World Record Stand-Up Comic Doesn't Wing It So Why Should You?


Comedian Peter Kay 2012. The Tour That Doesn’t Tour, Tour became the world’s most successful. Ever.

Its fly-on-the-wall is superb; live & back on nights.

Remarkably it contains one killer Sales insight.


Seven years after his previous tour, he knew warm-up shows were essential.

After the first (in a tiny Bury theatre which left the 200 attendees in stitches) he revealed planning many more such run-outs.

Over the next couple of months, he actually managed 28. To a combined audience only a third of just one night’s arena crowd.

He sums up ‘why’ to camera;

I’ve got 18 warm-ups but think I’m going to start putting on a few more.

So maybe in total I may do about 30.

It seems like a lot before you start but you really do want to be on top of your material.

You want to know it inside out, back to front, not have to worry about it.

That means you can play with it more and you can have fun and you can really enjoy it.

Poring over a typed list of his act’s individual elements, he continues;

But it’s hard because there are bits that are, like, eight out of ten.

There are bits that are five out of ten.

And you’ve just got to keep working on them.

Until you hope they are seven, eight, nine out of ten.

Then talks on his process;

I think you’ve got to go on and just charge through it.

And then come out, off, after and go,

‘actually, that needs to go there, and that can go there, and that needs changing’.

It just takes time.

With more;

Sometimes I go off the point so much.

And that’s why I record it every night.

Play it back the next day.

And sift through it and remember the ad libs or the bits where it’s just grown slightly.

And some of it works, and some it it needs work.

But that’s the whole point of doing the warm-ups.

To hone the material in order to do the big shows

Rehearsal and re-appraisal are fundamental in his world-beating success. Yet hardly any salespeople I meet bother to practice even once. As Peter himself says when commenting on what it’s like if no-one [buys] laughs;

It could be the hardest job in the world but trust me.

I know because I used to pack toilet rolls for a living.

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