Ref NoBSUCA/JP/1/2/20
CollectionJohn Pidgeon Collection
TitleSean Hughes interviewed for 'Talking Comedy'
Name of creatorPidgeon, John, 1947-2016
Duration1 hr. 14 min. 8 sec.
Extent1 sound cassette (DAT 125)
1 audio file Broadcast WAVE Format
DescriptionSean Hughes interviewed by John Pidgeon at The Facility, Melbourne, for 'Talking Comedy', a BBC Radio 2 programme in which comedians talk about the people that make them laugh. Tape marked as 'Sean Hughes Vox'. This is the unedited interview, not the programme as broadcast.

Summary: [01:00] Interview begins, John Pidgeon [J.P.] asks Sean Hughes [S.H.] what first made him laugh, [01:24] S.H. hated Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em as a kid.
[02:02] J.P asks if making people laugh was something S.H. did as a kid. [02:49] J.P tells S.H. that Frank Skinner said he had a comedy career by being funny at school ten years before going on stage. [03:37] J.P asks S.H. when he first realised he could make a living from comedy. He did an audition during work experience at RTÉ.
[04:57] J.P. asks S.H. whether the comedy he watched as a kid was on radio or TV [05:24] Bob Monkhouse brought over American comics like Emo Philips and Steven Wright, [05:39] as S.H. got older he got into Richard Pryor.
[07:38] Bob Newhart [08:09] Bob Newhart on David Letterman [08:40] J.P. asks about Lenny Bruce [09:26] S.H. talks about the Dustin Hoffman film, and why Lenny Bruce is so important.
[10:07] Using the word comic to describe Lenny Bruce is almost demeaning, he wasn’t like Hale & Pace, [10:27] Bill Hicks was Lenny Bruce for the 1990s. [11:10] J.P. asks why Bill Hicks was better than other comics of his generation. [12:56] J.P. talks about Denis Leary, who puts on a Bill Hicks-style act [13:35] Andrew Dice-Clay also put on an act and wasn’t himself on stage. [15:16] Vic [Reeves] & Bob [Mortimer]
[15:44] J.P. asks if there’s anyone he used to find funny [16:44] J.P. asks how he’d compare stand-up with Sean’s Show [17:22] Robert Smith and The Cure were guests, as well as the Crystal Palace football club, Vinnie Jones, The Bay City Rollers. [19:00] J.P. talks about being a fan of Garry Shandling, doing a show on Capital Radio with Angus Deayton and DJ Paul Burnett.
[19:55] S.H. talks about people accusing Sean’s Show of ripping off the Garry Shandling show [20:00] Sean’s Show was based on a stage show which won the Perrier award called One Night Stand [20:29] S.H. says The Larry Sanders Show is the best show on TV. [20:57] J.P. talks about Garry Shandling at the Grammys.
[21:25] J.P. asks S.H. about Fawlty Towers, John Cleese & Connie Booth wrote a simple format yet to be topped, [22:20] S.H. says the Young Ones doesn’t stand the test of time in the same way. [23:00] J.P. talks about how the Fawlty Towers script was fatter than most from the Terry & June days of sitcoms.
[24:23] Blackadder, J.P. says first series wasn’t good, second series was better because of Ben Elton. [24:38] S.H. says the last series was the best. [25:08] S.H. talks about the acting from Hugh Laurie, Tony Robinson and the understated Rowan Atkinson [25:18] S.H. says Mr Bean is tosh.
[25:52] J.P asks who was around when S.H. came onto the London scene. [26:05] Arnold Brown, Michael Redmond [26:36] S.H., Rob Newman, David Baddiel, Frank Skinner and Jack Dee were all young comedians at The Comedy Store. [27:25] J.P. asks if the Perrier award made a difference. [28:00] Channel 4 approached him with the idea to make into a sitcom.
[28:18] Discussion about Arnold Brown at the original Comedy Store. [30:39] J.P. asks about Irish Dublin influences, [31:00] S.H. has never read James Joyce or Samuel Beckett, [31:45] S.H. talks about influences other than comedic, musicians, writers, magic realism, Milan Kundera, Mario Vargas Llosa. [32:10] J.P. talks about The Commitments, is that Dublin humour or is it Roddy Doyle, Dick Clement, Ian la Frenais? [32:44] Alan Parker gave S.H. a part in the film. [33:53] S.H. says there isn’t really Dublin humour, in the same way there isn’t London humour, but says there is Jewish humour.
[34:35] J.P. asks about note taking for material, mentions Ben Elton. [35:41] J.P. asks about Billy Connolly, S.H. compares him with Richard Pryor. [36:58] J.P asks about the importance of constantly doing stand-up [37:43] Anecdote from being backstage at Project Art Centre Dublin. [38:20] J.P. asks S.H. if he ever goes to see stand-up comedy himself.
[39:05] J.P. talks about Woody Allen, [39:41] S.H. mentions that Woody Allen started writing for Sid Cesar. [40:37] J.P brings up the recurring American tradition of stand-ups going into film, gives Steve Martin as an example. [42:28] S.H. says Steve Martin makes people happy in a way that Ben Elton and himself don’t.
[43:10] J.P asks about music references in comedy, and how S.H. makes references to The Smiths in his stand-up [44:20] J.P. asks about comedians who use music, S.H. says he’s never laughed at a funny song. [44:45] J.P. mentions John Hegley as one of S.H.’s choices. [45:47] Discussion about Alexei Sayle
[46:46] J.P. asks about that world of comedy festivals, Melbourne and Montreal [48:02] J.P. asks whether certain jokes don’t travel. [50:07] Norman Gunston, [50:18] Ian McLagan Small Faces and The Stones, Norman Gunston interviewed Mick Jagger at the gig. [51:09] Norman Gunston press conference with Warren Beatty. [51:54] S.H. compares it to Alan Partridge Steve Coogan but with real celebrities. [53:40] S.H. talks about the Fast Show, Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson.
[54:34] J.P. asks if S.H. finds it hard to let go of old material. [55:29] J.P. asks about hecklers. [56:30] Morecambe and Wise, Eric Morecambe and Tommy Cooper were the clowns of the day, but doesn’t want to taint the memories of watching them by watching them now [57:40] S.H. feels the same way about Richard Pryor Live at the Sunset. [58:08] J.P. feels the same way about Steve Martin Wild and Crazy Guy [58:50] S.H. listened to Bill Hicks tapes on tour. [59:45] J.P. asks if S.H. has ever laughed at something in spite of himself. [01:00:00] Bill Hicks and Richard Pryor has said things S.H. disagrees with but he has laughed at [01:00:38] Bernard Manning [01:01:22] S.H. discusses New Lad-ism bandwagon and the c-word, Jerry Sadowitz.
[01:02:41] J.P. wraps up the interview and asks S.H. to do the jingles “You’re listening to Laughing Matters...”; general chatter. [01:05:11] recording ends.
NotesLPCM wave 16 bit 44.1kHz. Digital Audio Tape (DAT) captured using a Mac running MacOS; SPDIF connection via RME PCI card. Digitisation engineer Adrian Finn, Greatbear analogue & digital media ltd. Digital file topped and tailed.
CategoryAudio recordings
Access conditionsThis recording is available for consultation at the University of Kent's Special Collections & Archives reading room, Templeman Library, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NU for study/research purposes only. Access to audio-visual recordings is through digital listening copies. The University of Kent acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors in this recording and the rights of those not identified.
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