Taking Time Out

Hay quits as Time Out comedy editor

Malcolm Hay is quitting as comedy editor of Time Out magazine after more than 20 years in the job.

He has overseen a huge expansion of the comedy section since joining the London listings guide in 1986, reflecting a boom in the capital’s stand-up scene.

Hay says he won’t be abandoning comedy altogether, and even plans to write some of his own with his wife, Toni Arthur-Hay – the former Playschool presenter turned comedy director.

Hay, who will stay in the job until a replacement is found, said: ‘I’ll be hoping to write a few things about comedy, every now and then. I don’t think I’ll be able to keep away entirely.

‘The main aim is, together with my wife, to find the time to write some comedy of our own. And some non-comedy too.

‘It’ll probably be conclusive proof that I never understood much about comedy in the first place.’

Hay took over as comedy editor of Time Out in September 1986 from his predecessor Pete Nichol. Before that he had been writing on theatre for newspapers, and had been a lecturer in theatre and film studies.

Promoters and comics have been quick to praise Hay’s contribution to the London scene during his time at the magazine.

Ivor Dembina said: ‘There's not one comedian, promoter, agent and comedy journalist in London who doesn't owes something to Malcolm.

‘Without, the care and diligence and sheer enthusiasm he's injected into his weekly column in Time Out it’s inconceivable that we'd now have a capital city with the most open, varied and thriving comedy scene in the world.’

A benefit gig to mark Hay’s 20-year tenure is being organised at the Hackney Empire on Tuesday July 17 – although the line-up has not yet been announced.

Dembina, one of the organisers of the Comedy HayDay event, added: ‘It will sample the kind of acts who have benefited from Malcolm's coverage. There'll be no guest list, no party afterwards and no other bollocks, just seven or eight acts providing a tightly run night of top value entertainment in the best traditions of the London circuit.’

Click here to read Malcolm Hay’s reflections on 20 years in comedy.

Published: 29 May 2007

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