Happy new year everyone.
2013 was something of a remarkable year for me – albeit mostly on account of my progeny. 2013 was a normal year for me but for the fact that my eldest son had three films released and completed filming another one which will be on your screens in 2015.
So a remarkable 12 months by any standards for any family then?
But despite this – I will remember 2013 for the passing of two comedy giants. I am not disposed to clichÃ©s and hyperbole. Anyone who has read this blog or my books will know this. Too easily, the moniker of genius, giant and hero are given to those who pass away.
But in 2013 comedy did lose two giants in Felix Dexter and Addison Cresswell. Giants in comedy even though neither of them were household names. I have written my tribute to Felix already – but to say here again, that he was a man much loved by audiences and fellow comedians. And that in our increasingly mawkish world where grief and suffering is be worn openly and for all to share in – Felix kept his illness to himself, completing his utter class and shear dignity to the very last.
Equally, Addison Cresswell’s death came as a huge shock to me and to anyone who encountered him, which is effectively anyone involved in UK comedy. Addison was a man to whom any number of clichÃ©s apply perfectly – some kind, others less kind. Addison covered all bases and divided opinion as much as he united it.
Agents in all walks of life are two a penny. Estate agents, sales agents, travel agents, theatrical agents, football agents, recruitment agentsâ€¦.the list goes on but Addison was an agent like no other.
Addison was only agent who was as important as any of our most illustrious comedians.
He was loved, admired and loathed in equal measure, depending on who you talked to. In UK comedy, he was completely unavoidable.Â Anyone who has worked in comedy in the last twenty years and does not have an Addison anecdote or an Addison encounter has just not worked in comedy – not really.
At a photo-shoot one day – ahead of my one Edinburgh run that Off The Kerb promoted for me – Addison had explained that shelling out a grand on a photographer was a good idea. A grand for one photo and this 1999! Of course, Adds was already a multi-millionaire and a grand was peanuts and do you wanna be a star or what?
I was about to become a dad for the second and thirdÂ time – and had I realised what was ahead for the my little two year old at the time, I would have been less stressed about wasting money on a bloody poster. As ever, Addison prevailed and I found myself in a Hoxton warehouse with a bloke who had apparently just snapped Liam Gallagher.
During the session, Adds was constantly barking in to his mobile phone – as much for show as for anything else. Addison was an agent who loved to perform. At the time, one of the first stories connecting mobile phones to brain cancer had just aired and after the session, Addison had me in his trademark headlock and told me that ‘my phone is welded to my head so I’ve got no chance of seeing old age.’
And on this he was sadly correct.
ButÂ he leaves an extraordinary legacy.
His client list reads like a who’s who of some of our very stand-ups and the fact that so few acts ever left his fold – is testament to the man and what he was able to do.
Addison couldn’t make his clients famous as he was so fond of claiming. Messrs Dee, Evans and McIntyre and others, all made themselves famous thank you very much – and there are many Addison clients for whom the fame bus has never arrived – but Addison loved comedy, loved his comics and made himself the agent/producer who all comedians wanted on their side.
He eschewed his well-to-do middle class roots to become an estuary geezer – Addison was Guy Richie before any of us had one had ever heard of Guy Richie. His loved his boys and his boys loved him and rightly so.
He was unique. I had little dealings with him of late – which is not a good sign – but I remember him so incredibly fondly. I admired him greatly and like all comics, I will miss him.
Felix Dexter and Addison Cresswell.