Peter Kay When He Was 23-Years-Old Trying To Break Into Comedy

Peter Kay is a household name nowadays. His work on Phoenix Nights, Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere, Carshare and stand-up comedy, among many other things, have led him to be a much-loved man across the UK.

He's won a plethora of awards, including a couple of BAFTAs, and even holds a Guinness World Record for playing the most successful stand-up comedy tour of all time, performing to more than 1.2 million people.

But of course it wasn't always this way, as he had to go through a hard slog to get to the level he's at now.

A working class lad from Bolton, he began a degree course at the University of Liverpool, later dropping out to take up an offer of a Higher National Diploma (HND) in media performance at the University of Salford.

During the course there was a stand-up comedy module, which prompted a peer to tell him to enter the North West Comedian of the Year competition, which he won.

Despite a promising start to his career as a comic, he decided to carry on working part time at a local cinema while living at his mum's, although he still performed locally.

A video from 1997, when Kay was 23, shows him on the back streets of Bolton and in his old home, talking about his then current attempt at becoming a full-time comedian.

Fresh faced he looks a mile off sitting in a wheelchair and portraying Brian Potter, a character we wouldn't see until three years later during That Peter Kay Thing.

The character, which featured in the episode 'In Da Club', would go on to be the basis for the series Phoenix Nights, which looked at club life in Bolton.

Most of Kay's work seemed to mimic life in his home town, as he thinks that 'a mirror is the best comedy', claiming that all the things that went on around him at home were naturally funny enough.

This is something you can clearly see from this interview, as he sits on the streets of Bolton and can easily make people laugh just from being in that environment.

He recalls the time a promoter asked if he was "blue and racist", to which he said: "No, no, I don't do any of that, I just talk about Bolton and family and friends and that."

It's at that point of the interview that they're interrupted by "women in leggings" and they have to dart inside to avoid any trouble.

Shortly after the interview was filmed, Kay went on a streak of television appearances, making his first on an episode of New Voices, before he got a regular spot on The Sunday Show, presenting a segment called Peter Kay's World of Entertainment.

Peter Kay's first appearance on The Sunday Show. Credit: Channel 4/The Sunday Show

He then featured on Comedy Lab, a Channel 4 show which aired episodes of potential comedy series and acted as a pilot for them.

The episode Kay sent in, 'The Services', featured him as a number of different characters in a mockumentary setting, and also had appearances from Paddy McGuinness and Sian Gibson, from Peter Kay's Car Share.

The episode won a Royal Television Society award for best newcomer and became the pilot for That Peter Kay Thing, a series that followed different characters in and around Bolton.

A number of the characters, such as Marc Park, Keith Lard and Paul le Roy would feature alongside popular characters in Phoenix Nights and Max and Paddy's Road To Nowhere.

That, as we know, led to much, much more success.

Featured Image Credit: Paramount Comedy

Mark McGowan

Mark is a journalist at LADbible, who joined in 2015 after a year as a freelance writer. In the past he blogged for independent football fan channel Redmen TV, after graduating from Staffordshire University with degrees in journalism and English literature. He has worked on campaigns such as UOKM8? and IIOC.

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