Patrick Monahan, 39, has an Iranian mother, and Irish father, a northern accent and holds the world record for the longest hug.

Born in Iran, where his father had moved to work on the oil rigs, he is the youngest of three. The family left when war broke out following the Iranian Revolution.

Patrick says: “I was the youngest so I can’t really remember much. It was such a nice place but it just got battered. I’ve always wanted to go back but my mum’s terrified.”

The family moved to a town called Redcar in Middlesbrough. It was watching comedians such as Robin Williams, Richard Pryor and Dave Allen with his family that first sparked an interest in comedy for Patrick.

“I remember seeing them do stand-up and being blown away. I could see the fun they were having and I wanted to do something I enjoyed so much. It doesn’t even feel like a job. It feels like I go on a mini holiday every day.”

Patrick hastens to add: “There’s a downside to that. After a while I just want to sleep on a sofa for 36 hours.

“I remember turning up to Gatwick to head off to a show and they had cancelled the flight. I’d come back the night before from a show and had to get up at 3am and the next flight wasn’t until the evening so I just walked around Gatwick for 12 hours.

“It was like doing an all-nighter at a rave but the rave was an airport. I ended up in a chapel, I didn’t even know they had chapels, and I chatted to people.”

Experiences like this filter into Patrick’s comedy, alongside his childhood memories. He explains: “I talk about life, growing up and everyday stuff but it’s quite unique because not everyone grew up in Iran or has two parents from different places.

“I wake up at three o’clock in the morning sometimes with a good idea and have to write it down. Then you’ve got all these scraps of paper that you have to turn into something.”

I wondered if this is how he decided to go for the world record for the longest hug. He admits it wasn’t his idea, but fellow comedian Bob Slayer.

According to, couples gathered as part of the World Record London 2012 campaign on National Hugging Day in Janaury of that year to set a new record and they reached an incredible time of 24 hours and 44 minutes. The site also notes longest marathon group hug is 25 hrs 00 min and 10 sec and was achieved by Forever Friends (UK) at Leeds train station in September 2012.

In 2013 Patrick and Bob embraced to set their own record. Of course I had to ask about the, shall we say, logistics of hugging somebody for 25 hours and 25 minutes.

“You can’t break the hug but people can join it,” he tells me. “If you want to eat you do it together, if you want the toilet you do it together. It was nice but after a while you just want your arms back.”

No doubt his ability to hold a squeeze is what clinched it in the Forth Radio Best Stand-Up People’s Choice Award, which Patrick won for his hit show Hug Me I Feel Good. He was also named Britain’s Hardest Working Comedian 2015 by for playing the highest number of venues in the UK.

If you have any more questions, or simply want to see his stand-up, head to the Potters Arms on Thursday to see Patrick’s new show The Disco Years.

The Potters Arms, Fagnall Lane, Winchmore Hill, Thursday, March 31, 8pm. Details: 01494 726222