Peter Kay: Car Share star admitted he ‘rarely laughs at other comedians’

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The Bolton-born star, 47, has rarely performed stand-up in recent years after he cancelled his UK tour three years ago due to “unforeseen circumstances”. This year, he briefly appeared on the BBC fundraiser The Big Night In and in the sitcom Car Share. In a candid interview from the beginning of his career, Peter admitted that he didn’t find a lot of other comedians funny. 

The fresh-faced star was around 24 years old when he gave a rare insight into his personal thoughts and the comedians who inspired him.

Peter said he had studied the comedy greats but when asked for any specific muses he could only list one – the late Ronnie Barker. 

He explained that he especially liked his performances in the prison comedy Porridge, which ran for three years from 1974. 

The show starred Ronnie as Norman Stanley Fletcher, known as Fletch, and Richard Beckinsale’s character Lennie Godber.

Peter added: “There’s not a lot of things that make me laugh surprisingly enough, I’m more of a laughter giver than a laughter taker.

“I’m a laugher on the inside kind of guy… there’s not a lot of things that make me laugh.”

At the time of the interview, he had just been named as the 1996 North West Comedian of the Year Award.

He beat local favourite Johnny Vegas and others to the accolade during his second stand-up performance.

Six years later, his first show That Peter Kay Thing would air on Channel 4 after a number of small appearances on the BBC and ITV. 

Aside from Ronnie, Peter admitted that Victoria Wood made him laugh – “but not her, only when she’s writing and Julie Walters does it”.

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He referred to the 1982 comedy sketch show Wood & Walters, which aired for one season and had just seven episodes.

The stars comments were recorded in 1997 but were later broadcast as part of the 2005 Paramount 2 show Peter Kay: The Early Years 

During the interview, he also said that the US comedian Danny Kaye had inspired him because he broke tradition and talked to his audience.

He claimed that it was considered “a really strange thing” for a performer to sit and have a chat but it “went down a storm”.

In a hint towards his future aspirations, Peter also admitted that he thought “improvised stuff” was “incredible”.

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He added: “You know when they study a character and find their habits and that, I think that’s incredible.”

In his TV shows Phoenix Nights, Max & Paddy’s Road To Nowhere and Car Share, he was known to go off-script to create moments some consider to be comedy gold.

Peter echoed his praise for the late Ronnie during a 2011 interview with the Daily Express and revealed that they often wrote to each other in character.

In one note, Ronnie pretended to be Fletch from Porridge and penned his letter on paper from HMP Slade – the fictional prison where the show was set.

Ronnie wrote: “I have been keeping a clean sheet so far. But that’s mostly because I work in the prison laundry.”

Peter explained: “He wrote four pages about how he had stolen the paper when Mr McKay was not looking.

“I had some Phoenix Nights notepaper made and wrote to him as Brian Potter. I sent him a nail file in a Soreen Fruity Malt Loaf.”

After the comedian died from heart failure in 2005, Peter gave a touching tribute at his funeral. 

He said: “He made me laugh so much and I’m just so lucky to have been able to get to know my hero and the person that I aspire to be.”

Peter Kay: The Early Years aired on Paramount 2 in 2005.

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