Peter Kay

Peter Kay ain't your typical modern comedian. He doesn't drink, he's happily married and his act is devoid of swear words and animal cruelty.

Peter Kay

His cute, cuddly, old school charm clearly strikes a chord though, because he's been voted one of Britain's best comedians. So what's so funny Pete?

Peter John Kay was born in Bolton in 1973. Never being one for books, he left school at 16 with just one Art GCSE under his belt. What followed was a succession of no-prospect jobs in a supermarket, bingo hall and a toilet roll factory. While at work he would take inspiration from his co-workers, scribbling down their expressions and stories, later using this material to develop characters for his TV shows, That Peter Kay Thing and Phoenix Nights. Being sacked from his job as a cinema usher was a final straw, and he decided to devote his life to comedy.

Kay won his first stand-up competition at a Manchester working men's club, beating fellow comedian Jonny Vegas. He rose to fame quickly, winning the So You Think You're Funny? competition, as well as a nomination for the prestigious Perrier award at the Edinburgh fringe festival.

Since then Kay has gone on to play huge sell-out gigs across the country, playfully toying with his fans by naming one of the tours the Mum Wants A Bungalow tour and labelling his 2011 tour, The Tour That Doesn't Tour tour. Heck, he might as well have called it, Please Give Me Your Money Tour. Kay's trademark is his cosy-meets-cutting observational humour which has led him to be compared to other greats such as Alan Bennett and Victoria Wood. He extracts comedy from the everyday - cheesecake (a cake made of cheese?), bleeding radiators and new-fangled inventions like mobile phones and t'internet.

Kay also has a bit of a soft spot for talking about the good old days, referencing old school classics like sherbet Dib Dabs and the excitement of finding a tin of Quality Street - only for it to be filled with your mum's sewing kit. Being what Kay would probably describe as a bit on the cuddly side, he often chats about weight and dieting, which he reminds his audience, "you never start on a Friday". After becoming synonymous with garlic bread and finding that free portions plague him wherever he goes, he has opted to try a new phrase – "plas-ma". Not sure it's going to catch on, Pete. Although, having said that, we bet every cabby in Britain rues the day Kay uttered the words, "been busy?".

Following the success of Phoenix Nights, Kay joined forces with Paddy McGuiness to create spin-off series Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere. Documenting the lives of these hapless two bouncers proved so popular that it eventually led to the release of a spoof exercise video, The Power of Two – because, well, everyone wants to have a body that is described as being like a "veranda over the toy store" - don’t they?

Not content with being funny just as Peter, Kay has immortalised himself in the character of Geraldine McQueen, popping up pretty much everywhere and trying to prove that Britain really has Got the Pop Factor... and Possibly a New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly on Ice.

There seems to end to this man's talents - he's even turned his attention to writing, penning The Sound of Laughter and Saturday Night Peter, which we definitely don't recommend reading on a packed train. And what does Kay say about his own work? "I show everything to my mum. If she doesn't get it, I cut it out or reshoot it." Ah, bless him.

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