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Peter Kay, 47, is widely accepted to be one of the UK’s leading comedic talents. Despite spending several years out of the spotlight, his shows continue to tickle audiences across the country. Recently the BBC have paid homage to the star by rereleasing his greatest hits in ‘Comedy Shuffle’ and the newest season of ‘Car Share’. While his creative output is savoured by many, he revealed his mother is an especially tough critic and his fears about her reaction to his material.
Kay claimed the secret behind his comedy success was ensuring that his material remained light, swear-free and family friendly – so that generations of all ages could savour his shows together.
After the star’s first recognition in 1996 when he was crowned ‘Northwest Comedian of the Year’, he went on to release ‘That Peter Kay Thing’ – which acted as a precursor for his other shows.
His sitcoms have included ‘Phoenix Nights’, ‘Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere’ and ‘Car Share’, all of which afforded him national acclaim.
Kay maintained this innocent take on life helped its popularity and said: “No one gets slagged off in my comedy, it’s not the comedy of hate. I hope it’s a breath of fresh air for audiences.”
Kay felt a “gentler style” of comedy was more popular with audiences after years of panel shows where comedians being “vicious about everybody” was in vogue.
He told The Telegraph in 2007: “Audiences want comedy that has no venom. They want to have a laugh without it becoming twee.
“There are not many things that people can watch these days with both their children and their grandchildren, but maybe that’s what I offer.
“I’m not the sort of comedian who wants to make audiences think about politics. I’m not clever in that way.
“But maybe I’m clever in a different way because I can bring up things that make people think, ‘oh, we do that, too.’”
Kay felt his shows were reminiscent of hits like ‘The Royle Family’, which he described as “the best comedy” because it was able to “hold a mirror up to its audience”.
Unlike a number of other comedians, the star continues to keep his act clean – which he claims originates from the fear of his mother’s response to anything rude.
The star famously uses her as the funniness barometer for his material and will often reshoot sitcom scenes or cut them altogether if she doesn’t approve.
Kay quipped: “When I do stand-up, I never swear because if I did, my mum would batter me! That’s how I ended up with this style.
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“Comics like Richard Pryor and Bill Hicks were estranged from their families and could talk about anything they liked – but I’ve got to think about my nan, my mum and my sister.
“My act is about my life, and my life is my family. I have to treat them with respect.”
Kay admitted to regularly jotting down notes from “day to day” interactions to add into his bank of comedic material.
He said: “You need to live life in order to build up a new act. All the best material comes from real life.
“Last week, for instance, I was trying to persuade my nan to get Sky Plus. I was telling her that if you want to go and make a cup of tea, you can pause the telly.
“She looked baffled, ‘But what about everyone else?’ ‘You’re not controlling TV throughout Britain,’ I explained.
“‘You’re not going to prevent someone in Devon from watching the end of ‘Midsomer Murders’ just because you’ve paused your Sky Plus!’”
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