Peter Kay snub: The Big Night In star’s joke feud BBC host Graham Norton revealed

Peter Kay is considered to be one of Britain’s most beloved comedians. The star rose to fame on ‘Phoenix Nights’ alongside his stand-up career. But the Bolton-born funnyman took a step out of the spotlight in 2017 for undisclosed family reasons. He’s now due to return to TV for the Children In Need and Comic Relief fundraiser ‘The Big Night In’, which airs on BBC One and iPlayer this Thursday (April 23). Other sketches and skits by the comedian have been broadcast during the coronavirus lockdown in an attempt to tickle audiences who have been strictly instructed to stay indoors. Peter’s battle to the top was fraught with self-doubt and snubs from people who tried to put him down. The turbulent times during his career shaped him into the observational comedy genius that he is today. While refining his act on the circuit, he clashed with multiple others trying to make a name for themselves. They included future primetime host Graham Norton, who the comedian delivered a witty comeback to after one gig from his early days.

The Peter Kay revelation emerged as he recalled compéring comedy shows during his younger years, in his 2010 memoir ‘Saturday Night Peter’.

He credited influences on his career as Jasper Carrott, Billy Connolly and all-time favourite Ronnie Barker – who he struck up an unusual friendship with. 

Along with a handful of others, he believes they helped shape the unique style and sense of humour he is known for today.

The star also explained how variety acts he watched during childhood holidays to Blackpool, which were “built around comedians”, had a bearing on him too.

He wrote: “When I compèred I always felt obliged to end the night with a song, it just gave the show closure.

“Nine out of ten times it would be ‘(Is This The Way To) Amarillo’… I didn’t even have any backing…”

Another gimmick Peter employed was the use of props and costumes to shock his audience. 

He added: “I’d compère the first two halves of the show in my normal stage attire, then get changed into my lion costume during the interval.

“I’d go back on dressed as a lion with a fag in my mouth, do a bit of material, introduce the next act and leave. Never referring to my costume once.

“Then I’d go straight back up to the dressing room and take the whole lot off as quick as I could, ready to go back on. It got laughs and I really enjoyed the surrealness of it all.”

However, one aspiring comedian – who would go on to become a popular television talk show host – was less than amused.

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Peter explained: “Unfortunately Graham Norton didn’t find it quite so amusing when I introduced him dressed as a lion and he made some sarcastic quip as I left the stage.”

The next night the comedian recalled a joke he played on rising star Graham when asked him “what the gay area in Manchester was called”.

He confessed that while it was “common knowledge” that the area was Canal Street he couldn’t bring himself to say it.

Peter wrote: “I said something that I’m still not proud of, in fact I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly apologise. 

“When Graham asked me the name of the gay area in Manchester I told him it was Bury.”

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