Please forward this error screen to 198. He’s the new darling of the comedy world. A day later, he is kenny profile on gay tube off the stage after running on for his encore, skidding and dislocating his shoulder. It’s a great testament to Britain’s most exciting young stand-up comedian that the audience were still laughing loudly as he was carried off, feet first, by paramedics – wrongly believing that it is all part of his laugh-a-minute act.
But then, Michael, 32, has been living with laughter ever since he was a small boy. The son of TV scriptwriter Ray Cameron, he was just five when his father co-wrote the hit Kenny Everett Television Show, bringing us such characters as punk Sid Snot and underwear-flashing actress Cupid Stunt. Michael says, ‘Dad introduced my mum, Kati, to Kenny and they became best friends. They would come to pick me up from school and I remember all the other children asking if Kenny Everett was my dad. I told them he was – and that his TV sidekick, Cleo Roccos, was my real mum. They all believed me, so it took some explaining a few years later when it emerged that Kenny was gay.
Mum used to be a dancer, and she was only 19 when she met my father, who was in his late 30s – so she enjoyed going out on the town with Kenny while Dad stayed at home working. I remember picking up the newspaper once when I was seven, and seeing a picture of Mum draped around Kenny. The caption read “DJ Kenny Everett with his girlfriend, Melody Bubbles” – a name Kenny had just made up. I wanted the ground to swallow me up. Michael was seven and his sister, Lucy, five, when their parents’ tempestuous marriage ended in divorce. He says, ‘Our family home, a large house in Hampstead, was sold to Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne.
I remember being told that “someone who eats bats” was buying it. Both his parents remarried and went on to have other children with their new spouses. Ray moved to the US, and his children flew out to join him once a year. Michael says, ‘It’s hard to see your dad once in a blue moon.
We’d try to cram everything into that one week. Then, if he had to work, we would get bored and long to fly home. But as soon as we arrived back in London, we’d feel a huge wrench, like a physical ache. We would be in floods of tears, really missing our dad – the smell of him, and the head massages he liked to give us.
Michael bitterly regrets the fact that father and son never had the chance to laugh together. He says, ‘I’ve heard that my father was a really funny man in company, but I never got to see that side of him. I was just 17 when he died, and he didn’t know that I was funny. It was such an awful loss.
I was really excited about our future together, getting to know each other. He was living in America but we had the rest of our lives together, or so I thought. He came to London three weeks before Christmas and he seemed so frail. He had fallen on hard times and was living in a cheap rented house in Los Angeles, but he kept insisting how happy and healthy he was. We spent three whole days together, and I have analysed them and played them back in my mind over and over again. Why did I not see that he was so ill?