Since Sean managed to do what all comics dream of – to leave the circuit behind them – I did not know Sean as well as many comedians, never appearing on any TV shows with him. But I do go back to his very early career and I would like to share a fond memory of him which I hope people will enjoy and relate to.
1994 at the start of the Edinburgh Festival. The previous year had been my big year and I was something of a name in the Scottish capital about to begin my show at the Pleasance. So too was Bill Bailey and Sean Lock in their show called Rock. I admired them both very much – both well ahead of me in any comedy race and having worked at The Comedy Store with them I was excited to see their collaboration.
But it seemed that I was alone. By which I mean I was the only person at their first show and I hadn’t paid. They could have cancelled the show of course and I would have understood. It’s what I would have done. But not these two. They saw the humour in their apparent lack of popularity and since Dom Holland had made the effort, maybe they could run it for me and get my feedback.
To see Sean and Bill do such a thing was thrilling and also humbling. In my head, they were both already big stars and I felt a sense of grievance that no one else thought to come along.
Of course, what lay ahead for them both was glaringly apparent, with Sean and Bill outgrowing the comedy circuit and filling the country’s biggest rooms on their own. And good for them.
My encounters with Sean during his famous days were confined to appearances on charity bills together where I was always excited to see what he had for the audience. I think the best comedians are often the bravest. The comics who don’t compromise their intentions and dare not to ingratiate themselves to an audience. Such comedians can miss on seldom occasions but it means that when they hit, their gigs are special.
Sean was one of these rare comics.
Of all the weekends that I have done at The Comedy Store – Sean is the only comedian I have ever worked with where a bunch of people saw him on the Friday night and came to see him again on the Saturday.
Right there, that’s a plaudit and is testament to Sean’s funny and how much he will be missed by comedians and audiences alike.