BILL Bailey is embarking on a nationwide tour with his new show Larks In Transit, returning to York for the first time since May 2016.

Nights number two and three bring the Bath comedian to York Barbican on Wednesday and Thursday, when he mulls over politics, philosophy and the pursuit of happiness in comedic routines and humorous songs, whether revealing the real tale of Old MacDonald or delivering a new take on The Stars And Stripes.

"The show is about being lucky enough to have those kind of experiences where you get to think about the world and our relationship with nature, but it’s also about how my life has led me to the point where people do recognise me in those same places," says Bailey, who turned 54 on January 13.

Next week's audiences in York can anticipate long-form stories of the weird and wondrous places he has visited in two decades of traveller' tales, such as this experience: "We were on a birding trip in the jungles of Indonesia," he recalls. "I cannot tell you how remote this place was. It was like some sort of Eden. I was just standing there naked in this river. I was the only person there, and I was thinking, ‘This is one place where I won’t meet anyone’.

York Press:

Rabbiting on: Bill Bailey discusses two decades of traveller's tales in Larks In Transit. Picture: Andy Hollingworth

“Then out of the blue, a couple of Aussies just came out of the bush and shouted, ‘Oh, look at that! It’s Bill Bailey! What the hell are you doing here?'. That just suddenly brought me back down to earth."

Larks In Transit, Bailey's follow-up to his 2016 show Limboland, also contemplates the merits of perseverance. "My grandfather was a great influence on me. He was a stone mason and he had a very strong work ethic. Somehow, through all the chats I had with him, I get the feeling that’s rubbed off on me," he says.

"He used to tell me about the dignity of work and really developing a craft. He taught me that you shouldn’t give up too easily. You continue, you endure, you keep moving forward and somehow work gains its own meaning. You don’t have to think too much about it. You just keep going. I hope I have been true to the spirit of what my grandfather said."

As always, Bailey's trademark musical flights of fantasy will be key to his new show, not least when creating a symphony out of ring tones. "Music is another dynamic really, it’s a bit of light and shade," he says.

"I always think it’s a tremendous art and a tremendous skill to keep people’s attention with the spoken word for a couple of hours. I’m always aware of that. So when I was starting out in stand-up, I was looking for ways to break it up.

York Press:

"We’re very lucky to have English as our language," says Bill Bailey

“I think music works on a different level to language. Some of the words create a picture and can feed people’s imaginations. Often slow-burn, great, long routines can build up to great crescendos,but music gets you on the gut level. It gets you straight away. It’s a more instantaneous kind of reaction."

Just as Bailey is a gifted musician, so he can make the English language "sing" in his storytelling and observational comedy. "We’re very lucky to have English as our language. It’s just so expressive and so endlessly supple and it has myriad ways of telling the same story. You can tell the same story, embroider it, put in new language, and it becomes something completely different. It’s a treat and a wonder,” he says.

After three decades of comedic endeavours, Bailey appreciates his career on stage, radio and television more than ever. "I’m lucky to still be doing this and to do something I love. I’m lucky that people still want to come and see me," he says. "My priority is always funny first. Then if you have the time and the experience to refine it to the level where maybe the odd phrase does get through to people – well, that’s as good as it can get really."

Bill Bailey: Larks In Transit, York Barbican, Wednesday and Thursday, 8pm; doors open at 7pm. Tickets update: still available at £30.80 on 0844 854 2757 or at Bailey also plays Hull City Hall, April 25, 01482 300300; Leeds First Direct Arena, June 8, 0844 248 1585.