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Peter Kay, 47, has become nationally beloved for his comedic observations about everyday life, which were into TV shows and stand-up routines. The Bolton-born star was first recognised with the 1996 ‘North West Comedian of the Year Award’ during his second ever live performance. He then released a number of hits including ‘Phoenix Nights’, ‘Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere’ and most recently ‘Car Share’, alongside Sian Gibson. The comedy legend’s most memorable moments were honoured in recent weeks on the BBC show ‘Peter Kay’s Comedy Shuffle’. Despite his fame in the UK, Kay remains an extremely private individual and rarely divulges information about his family life. But in a candid confession, he revealed how his childhood shaped him and that the nuns who taught him at Catholic school led him to become a star.
Kay’s comedic talent was first identified at five years old, when one teacher wrote that he seemed “unable to resist trying to amuse the children around him”.
This manifested itself further in school productions, including one incident when he played the Cowardly Lion in a production ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and pretended to urinate against a tree.
He was verbally scolded for the unscripted moment but it didn’t hold him back as he had made a similar alteration to the script during a performance of the Christmas Nativity story.
Cast at the role of Innkeeper and stood before a “packed hall”, it wasn’t long before he had his audience in stitches – he explained in his 2006 book ‘The Sound of Laughter’.
Kay wrote: “I decided that instead of telling Mary and Joseph there was ‘no room at the inn’ I would offer them an en-suite with a full-English [breakfast].
“What a wonderful feeling it was to stand on-stage and listen to the sound of laughter. I felt happy, I felt safe.”
While the audience loved his cheeky adaptation, the rest of the nuns were less than impressed, according to Kay.
One of them was so outraged that they furiously asked: “Is that what you’re going to be when you grow up… a comedian?”
Decades later, he would fulfill that ambition but unfortunately his father Michael, an engineer, died shortly before his career took off.
Kay admitted that he missed him “every day” and that his passing was “devastating”, during a 2006 interview with the Daily Mirror.
Despite that, he felt that his father lived on through his stand-up routines and because of the performances he “will always be alive”.
Kay attributed his humour to Michael, as he recalled: “When I was a kid and I’d fall over and cut myself, I’d come staggering in from the backyard sobbing, snot dripping.
“Sure enough my dad would look at the blood on my knee or elbow and shout to my mum…”
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He recalled his father yelling “Deirdre, go and get the saw out the shed, I’ll have to cut it off,” and admitted he started “wailing like a banshee”.
The heartache from losing his own father likely influenced the star’s decision to spend more time with his children.
Kay pulled out of his stand-up tour ‘Dance For Life’ in 2017 due to “unforeseen family circumstances” – but even before shied away from fame in order to live a more ordinary life.
He said: “I’ve met so many older actors and comedians who’ve told me they wished they’d spent as much time with their kids as they did chasing the money.
“You’ve got to draw a line but it’s a gamble. I’ve tried to balance it by writing my book. I’ve been able to be at home and work a bit, put Charlie to bed then work some more.
“For me, whatever happens, there’s nothing better than family.”
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