We are sorry to announce that Time Out’s hugely influential former comedy editor Malcolm Hay has passed away, aged 82. According to his stepson Tim Arthur – who took over the comedy editor role from him – he passed away peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family.
Best known as a successful theatre writer prior to working for Time Out, as comedy editor he was hugely respected by the young comics of the nascent alternative comedy scene, many of whom saw the slightly older Hay as a mentor as much as a journalist. In his 21 years at the helm of the Time Out comedy section, from 1986 to 2007, he was renowned for being supportive and caring: not just a fan of the comedy but a friend and supporter of the people performing it.
In the pre-internet age, when Time Out was at heart a listings magazine, Malcolm’s detailed pages were the backbone of the London comedy scene, being pretty much the only way you could find out what gigs were on in the capital in a given week.
One of Hay’s quirks was assigning comics the same short – usually single-adjective – listings description throughout their careers. A young comic genuinely felt they’d made it when Hay had given them the description that he’d unfailingly use in every future listing.
Everyone at Time Out passes their condolences to Malcolm’s wife Toni and his stepson Tim.