PHIL KAY [S a kid. He walks like a kid, shakes hands like a kid, has kids’ eyes, talks like a kid, spills vinegar on his jeans and pulls the
tablecloth up to wipe his mouth.
This kid, it seems, appeared from nowhere. But this kid is one of Britain’s most accomplished stand- up comedians, and one of its funniest men.
Fife-born Kay left Glasgow Uni- versity with a degree in Philosophy and English Literature, and every intention of becoming a full-time
stand-up comedian. Which he did. His reluctance to leave Scotland has prevented him from making the impact his talent deserves. While the London circuit has beckoned hopefully, the temptation has never quite been great enough and he has
remained Glasgow- based. lnstead, Kay has made his
reputation by winning the Gilded Balloon’s much-coveted So You Think You’re Funny award of 1989 (also won by fellow Scots Bruce Morton and. later, Rhona Cameron), being shortlisted for the 1993 Perrier Award and winning a British Comedy Award for Best Live Comedian the year after.
Now, at 28 years old. Kay has been handed his own television show on Channel 4, Phil Kay Feels . . . From week to week, Phil might
8 THELIST l8 Apr—l May 199/
Phil Kay is loved in Scotland for his impulsive brand of stand-up, sit-down, shake-it-all-about comedy. But as he launches into the world of television, will armchair audiences tolerate him? Words: Danny Wallace
feel (and I quote) Sporty, Wet, Natural, Technical, Entertaining, and, best of all, Lovely.
It is a freeforrn, freefall, partly structured showcase of Kay’s instinctive make-it-up- as-he-goes-along talents, relying heavily on audience interaction. So how did it all happen?
‘I can’t work it out,’ he says. ‘All I know is someone at Channel 4 had been into what I do for about three years, and we’d always talked about doing something, but it wasn’t until
‘I was crawling around this desert island on the show, and this bloke shouted out, "Nice ass!" So then I started to pull my arse apart in my jeans and said, "Now is it nice?" ' Phil Kay
about three months ago that I got money and definite stuff to show me it was happening. y’know? It’s been really quick.
‘lt’s funny, though, ’cos in order to pay you. they want you to write one full script and then five drafts, and l was just sending any old bollocks in . . . and I’m notjoking, ’cos I didn’t care what I was writing down at the time. I couldn’t get into it unless I knew it was definitely happening. They were saying, “We need some scripts” and l was saying, “Well. I’ll be talking about my bumblebee. . . are you into it or not?” I was a bit naughty.’