"JOKER would have been pretty sweet."

Those are the words of Stewart Francis as he discusses dream movie roles with Weekend.

He added: “I wasn’t up for it but I’d love something dark and something that allows me to go as deep as I can as an actor.”

Batman’s archvillain is an apt choice for Stewart as the Canadian joker is about to have the last laugh.

He is on his final stand-up tour before he looks to pursue acting and other opportunities and when he steps off stage on December 7 after 157 shows he said that chapter of his life will be permanently closed.

The 60-year-old had 32 shows to go when he spoke to Weekend – including the Parr Hall on Sunday, November 3.

So is Stewart relishing each show with it being the last tour or crossing each one off after an exhausting year?

“A little of both,” he said.

“I see the finish line. I’m thrilled with the show because I’d say it’s my best work so it’s nice to go out on a high.”

Stewart has made the UK his home for 12 years and currently lives in London so the final tour will finish with a bit of a homecoming at Hammersmith Apollo.

He added: “On the horizon there are new adventures. I’m going to focus on acting and voiceover work and just enjoying life.

“It’s a career that will almost end 30 years to the day of starting. So that’s it on at the Hammersmith Apollo on December 7.

“At the show itself I’ve got some friends coming out to see it and after that I’ll probably seek the sun somewhere – I haven’t decided where – and then I’ll come back for Christmas.

“It’ll be joyful and there will be a great sense of accomplishment I can only assume. I’m feeling that now already so I can only imagine what it’ll be like when it’s all done and dusted.”

And he is adamant that he means it too.

Stewart, whose UK breakthrough came when he bagged a slot on Mock The Week, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow and Live At The Apollo all within six months, said: “Stand-up has given me so much of everything.

“I’d be greedy if I wanted to extend it. I just think it’s time to move on. A perfect guest knows when to leave.

“December 7 at the Hammersmith Apollo will be the last time I ever perform stand-up comedy.

Knutsford Guardian:

“I’m already turning down lucrative corporate dos.

“Fortunately charities haven’t been approaching me – those are tough ones to turn down.

“But I want to remain consistent so I will not perform stand-up comedy ever again.

“It sounds like a threat but I want to draw a line under that and just focus on new things.

“I’ll still be creative in the form of cartoons, I’ve got two scripts that I’m writing and hopefully some acting jobs will come my way.

“I’m a man of my word and so many people sadly are cynical about this.

“They think I’ll be back as a lot of entertainers have returned. Some people are on multiple farewell tours.

“By saying it out loud, I knew in my heart I would not come back. I’ll miss the sense of accomplishment of writing a good joke or a good show.

“Entertaining people and to hear their laughter is a wonderful thing so that will be missed.

“Hopefully I can entertain people in other ways but that is probably the thing I’ll miss the most.”

That brings us back to our chat about the new Joker film and Stewart’s desire to get into straight acting.

He added: “I think that’s another part of this whole thing where I stop being a comedian.

“I want separation because casting directors can pigeonhole you and I want to be taken seriously as a dramatic actor.”

So is the comedian mould difficult to break?

Stewart said: “I think so. People are lazy. They think: ‘Oh he’s a comedian, he won’t be able to do that. He won’t be able to kill people’

“Give me a chance – I will kill them!”

As he closes the loop on his stand-up career of 30 years, Stewart also returned to his native Canada to road test his ‘Into The Punset’ material.

He added: “I went back to Toronto. I wanted closure there because I started with a comedy club in Canada so I went back there to tick that off my list of things to do.

“But in the process I was doing 30 to 40 minutes of new material that I’d never done on stage before so it was quite a challenge but I’m glad I did it. My comedy goes down better in the UK. For my style of comedy, the audiences are a little more sophisticated. They can connect the dots as opposed to the North American audiences where you have to almost yell the punchline sometimes.”

That was part of the reason Stewart moved to the UK.

He said: “I’d done everything I could do back home. I’d been on every possible festival, I was on a sitcom for two years. I’d done everything and I still didn’t feel fulfilled.

“Having come over here as a part-time comedian, I knew this was where I needed to be to give it a shot full-time. Twelve years later, here we are. I was right all along...”

Stewart Francis’s last show, Into The Punset, is at Parr Hall on November 3. Visit parrhall.culturewarrington.org