Less than two weeks from his 90th birthday, the recently knighted comic told a star-studded crowd at the British Music Hall Society ceremony he had the “best job in the world” and paid tribute to his longterm partner Anne.
“I can’t think of any better way of spending your life than sweating in front of a hot audience,” Sir Ken told the guests at the Lansdowne Club in central London.
Among those in attendance were former BBC controller Lord Grade, Keeping Up Appearances star Patricia Routledge, comedian Barry Cryer, and actress Alison Steadman.
“It has been a wonderful life, so far,” Sir Ken said, adding: “They say, when are you going to retire? And the answer is never.”
In a lengthy speech filled with quips, showbusiness stories and rambling jokes, the entertainer praised his industry as being full of “marvellous and wonderful people”.
“Being in showbusiness, it’s my life,” he said.
He also paused to offer some advice to aspiring entertainers, saying: “You play an audience like you play an instrument, you know where the hot spots are, you know when they need the coaxing.
“The correct way to do a turn, you don’t do it at an audience, you do it with an audience.”
He said “you have to have a lot of love from all sorts of people, and you have to have a strong arm”, adding “you have to have a tower of strength and mine is sitting beside me”, referring to his wife.
On his plans for the future, Sir Ken quipped he would be starring in “Brexit the musical” next year.
The musician, comedian, actor and all-round entertainer will celebrate his 90th birthday on November 8 and continues to tour with a career which has now spanned more than seven decades.