PETER Kay joked he plans on going away for another four years – after a standing ovation at his comeback gig.
The comedian said returning to the stage is like "getting in a hot bath" as cheers rang out at a charity performance.
Bolton-born Kay appeared to rapturous applause at Manchester's O2 Apollo for the first of two live Q&A's on Saturday.
And he told the crowd: "I've never in my life had a standing ovation when I came on" – before joking: "I'm going to go away for four more years."
The comic returned to the stage for the Doing It For Laura events, held to raise money for 20-year-old brain cancer sufferer Laura Nuttall.
Laura – who suffers with an aggressive tumour called a glioblastoma multiforme – was in the audience to watch Kay's performance.
She was initially given between 12 and 18 months to live when she was diagnosed at the age of just 18.
However, she has since received immunotherapy treatment in Germany thanks to fundraising.
Her sister Gracie introduced Kay – and told the audience the family are "eternally grateful" to all those who have helped out for "potentially saving my sister's life".
Beginning the matinee, Kay admitted to some nerves.
"I was a bit nervous in the morning when I got here," he said.
"I was looking at all this and thinking, 'Oh my God', but it's really nice to be doing this.
"It's like getting in a hot bath."
Hundreds of fans queued in the rain ahead of the comedian's first gig in years.
'IT'S REALLY NICE – LIKE A HOT BATH'
Those who attended were asked to provide proof that they've been double-jabbed or had a negative Covid test.
During his performance, Kay answered questions from audience members which had been submitted before the show.
Asked if TV series Max And Paddy would return, he said: "I loved making Max And Paddy, it was one of the best times we ever had filming and we had such a good laugh.
"We actually wrote two Christmas specials and then we never made them, so you never know."
And he said he's "too embarrassed" to buy garlic bread at the supermarket – after the snack became the punchline to one of his best-loved jokes.
Kay has been largely out of the spotlight since a surprise appearance at a charity screening of his series Car Share in 2018.
However, he made a brief return in January 2021 when he appeared on BBC Radio 2 to chat to Cat Deeley about his love of music, mix tapes and the musical Mamma Mia.
He cancelled his last tour in December 2017, citing "unforeseen family circumstances".
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