Brought up in Portsmouth in a Polish family, moustachioed comedian Mike Wozniak was a sketch show performer for 10 years before trying his hand at stand-up in 2007. He was one of last year’s most hotly-tipped stand-ups - nominated for Best Newcomer at the if.comedy awards in Edinburgh, as well as winning the Amused Moose LaughOff contest.

This weekend he opens up for Andrew Maxwell and We Are Klang at Up the Creek’s Sunday Special.

Hi Mike. Have you appeared at Up the Creek before?

No, it’s the first time I’ve been to Up the Creek. I can’t wait. I’ve heard wonderful things about it, it’s talked up widely. But it’s never happened.

What effect all the attention and awards you received last year has had?

It’s made a huge difference. A couple of things in Edinburgh, I did a one-man show which got nominated for the if.comedy new-comer and there was an Amused Moose LaughOff prize. But the latter has meant I’m going quite soon to the Adelaide Fringe, which I’m excited about.

The former has mainly just created interesting opportunities, mainly just live work. It’s led to some unusual and nice gigs. I’ve been performing solidly. I’m based in London but will go anywhere that will have me.

Opportunities like being on of a line-up at an amnesty gig in Belfast last year which was fantastic and the weekend just gone, I did a lovely gig on Sunday a guy in south Wales. Ben Partridge is running these gigs in unusual places, it’s called the Junket Club.

I was supporting Josie Long at a gig in Cardiff Bay Planetarium. Opportunities like that are a joy and probably wouldn’t be happening otherwise.

An event like that is something quite special. It kind of alters the way you might perform, to a crowd 25 people who want to be there and are quite comedy literate and engaged with what’s going on versus a Friday night gig somewhere. It’s a different beast. But that’s part of the enjoyment as well, doing something gigs that are wildly different day to day.

It feels like you’ve come out of nowhere. Is that fair to say, that you’ve come out of nowhere?

It’s entirely fair. Stand-up I’ve been doing for a couple of years but I’ve not really been doing anything note worthy.

Lots of people go through things, get to be a finalist in an award or get to the comedy zone, those kind of showcase things. I perhaps did the solo show slightly earlier than would normally be planned. I felt determined to do it and perhaps I’m slightly inpatient, I wanted to do it and I had an idea for it. I’ve been doing comedy in one form or another for about 10 years or so.

It was sketch show comedy before that; quite haphazard, basically just a group of friends. We organised our own gigs. We went up to Edinburgh a few times in 2000 and 2001, but just for a week each time. We were never on a proper kind of circuit. One day we might do a gig to a group of students somewhere and the next gig would be two months later, an entirely different show in an RAF base in Anglesey, say.

None of us were planning to do comedy or anything. It wasn’t a plan of war at that stage, it was just fun. But I love comedy and I did find myself thinking a couple of years ago, ‘this is what I want to do. What on earth am I waiting for?’ and just sort of got on with it really.

Have you carried on with the sketch show style or have you developed a different style for your stand-up material?

The sketches were probably quite different to the stand-up. The stand-up is mainly story telling. A lot of it focuses on my family and their distant origins and myths and legends within the family, rather than one-liner after one-liners. That’s what the general feel of the stand-up is.

I’ve worked on it. It has definitely evolved but I think, part of it comes relatively naturally because I have a way of speaking and I’ve always loved telling stories and being a storyteller. That’s also the kind of comedy I love, so it’s kind of natural that’s the kind of stand-up I ended up doing.

Night to night sometimes there will be variations, I might perform with more attack one night. It depends on the crowd, and what have you.

But I didn’t sit down with a pen and paper and decide ‘am I going to be a gag smith, am I going to be a story teller or character actor’ I’ve been getting back into the sketch thing again recently. We’ve got our first gig on Monday. It is a The Fix comedy mag event in Farringdon, dedicated to new material.

Hopefully we’ll get to Up the Creek one day.

Are you a comedy fan?

