A life of laughter

PERTH comedy legend Max Kay, one of the funniest and most personable gentleman on the entertainment scene, died on Tuesday night (June 4).

His family released a statement saying he’d passed away after a recent battle with illness, with his beloved wife Norma by his side. He had been a long term resident of Menora.

A former Perth councillor and a seasoned entertainer, Mr Kay moved to Perth from Scotland with Norma in 1967 after some earlier visits.

He opened the Civic Theatre Restaurant in Inglewood and it ran from 1976-2001. He had a hand in creating every part of his music and comedy shows, writing the theme tune and singing it.

Over the decades he never lost his lilting Scottish brogue, and while he was happy to help out a young reporter with a snappy quote, trying to transcribe his “patter” was an intense undertaking.

• Max Kay used to host Rabbie Burns nights, reciting the Ode to Haggis on the Scottish poet’s birthday. File photo

Entertainer

But he told the Voice that whenever he went back to Scotland locals would tell him he had an Australian accent.

Courting a broad spectrum of political friends, he was close to premier Charles Court, but also a fan of Scottish philosopher Rabbie Burns, who he described as “a poet, a humanitarian, a womaniser, a great socialist”.

He used to don his kilt to celebrate Robert Burns Day with Perth’s Scottish community, leading the ritual recitation of the “Address to a Haggis”.

Mr Kay was an entertainer until the end: Just a year ago he was still performing his new show “One More Time,” and he was still presenting a regular radio show on Curtin FM, where his favourite segment was reading out jokes submitted by listeners.

He sat on umpteen boards and was patron of the Gilbert and Sullivan Society WA.

Seemingly eternal, he kept his age a secret.

He told seniors magazine Have a Go News last year that he preferred not to say the number due to ageism; a form of discrimination he fought through his comedy.

by DAVID BELL

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