Sean Hughes interview

TV personality is on tour with The Laughter Factory in Dubai and UAE


Who are your comedy idols?
Richard Pryor is probably the reason I do comedy. He just tells the truth, really – and we live in a society where people very seldom tell the truth.

What was it about comedy that resonated with you?
I saw Richard Pryor when I was about 14, and I thought it would be great to be able to do that. As a comic you don’t really get good enough to do that until you’ve been doing it for ten years. So I probably did it for all the wrong reasons initially, and then it became
my vocation.

How difficult was it when you were starting out?
You have to have fairly thick skin because when you start off, you’re rubbish. But I never did it to become famous or anything like that. The whole climate has changed now, but I just wanted to express myself. When you start you’re not very good, but if you persevere long enough you work it out.

What was your biggest challenge in the beginning?
Well, I lived in Ireland for a start and there were no comedy clubs to perform in, so that was a massive challenge.

You’ve done acting and comedy, do you prefer one over the other?
No, I’m a stand-up, and everything else is a bonus. I’ve just done three months in the Railway Children, which was brilliant. It’s great because you work with different people. Comedy can be a very solitary existence.

What’s your approach to writing new material?
It’s an organic thing for me. With the Dubai gig I’m doing 20 minutes, so in 20 minutes you’re cherry picking bits and bobs. But I don’t ever sit down with a pen and pad. Ideas occur to me and I just expand on them.

What kind of topics can we expect from your gigs here?
I have no idea! One thing I’ll definitely be doing is a three-minute musical about ageing. I try to keep it different.

Are you planning to get out and about in the city?
Yeah, I’ll be picking up a copy of Time Out to see what’s happening. I’m not into shopping and stuff though. I have bad skin, but I really like the sun and I’m Irish, so that’s a bit of a paradox. I’ll sit out in the sun for about half an hour each day and see if that will help my horrible white body.

What do you love and hate about comedy?
What I like the least is the travelling, and dressing rooms are always grim. What I love is being able to communicate with people that I haven’t met before and sharing an experience with people, which, to me, is very beautiful.

If you didn’t cut it comedy, what were you going to do with your life?
I was going to kill people – probably other comedians.
Dhs140. Thursday July 23-Thursday July 30, 8pm and 9pm. Various locations across Dubai and Abu Dhabi, (04 355 1862).

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