Hugely. I’ve always been a comedy fan. I was reared listening to Goon Show tapes for as long as I can remember. I was a huge Spike Milligan fan growing up, my father was a huge fan of Spike Milligan and Monty Python and Billy Connelly, and all those are favourite comics of mine. Later on I loved Izzard, was a huge fan of Lee and Herring, that kind of comedy. Then Dylan Moran. I’ve always been a fan of stand-up and comedy in general really.

You come across as being very confident on stage. Are you that confident a guy off stage too?

I think a lot of it is persona and shtick, probably. The sketch is a very different beast from stand-up but there are things you can learn from one and bring to the other. Just being used to being on stage and that not fazing you and getting used to riding laughter and getting used to brutal silences, as well. I think you learn to show no fear regardless of the sort of performing you’re doing. There’ll always be a sort of nervous energy. I don’t think I bound around off stage in such a confident manner, so a lot of it is persona and shtick.

Is it hard overcoming the nerves and those brutal silences?

The nerves thing is ok because it’s usually not detrimental, it’s usually nervous energy and I need that I think, just before the gig. The few times it hasn’t been there I’ve given a bad performance. Know what I mean? If you’re up slightly it kind of makes you raise your game, well it does for me.

And the brutal silences, I think you learn quite quickly if you’re doing sketch shows or stand up if you’re someone who can stand brutal silences. If you’re someone who it just destroys from the inside out it’s probably not for you. But if you can do it and come off stage and think I’m not actually dead, then you know it’s ok because you can learn from it.

The bad gigs you learn a lot from and they half the time they end up as quite good stories that you swap as a badge of honour with your fellow comics. If you’re in a car on the way to a gig somewhere, or club, you’re unlikely to swap tales of the gigs where you ripped it up. You’d be a bit of a tosser if you did. Luckily it’s better to talk about your horrific death. That’s when people gather round to listen. It’s happened to all of our heroes. You can take comfort in that.

What do stand-up comedians do during the day, exactly?

Ooh, it varies enormously. I think it varies what they do and varies what they say they do. You know? The noble answer I think is ‘I’m writing a radio sitcom. I’m writing my first screenplay’ and in my mind that’s exactly what I’m doing but it might be, in the course of that, I’m finding inspiration.

Does that mean watching TV? Or staring out the window?

Who knows where the inspiration can come from … What am I going to do this morning? It’s not going to be a particularly creative day. I’ve got wedmin [wedding admin] this morning, I’ll square with you.

I’m getting married at the end of April, and there’s all kinds of jobs that I’ve left which should have been months ago. So I’m attacking that this morning. But if another comic asks me, I’ll say I’ve been writing my sketches for the new group.

Has the wedding preperations offered any good material yet? Or is there a ban on wedding gags?

Not yet. It might do. There’s no ban on it. If there was a ban it would be my own ban. If I ever do anything about wedding or marriage I’d want it to be not something someone else had done. It’s a topic lots of people cover, therefore you’ve got to do it well if you’re going to do it at all, I think.

Is it important to you to come up with very fresh and innovative material?

Yes, it’s important to try. I think everyone fears being called a hack or having dull material, so yeah. I think that might be why I started initially focusing on my family and myths and things like that because these are going to be topics other people won’t have covered. I think it’s ok to cover more generic topics but you’ve got to find your own angle on it. Lots of people have done cats and dogs and men and women, but some people do it extremely well.

What does the near future hold for you?

I’m just gigging around the place. That’s it. The big things are Adelaide and then I’m going to do another solo show in Edinburgh this year and maybe for Edinburgh the sketch group I’m putting together in the meantime. It’s all sort of live stuff. But I love that and I’m very happy with that.

Successful comics tend to put out live a DVD now, don’t they? If you were offered a live DVD deal would you take it?

Film a DVD and put it out now? No. I think I’d wait a few years.

Mike Wozniak opens the show for We Are Klang and Andrew Maxwell on Jan 25. Sunday Special at Up The Creek, 302 Creek Road, Greenwich. Doors 7.30pm. £5/£3. 020 8858 4581.