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Comedian Michael McIntyre tells of seriously tough times when young

Comedy superstar Michael McIntyre has spoken of his insular nature as a child and admitted his habit of constantly talking to himself was an omen of his future in show business.

McIntyre, 39, recalled not having many friends as a youngster and that he was "never totally engaged with people".

He told The Sunday Times' Culture magazine: "I was alone with my thoughts, and I was always talking to myself."

He added: "It was as if I was rehearsing - when I was with my friends, I would try to see how many laughs I could get."

McIntyre, who has been compared to the likes of comedy legends Tommy Cooper and Eric Morecambe, says he never watched sitcoms and "came late to so many parties", including stand-up.

"With regards to being a comedian, I suppose it was a natural thing, because I didn't know it was an option," he said.

The success of McIntyre's observational routines has, at times, made him a target for fellow comedians.

But he said many of his critics forget he was on the same circuit as them in the beginning.

He said: "I was doing all right, it's not like I came from some talent show on the TV."

He added: "I did it with them, and I got more laughs, so they don't like that."

McIntyre also credited his wife, Kitty, for helping him through the early stages of his career.

He said: "During those years, she did say 'Is this something you want to do?', because I was horrible with nerves."

The comedian said he was "a physical and emotional wreck" leading up to shows, which would then go badly.

"It was really, really tough," he recalled. "But I just felt I could see this person in me, and I think he's funny, he's just got to get out."

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