COMEDY’S COMING HOME
One of Brighton’s brightest stand-ups, Seann Walsh mines his own misery to turn that frown upside down. We spoke to him on the eve of his show at Brighton Comedy Festival.
James Kendall: You’ve done a Grouchy Young Men show for TV…
Seann Walsh: Yes, I’m generally quite unhappy. I don’t like other people’s happiness. You know when you’re having a drink in the pub and there are people laughing behind you, having a good time? That pisses me off.
JK: Other people’s laughter should be music to a comedian’s ears.
SW: Oh, I just like moaning. I’m happiest when I moan.
JK: So you’re performing a new set, it must be different putting that together than just being spontaneously funny with your mates.
SW: I can’t just sit at a table and write. It has to actually happen to me, then I’ll sit in the Lanes, have a coffee and note it down. I don’t write though, I just hate anything that feels like work – if I feel like I’ve got to do something I’ll just switch off.
JK: Shitty things happening to you must make you think ‘this would make some good material’.
SW: Only on reflection, not while it’s happening. It’s like when someone says, ‘Oh, we’ll laugh about that in a year’s time’ – it’s that, but maybe a few hours or a day or two.
JK: Comedy must be a mixture of solitary work and bouncing ideas off other people.
SW: Being on stage is the solitary experience. It’s one of the safest places in the word, while you’re on stage you don’t have to pay bills, or go and meet someone, no one’s going to text you saying, ‘Where are you?’ It’s escapism. I mean, it’s terrifying, but it’s still the safest place to be. The real world’s much more terrifying.
JK: So you get to a point where you can relax on stage.
SW: Only when it’s going well, yes, it’s very relaxed then. But when I’m dying on your arse, like one time in Edinburgh, I can have a panic attack. But Edinburgh went really well. I mean, I sold out every show and had extra shows booked, in some big rooms.
JK: People are talking about you as a rising star now. That must be a buzz.
SW: Yes, but it makes it hard, ‘cos you don’t want anyone to ever say, ‘You used to be funny’. That’s the problem with people saying you’re going to be big. What if it doesn’t happen? I’d be lying if I said that doesn’t play on my mind.
JK: You’ve done Mock The Week and Michael McIntyre…
SW: Yes, that was one of the best moments of my life – 2,000 people in the Bristol Hippodrome. A big room’s easier ‘cos it’s where you want to be. I’m more comfortable on a big stage. I’ve done Mock The Week twice, and since then at night, when people have had a few drinks, it’s “Oi! Famous man!” They don’t know your name, or where they’ve seen you though. It’s very funny, I only get stopped at night when people have had a few drinks.
JK: You must go into real life anti-heckle mode?
SW: No. I remember being at the Komedia when I was 17, saying well done to comedians, every one I saw. You can’t take it for granted, people doing that, I always really appreciate it.
JK: And now you’re back in Brighton again.
SW: I’ve already done the show in Edinburgh and I know it’ll be even better than when it started. The Brighton show will be the best one; it’s the one I most want to do. Hopefully it’ll sell out and people will enjoy it. I love Brighton and I’ll never leave. Travelling round the country you realise just what a special place it us.
LIVE: I’d Happily Punch Myself In The Face, Pavilion, Sat 23rd
CHORTLE SAYS: “Howlingly funny…destined to be a comedy star.”
WORDS BY JAMES KENDALL AND NICK COQUET