Peter Kay has left fans divided over his response to an audience member who brought one of his live shows to a halt.
The comedian recently hit the road for his first live tour in over 12 years, announcing a string of dates across the UK all the way into 2025 including three sell-out shows at Newcastle's Utilita Arena this year - with the first set to take place at the end of the month on January 30. But the Car Share star had to deal with an interruption to his latest live show at Liverpool's M&S Bank Arena at the weekend.
A member of the audience was allegedly kicked out of the arena for heckling, as Peter, 49, made jokes about the incident on stage. In videos taken by fellow audience members seen by the Liverpool Echo, the comedian branded the heckler an "a******e" as they were removed from their ground floor seat in front of the stage.
READ MORE: The Masked Singer's Fawn 'uncovered' as girl band star as one word in riddle 'confirms' identity
"Oh, it's all kicking off here. Where's my phone?" Peter joked amid the commotion. "He's a bit of an a******e, he's a bit annoying.
"I like a laugh, I'm a comedian, but I can tell all them people round there are getting a bit nowty now," he added. "He likes the limelight - I know I do, but I'm on stage."
Several fans who attended the gig applauded the star on social media afterwards for his handling of the situation. One person wrote on Twitter: "Absolutely top entertainment at the M&S Bank Arena last night. Expert way of dealing with a k***head heckler as well, think 13,000 people were glad to see him escorted out."
Another added: "Saw you tonight [at the] @MandSBankArena & I can honestly say, I laughed, cried & felt every emotion possible. You are so talented & so glad you got rid of the heckler. Please continue being you."
However, some thought that having the heckler kicked out of the audience was a step too far. "First half [was] funny tonight until you decided to throw that feller out for asking for an autograph," one disgruntled fan said. "Doesn't look good mate I thought you was one of us."
But others were quick to hit back and come to Peter's defence over the issue. Another audience member pointed out: "Think there was more to it than that, everyone around him seemed p****d off."
Kay has already racked up a string of five-star reviews for his long-awaited return to the stage, which began with wowing fans in Manchester last month. The comedian was moved to tears by the rapturous reception he received from the audience at his first live gig in more than a decade, which was hailed as a "hilarious" show.
Lulu in Masked Singer voting row as viewers fume over Piece of Cake exit
Strictly's Helen Skelton makes Gorka Marquez gesture on Instagram before 'partner swap' on tour
ITV's Tom Bradby sparks 'unexpected' reaction from Prince Harry critics as interview airs
Denise Welch jokes she was 'cougar' who took Prince Harry's virginity in wild Loose Women segment