A CLEVER BOY THEN? !
Last year’s Perrier Award winner SEAN HUGHES has come a long way from his beginnings as a scruffy stand-up. As he returns to Scotland with his acclaimed One Night Stand show, Tom Lappin hears about his ventures into TV and film.
our years or so ago, Sean Hughes come into this world alone, and go out with came on stage at one ofthose dingy seven or eight other people.” Lines like that dives that masquerade as venues for aren’t delivered like “here’s a funny joke” the Edinburgh Fringe, and turned to but in the context are perfect.’ Hughes is
face a chilly audience who had proud of the fact that his show has managed
already been bored and irritated by to escape some of the restrictions imposed the supposedly comic antics of Bert on comedy, and say rather more. ‘ol get . Tyler-Moore (who he?) and Simon bored with things so I try to move it on a bit,’ Someone Or Other. Half an hour later, he says. ‘I hope I’ve come on from the days Hughes, with a wealth ofoffbeat one-liners of “and this is a joke about oranges. ” It gets and side-splitting personal anecdotes, had very dull if you say something that’s really turned every member of that audience into meaningless just because you can get big
his best buddy, and invited them all along to l laughs from it.‘ the pub to have a pint with him. Quite a few Twenty-five-year-old Hughes started went. Sean Hughes, with his tousled locks doing comedy in his teens (‘because I and after-midnight appearance. was i could’), and honed his stand-up routine on obviously a stand-up comic with a future. as i the demanding London cabaret scene. Now, well as a penchant for Guinness. though, you definitely get the impression Last year it was a very different Sean that he wants to be taken more seriously, to Hughes who returned to Edinburgh with i be recognised as more than just a comic. He One Night Stand. A loosely-scripted tale of aehieved a reasonable mastery ofthe Hughes alone in his flat, trying to come to deadpan one-liner at an early age, and is terms with failed romance, family, Samuel seeking greater Challenges. Some ofthe Beckett and one hell of a hangover, One personal material he writes can be decidedly Night Stand was by turns revealing, poignant. and it is a sign of his confidence unsettling and touching. Most of the time it that it is not always softened with a joke.
was also very funny indeed. Certainly funny Whereas Hughes would formerly say enough for the Perrier Award panel to judge something along the lines of. ‘I went home to it best of the Fringe, and for excited critics to Dublin, and my whole family was there acclaim a bright new talent, waiting for me on the doorstep, crying their Not that Hughes exactly fitted the bill as eyes out — but eventually they gave in and let happy-go-lucky comic. What set his show me stay‘, now he is quite prepared to let apart was its avoidance of the single line unsettling memories linger without being throwaway gag for the sake of a coherent ‘ exorcised with a wisecrack. whole. Several other comics were A large part of One Night Stand is attempting to get away from the shallowness concerned with his relationship with his of the one person/one microphone format, father, who appears to be a bit of an ogre in but Hughes. a better stand-up than most, it the show. ‘A lot of people have come up and . asked about my dad,‘ says Hughes. ‘The way y A If I was taking lseeit is not that I‘m making him out to be a 5 the piss out 0' "leave ho'rLithe, brutal man. Helm me as a kid, a, . how | , yea . utthat SCOnSldCI‘C‘d normal.l . mm the stage 8 , ’ suppose. ifanything. that s the sickening suppPsel m lak'ng thing, that hitting your kids is considered the ["33 0'“ normal. Actually, my dad did come to see 0' sit-cams Willi . the show and he thought it was great, but he ,/ the TV show.” ' just saw the audience laughing and thought . it was funny, so that was OK.’ should be said, had gone the furthest, and The Show is being adapted into a sitcom the result was a show that was distinctly format for Channel 4 with the working title I more substantial than most ofthe Fringe Shouldn't Be Telling You This But. . . for comedy froth. Hell, some ofthese lines broadcast in late 1991 or early 1992. weren‘t even funny. Typically though, Hughes is keen that it "Fhere‘s a bit in the show when I go to visit doesn’t fit too comfortably into the sitcom my dad when he‘s dying,‘ says Hughes, ‘and format. ‘I hate sitcoms.‘ he stresses. ‘1 think I haven‘t got any grapes so I give him loads they’re appalling. It‘s a horrible Word as
ofvcgetables instead. I tell my Mum: “You well. They‘re made for people who are
12'rhc l.is18— 21 March 1991