be on the road with her at the moment," he continued. "We're touring together. People often associate the road, with stand-up, as being a lonely experience but I've always found it completely liberating to be up and gone in your own time and space. But it's great to have your partner with you - it shouldn't work but it does and it works brilliantly."
After ten years in stand-up, Cooke's rising star has been unquestionably well earned, but his audience has understandably changed over that time. Those who follow him for his dance moves most likely differ from those who pay to see him gig in comedy clubs - does he ever worry about his audience's expectations?
"One thing I was worried about on Dancing with the Stars is that it's such a family, wholesome, show and as far as me on stage, it's not that I'm really bold or inappropriate but, at the same time, I'm not Daniel O'Donnell... but I'm not Frankie Boyle either."
Having hung up his dancing shoes, the funnyman now plans to return to the hallowed halls of Dublin's Vicar Street on November 1st, before continuing his tour in Portlaoise and Navan.
"To get to play Vicar Street is brilliant. I think Colum Murphy called it Tommy Tiernan's sitting room that we're all allowed into. I'm always at my happiest when I'm telling jokes on stage and to be telling jokes in Vicar Street is just a bonus on top of that."
Fred will also be playing the Galway Comedy Carnival - click here for more info.