It may have been a long time coming, but Rory McGrath is heading out for his debut solo live tour.

He actually marked his 60th birthday on stage in Glasgow last month with the show Rory McGrath Remembers (…Or Is It Forgets?).

"It's stand-up with a sort-of memoir theme," he said. "I'll use my personal and professional life as a skeleton to hang stuff on. I want it to be like a pair of very unpleasant, uncomfy, cynical slippers that people of a certain age can put on.

"I grew up through an age of very offensive humour to now where it's all 'well no, you can't say that as it'll offend everybody'. I still haven't really worked out where I am in all that."

The star of TV shows such as They Think It's All Over and Three Men In A Boat is no stranger to live work having kicked off his comedy career in the late 70s as part of Cambridge Footlights and most recently toured with Philip Pope (the man who gave us Spitting Image's number one hit, The Chicken Song).

It seems that this experience of being on the road doing musical comedy gave McGrath the spur to go it alone.

"I enjoyed the live performance a lot, we did two Edinburgh Fringes and a UK tour and I realised that I really liked this thing of talking to people," he said.

While he will be taking the show up and down the country, he's built in plenty time for other writing projects as well as sitting down to reflect on the live show itself if some of the sections aren't flying as he hopes.

"The tour is quite gappy and we have tried to have shows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday mainly, so there'll be loads of chances to rewrite bits if they aren't quite working.

"It's not a taster tour so I'm not exactly dipping my toe in the water to learn to swim. I've done enough of this over the years to not worry about that. And it's not stadium rock. We're in nicely sized venues where you can really chat to someone in the third row: my stuff is more familiar and convivial."

As part of his research for writing and performing a live solo show, McGrath took in some 80 comedy shows during the last Edinburgh Fringe (including Twins, a double act featuring one Annie McGrath, his actor-comedian daughter) which opened his eyes to several things.

"Comedy is so much more self-referential now because audiences understand the grammar of comedy. I've heard so many comedians talk about the gag's construction.

"They've educated the audience in the mechanics of stand-up but that's very un-me. And everyone looks younger.

"When you get an older bloke coming on and telling us what he hates, I believe him more than I would when a 19-year-old talks about what's hateable.

"Off the top of my head I can only think of about 340,417 things that annoy me.

"Here's one: when people say to me 'you know Rory, life's too short'. Really? Mine has dragged on for years and years."

As Rory McGrath prepares to get himself moving around the country for a bit, there is one other thing that he's taking time to consider: exactly how people see him and how he sees himself.

"For some unknown reason which I can't quite work out, even though I'm permanently doing grumpy material, people always think I'm jolly and cheery. I don't know how I've ended up being seen like that.

"People will usually say 'you were very smiley and happy' whereas my impression of myself is someone who is a bit grouchy. On paper the material may be 90 minutes of grumps but I just don't think I could do it like that. I don't think I could act the curmudgeon for too long because ultimately I want both myself and the audience to have a laugh."

Rory McGrath, the Lowry, Salford Quays, Sunday, April 17. Details from 0843 208 6000.