Sean Lock was one of the UK’s most highly acclaimed and original comedians; His stand-up was the product of a hyperactive imagination combining hilariously surreal imagery and insightful observations on the human condition. He was probably best best known for his role as team captain on Jimmy Carr’s panel show ‘8 Out Of 10 Cats’ (2005–2015) and ‘Cats Does Countdown’ (2012–2021). Carr commenting ‘I loved him. I’m watching clips of him right now – laughing & crying. I’ll miss him so much.’
Sean Lock: Comedian
Sean was a wonderful live comic, often referred to as a ‘comedians, comedian’ with cleverly constructed routines and witty lines. He was voted the 55th greatest stand-up comic on Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups in 2007 and again in the updated 2010 list as the 19th greatest stand-up comic. He regularly performed at London’s Comedy Store and appeared at all the major festivals around the world. Including Edinburgh, Melbourne, Montreal and the Stavanger Humorfestivat in Norway.
Lock’s early television work included a supporting role alongside Rob Newman and David Baddiel in the 1993 series ‘Newman and Baddiel in Pieces’ including touring with them as their support act. Lock credited Frank Skinner and Eddie Izzard as major influences on his comedy.
Before becoming a comedian, he was a labourer on building sites, where he developed skin cancer, from being over exposed to the sun. He also worked a series of odd jobs, including three months as a goatherd for a hippie in the mountains of central France.
Fellow comedians recalled Some of Sean’s routines. Dara O Briain was compering for him in 98: his closer to his performance Dara remembered ‘was an argument with his wife where he’d scream “You don’t know me” and he’d rip off his suit and he was wearing a full ‘Riddler’ costume underneath. But, he’d let the energy trickle away totally, and go ‘Thought that would go better”. Joyous.
Ian Stone said ‘Sean used to do a bit about how if you twisted the popes head and then pushed it down, he was full of sweets. The delight on his face when he said it. Never laughed so hard in my life. Was doing The Comedy Store one weekend and I watched him do all five shows just to see that bit.’
Live Comedy Shows
Sean performed in some of the most successful live shows of recent years. Beginning in 1995 when he collaborated with Bill Bailey on Rock; the much misunderstood music industry spoof later to be serialised on Radio One. Bailey stating ‘It’s heartbreaking to lose my dearest friend Sean Lock , he was a true original, a wonderful comic.’
Year 2000 was perhaps Sean’s most successful year; when his show ‘No Flatley, I Am The Lord Of The Dance’ was nominated for the prestigious Perrier Award. That year he also received a British Comedy Award for Best Stand Up; previous winners include Jack Dee, Eddie Izzard and Jo Brand. Sean also won a Time Out Comedy Award. Scottish comedian Kevin Bridges said of Lock ‘A brilliant comedian, obviously, but just a genuinely hilarious guy too and one of the soundest guys in comedy, from when I first started to when we last had a laugh together.’
Sean’s extensive television credits include appearances on ‘8 out of 10 cats, ‘They Think It’s All Over’ (BBC), ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks’ (BBC), ‘The World Of Lee Evans’ (Channel 4) ‘Here’s Johnny’ (BBC) and ‘The Stand Up Show’ (BBC). Stephen Fry said ‘I think it safe to say that the best episodes of ‘QI’ that I was involved with were always the ones where Sean Lock was a guest. Such complete brilliance in every comic direction.’
Sean Lock: Comedy Writer
As a writer Sean co-created Mark Lamarr’s Leaving The 20th Century (BBC); He also wrote the screenplay for Andrew Kötting’s 2001 feature film This Filthy Earth, based on the novel La Terre by Émile Zola and has contributed to such shows as ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks’ (BBC), ‘It’s Only TV But I like It’ (BBC) and ‘Is It Bill Bailey’ (Channel 4). Josh Widdicombe paid tribute to Sean’s talent saying ‘He was an astonishing comedian who had a way of looking at the world like no one else, you were excited to hear what he had to say every time he opened his mouth.’
‘Some people say the glass is half empty or half full .. but to me it’s irrelevant because I’m having another drink’ – Sean Lock (1963-2021) RIP
Thoughts to his wife and three children
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.