PICTURE a podcast and you might imagine a couple of people hunched over a computer or – if they are really posh – in a studio.

You would not normally associate a digital recording with being surrounded by some 3,500 adoring fans.

But cult filmmaker and pop culture icon Kevin Smith likes to do things a little bit differently. In fact, he has done his whole career.

The Clerks and Mallrats director brought his Hollywood Babble-On show to Manchester Apollo on Sunday as part of a four-date tour of the UK.

Alongside him was performer and friend Ralph Garman, who acted as both co-star producer, and the chemistry between the pair made for a night that was as easy going as it was entertaining – as long as you do not mind a fair dose of swearing and vulgarity.

The podcast sees Kevin and Ralph delve into the week’s biggest entertainment stories in between impressions, anecdotes and news from Kevin’s own projects.

Adoring fans flocked to Babble-On because it is the first time the live show has been brought to the UK in five years.

Kevin has become an icon to pop culture nerds because of his own films and comics but also because of the eloquent way he discusses new releases on podcasts and social media.

By his own admission, he is a fan first and filmmaker second and it was genuinely touching to see the reaction he got at the Apollo from those who love his work.

Among them was an artist who had spent hours on a gift for him – a picture which recreated a scene from Avengers: Endgame to include Kevin’s superhero alter ego Bluntman.

Also in the audience were many people who had seen Kevin in Manchester’s Northern Quarter earlier in the day.

Forget the bright lights of Hollywood – the director was won over by the city after eating at vegan fast food diner V-Rev and shopping at the pop-up Makers Market.

The show became a bit of an impromptu ‘show and tell’ as Kevin showed off the Manchester and Star Wars inspired arts and crafts he had bought from independent traders while he leant about the Manchester worker bee symbol from the crowd and talked about his love of New Order.

A masterclass in how to win over an audience and, like most of what Kevin Smith does, it seemed genuine and from the heart.

The 48-year-old is so passionate about what he does that you cannot help but be won over – make that bowled over – by his enthusiasm.

I could listen to Kevin Smith speak all night – and that is pretty much what I got. He spent around 15 minutes answering a question from an audience member without pausing for breath.

On top of that, fans got to see a variety of weird and wonderful images and video clips of everything from why a Japanese ‘prison hospital themed’ restaurant is so wrong to children’s toys with a dark side.

There was also an exclusive clip from Kevin’s upcoming movie, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot and a trailer for HBO’s Watchmen spin-off by Lost and The Leftovers co-creator Damon Lindelof. Geek heaven.

On another note, it was just great to see Kevin back on top form after suffering a massive heart attack last year.

In a trench coat, shorts and a baseball cap on backwards, he cut a trim but healthy figure after losing 51 pounds after swapping to vegan diet. I hope he continues babbling on for a long time yet.