Peter Kay’s brutal reason for discussing his family life: ‘I couldn’t stand that’
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While the 47-year-old is one the UK’s best-known and beloved comedians, very little is known about his recent family and life away from the TV screen. The star became nationally renowned for his stand-up performances and shows including ‘Peter Kay’s Car Share’, ‘Comedy Shuffle’, ‘Phoenix Nights’ and ‘Max and Paddy’s Road’. In recent years, he’s made a limited number of appearances after he cancelled his tour three years ago due to “unforeseen family circumstances”. The main insight into the Bolton-born funnyman’s life is gleaned from his earlier interviews before he became a popular figure and his autobiographies. The latter move was considered out of character for the famously private comedian when he released his first in 2006 and in a candid confession he explained why.
In the past, Kay has often admitted that he would abandon his fame to work an “ordinary job” to ensure that he could be a regular part of his children’s lives and not absorbed by the limelight.
Becoming a household name seemed a long-shot for the star when he first started out in 1996 – when he won the ‘North West Comedian of the Year’ award during his second ever stand-up performance.
Prior to then, he claimed that show business “felt a million miles away from Bolton”, where he worked a number of jobs including a cinema usher, in a toilet roll factory and at a bingo hall.
He wrote in ‘Peter Kay’s The Sound of Laughter’: “I’d no connections. In fact I’d never even met anybody in showbiz.
“Not unless you count Fred Dibnah and he’d only waved at me from his steamroller as he drove past us at the Bolton Show.
“None of my family had been entertainers. My Grandad liked to play ‘The Ballad of Davy Crockett’ on the comb and tissue paper every now and again – but we never had [TV presenter] Hughie Green knocking on the front door.”
Kay’s first book went on to become the highest selling autobiography in the UK – after more than 278,000 copies were sold on its release date.
Within its pages, the comedian detailed that his talent was first spotted at school and that his Catholic nun teachers scolded him for being unable to stop making the other children laugh.
He also explained that he kept his humour clean – free of jokes about sex, drugs and alcohol – in the hope that it could unite generations in front of the TV screen without feeling awkward.
Kay revealed that while his career was important to him, he felt compelled to satisfy his other responsibilities “in life” – being a “father and a husband”.
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He said: “I enjoy the fact I can be on Paul O’Grady in the afternoon and sitting down, watching the television with Susan of an evening [sic].
“Money’s nice because it brings you security. But I promise, if it had meant being away from the people I love I wouldn’t have bothered.”
Based on his previous tendencies to avoid the limelight, many would have thought that Kay would be reluctant to publish an autobiography in favour of keeping his real-life away from prying eyes.
But in a candid confession he explained why he put pen to paper: “I only wrote it because some other bloke was writing an unauthorised one. I couldn’t stand that.
“Now I think I should buy that fella a drink, I’ve enjoyed writing it. Anyway, I’ve got nothing to moan about.”
His rejection of the fame and grandeur was highlighted by the description of his job, where he stripped it back to its simplest form.
Kay said: “The way I see it, it’s my job to help take somebody who might have troubles out of themselves, for a while at least.”
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