Sean Lock: "The adventurous, experimental face of comedy has changed"

Sean Lock talks to The Skinny ahead of his first live DVD release on 17 Nov

Feature by Ciaran Woods | 10 Nov 2008
  • Sean Lock

So Sean, you've just finished recording your first live DVD. How do you think it went?
I'd say it was very good. I don't know. I'm probably the least effective public relations man on earth - I'm the anti-Russell Brand. I'm fucking shit at publicizing myself, so I'll just say it was very good.

What makes you bad at publicising yourself?
I think that deep down I know in my heart that fame is all bollocks. I can't quite bring myself to be shameless about it. No-one likes a show off. Don't get me wrong - I still do it, because I'm also a whore.

19 years is a long time in one industry. In what ways has comedy changed from when you started out?
The adventurous, the experimental face of comedy has changed, it's become much more mainstream. There's much less interesting stuff going on. It's a very successful period for comedy, but quite a dull one as well. That said, I like working in the brutal clarity of the commercial world - at least you know what you've got to do, in one way - you always know where you stand.

What made the old days better?
There were a million ways of making people laugh. It was exciting, barmy, foolish. It had a great charm to it. Now it's all very professional. It's about how successful you are, how big a venue you can fill. People don't mess around as much. I mean, I didn't realise I had a career until I hit 30 and realised that this was the only thing I could do.

What's it like to be a Dad?
It's great, fantastic and very hard work. There's a good line in a Jonathan Franzen novel, The Corrections, where one of the characters said he wondered what was like to be "needed rather than needy". That's a very good description of the shift in your priorities. Good book.

What's the most cringeworthy thing you've ever seen on stage?
I have a story. I've seen a comedian propose to his girlfriend on stage. He was drunk, and he ran out of material with ten minutes to go. So he said "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome my girlfriend up on stage." And he proposed to her, just to fill the time up. And she said no.

Who was it?
I won't name him.

What are your feelings on the current financial crisis?

It was one of those inevitable things. They were lending to people who didn't have money. Subprime just means poor. Who else are they going to lend money to? After the poor, the only other people who you can lend money to are the dead. It happened due to the continual obsession in the western economies with growth. We have to grow every year and the reason is that if we don't, traders panic. A country could continue with zero growth, or even negative growth if its wellbeing wasn't based on speculation. And as usual the guilty people will get away with it, and the wrong people will suffer. What can you say? It's a mess. It's a fucking mess.

Have you got any plans for the future?
No idea. I could be dressed as an orange with the face cut out, going "would you like to taste this fizzy drink" in a shopping centre near you. Or I could be in a hit TV show. Showbusiness is more precarious than any stock market or housing bubble.

Sean Lock Live is available in shops on November 17th