Over the years, I have written a few times on the passing of friends from the comedy world. A marking of my own time I guess, even though, sadly they have all been premature deaths.
Yesterday, I was at the funeral of Sean Hughes. A much loved and admired comedian.
Much has been written already about Sean and by people who knew him far better than me – so just a few observations of my own.
Firstly, I was aghast to learn that Sean was only a year older than me. I always had him pegged as having at least 5 years on me and I expect because he had achieved so much and so early on in his too short life. He became famous at 24 – the first rock n roll comedian and such acclaim so young must have been very hard to cope with - and so it proved.
Sean did what all comics hope to achieve when they set out besides making people laugh. Sean has without question left his mark. His influence on comedy and the circuit that heralded him is undoubtable. And good for him.
Fittingly, the crematorium was not big enough for the masses that arrived to say goodbye and pay their respects. Standing outside and straining to hear the various eulogies – his brother gave an excellent speech – I was suddenly listening to a speaker whose voice I recognised but I couldn’t quite place. Vertically challenged, I couldn’t see above the heads either as I continued to strain and listen and suddenly, on tip toes, I got a glimpse of the man and I smiled.
Trevor Fox. A Geordie actor and good friend of Sean’s.
Trevor has been a mainstay of the cast of Billy Eliot when Tom had played Billy all those years ago. He is mentioned very fondly in Eclipsed because he was so good in his role. At the funeral too was Joe Caffrey, another great actor who played Tom’s dad towards the end of his run. It was great to see them both and we all shared a brief recollection of Sean and then also a nod to the little man who is still in tights but in Hollywood these days and not Easington.
So a sad day then but a happy one also.
Sad to say goodbye to Sean – a man I was fond of and much admired, sad as well to mark my own passing of time but happy as well to see so many comics from my yesteryear to share some memories with and the odd laugh or two as well of course.
Sean would have expected nothing else.
Sean Hughes. RIP