HE may have once stood up to the might of Israel’s army in a documentary, but Jeremy Hardy’s political ire is of a more nuanced, measured and personal stripe these days. For his current live show, he feels as though his act and material are a fair reflection of what’s going on in the country just now. “There isn’t a driving sense of rebellion, everything is so disparate now. When I started comedy there was a real sense of polarity: you had Thatcher and the miners and you took sides. But now people are voting on different issues and it’s all over the place. A lot of my demographic is quite weary. I feel like I’m entertaining the troops who aren’t that confident about whether they’re going to survive the war.”

And entertain them he most certainly will. Now in his fourth decade of a successful stand-up career, the hilarious Hardy is one of Britain’s most critically lauded comics. Rising through the vibrant ‘alternative cabaret’ scene of London in the early 1980s, he won the prestigious Perrier Award in 1988, has become a fixture on Radio 4 through shows such as The News Quiz and Jeremy Hardy Speaks To The Nation, and his membership of the legendary I’m Sorry I Haven’t Got A Clue team has brought him before a whole new live audience with its touring show. Hardy has also appeared on film opposite Robert ‘Twilight’ Pattinson in 2011’s How To Be, while the aforementioned encounter with the Israeli army was in 2002’s fittingly titled documentary, Jeremy Hardy v The Israeli Army.

This diverse CV now means that an audience at a Jeremy Hardy show could be there for a variety of reasons. “I never quite know who the audience is,” he admits. “You’ll get some Radio 4 listeners who are conservative, though quietly so, and some people come along because they’ve seen a leaflet. Others might have heard me on I’m Sorry I Haven’t Got A Clue which has almost no politics whatsoever but they’ve heard me singing one song to the tune of another and that’s what they think I’ll be doing.”

What Jeremy Hardy will certainly be doing for this show is taking the political temperature of the nation, albeit through a more personal lens. “I am talking about politics but more about how these things impact on me and affect me emotionally in terms of feeling bewildered and battered by them. I’m not trying to sound like an authority and people don’t need to bring notebooks to the show. It’s much more the ramblings and discontents of a person in the back half of life.”

Jeremy Hardy: Live 2017 comes to Nuffield Southampton Theatres on Sunday. Limited tickets are available from nstheatres.co.uk or 023 8067 1771.