Comedian Simon Evans says that one of his first comedy gigs was a corporate works do in the depths of the recession.

“They couldn’t afford Jimmy Carr so they got me,’’ he said.

Simon is a self deprecating, modest comedian who believes he is an unrecognised genius. As the world seemed not to pick up on this undeniable fact, Simon has written a show to prove it. Genius will be stopping off in Swindon next month.

“The show is in part about the despair at the decline of western civilisation. It is the dumbing down of intellect, even by my own family. It breeds melancholy,’’ said Simon, who studied to be a criminal barrister before turning to comedy.

He said he thought that going into law was going to be like Rumpole of the Bailey.

“I thought I just had to be witty. I dodged a bullet, it was the amount of reading involved, and I am a bit of a gadfly,’’ said Simon.

The comedian began working as a journalist for a local newspaper and was sent out to write an article about improv comedy.

“I signed up for a course on the spot. I did a stand-up course and opened for a gathering of people who try out ideas. I felt myself at home. It was 1996 and the right moment for comedians. I caught the tail wind and swam with the tide.’’

Simon has appeared on a number of TV shows such as Live At The Apollo, Mock The Week, 8 Out of 10 Cats, but he is more often the brainchild behind the action as he writes for Lee Mack’s sitcom, Not Going Out, and composes jokes for Sean Lock and Dara O’Briain.

“Lee Mack is a close neighbour. We pushed our babies around in their buggies together, when they were small,’’ he said.

But it is radio that is Simon’s real forte with his popular BBC Radio 4 series Simon Evans Goes To Market striking the right chord.

“Radio 4 chimes with my audience and I feel I have found my people,’’ he said. The show returned for the fourth year running this year.

The comedian is also a popular guest on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow and Rich Hall’s Cattle Drive.

“Michael is a gifted comedian, an extraordinary host and ad-libber so I am grateful for that,’’ said Simon.

The comic has a fierce intelligence which has helped him through University Challenge and Celebrity Mastermind, where his specialist subject was Ernest Shackleton.

“I found Shackleton’s life fascinating, I couldn’t imagine doing it. I don’t like hostile weather or temperatures,’’ he said. “I was on University Challenge again last Christmas, the professionals one.’’ He was also a panellist on the Krypton Factor.

He said that his dad was a fan of his Radio Four work. “Every parent is anxious for their offspring whatever they do. My daughter is in the film industry and my son, who is 11, is enjoying my comedy,’’ said Simon.

The comedian has also taken his stand-up to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Festival as well as touring abroad in Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing Dubai Cape Town and Montreal.

Genius with Simon Evans it at the Swindon Arts Centre on Saturday, November 3from 8pm. Tickets are £16.50 on 01793 524481 or visit - Flicky Harrison