Kenny Everett delighted young and old during the 1980s with his zany brand of humour, with characters such as Sid Snot and Marcel Wave, and with a brand of naughtiness that is best exemplified by the image of a manic schoolboy.
Kenny was born Maurice Cole on Christmas Day 1944. The son of a tug boatman, he lived in a working class area of Liverpool, England. He was educated at St Bede's Secondary Modern and Peter Claver College. His small frame demanded that he use humour to escape school bullies. Though naturally shy, he found relief at home by impersonating the Goons. Later, he bought two tape decks, so that he could to make up his own mock programmes, interspersing music amongst his ad-libs.
After leaving school, he attended a missionary college for a year after which he worked in a sausage roll factory, an advertising agency, and the advertising department at the Journal of Commerce.
By 1964, he had become serious about a career in radio, taking advantage of pirate radio stations operating outside of British waters; so he changed his name and signed up for Radio Luxembourg, shortly afterwards moving on to the pirate ship‚ Radio London. Eventually in 1967, the British Government cracked down on such outlaw broadcasters. Luckily for Kenny this stint had created an opportunity for him at BBC's new Radio One.
In 1968, Kenny had his first taste of television appearing on Nice Time for Granada Television. He made a remark in 1970 about the Minister for Public Transport's wife, Mary Peyton, that landed him in some hot water. After finding out she had taken a driving test, he quipped, 'She only passed because she slipped him a fiver - I know these people'. Only after some diplomacy to appease the BBC hierarchy, was he given another chance.
In 1973, he went to work for the independent station Radio London. By 1980, ITV were willing to give the presenter a chance at the television equivalent of his radio antics, and the Kenny Everett Explosion was unleashed upon the mainly unsuspecting public. A motley crew of characters like Sid Snot, Captain Kremmen, Marcel Wave, Gizzard Puke, and the adorable Ms Cupid Stunt were the basis for the show. Probably just as famous as his comic creations were Hot Gossip, the scantily-clad dancers, who provided some risqué interludes.
Over the years, he maintained his initial success in slightly different formats with names such as Making Whoopee, Ev, and The Kenny Everett Video Show. Then he moved to the BBC for The Kenny Everett Television Show. At one stage, he even tried his hand at a religious quiz show.
Always a subversive at heart, his career would at times be threatened by his antics; such as the time he offered Ferrari cars as prizes on his show, only later to confide that they were Dinky model cars. In 1983, just before an election, he famously attended a Young Conservatives Rally, where Margaret Thatcher was in attendance. Once he took the platform, he yelled 'Let's bomb Russia'. Needless to say, he wasn't invited back again. In 1984, he was in further trouble with the BBC radio hierarchy for a tirade about Margaret Thatcher, which led him to change radio stations to Capital Gold.
As the 1980s were coming to a close, gradually the comedian, who liked to call himself Cuddly Ken‚ was falling out of favour with the general public. Despite being married for 12 years to a spiritualist known as Crystal Clear, rumours about his sexual predisposition abounded. After so many years of attempting to hide his own homosexuality, he was exposed by tabloid journalists; so in 1985, he came out to the public at large. Unfortunately, he confided that because his homosexuality had led him twice to attempt suicide, he could not accept the 'gay' tag. He was roundly condemned by Gay Rights Organizations, the very people who could have given him some much needed support.
In 1989, Kenny vowed he would never dress up again as old favourites like Sid Snot and that he intended to concentrate on radio. In 1991, he appeared as Billiard Marker in a West End adaptation of The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll.
In 1993, it was announced that he was suffering from an Aids-related illness. He died in 1995.