- 07 Nov 17
The recent death of comedian, actor and writer SEAN HUGHES, at the age of just 51, came as a shock to most people. OLAF TYARANSEN pays tribute to a genuine trailblazer of Irish comedy
When Sean Hughes passed away in London on October 16, following a heart attack brought on by liver cirrhosis, the 51-year-old comedian, actor and writer had already lived almost a decade-and-a-half longer than he’d once expected to.
“The point is that I don’t expect to live forever,” he told Hot Press’ Joe Jackson back in 1993. “I probably expect to be dead within ten years. Not that I’ve any serious illness. It’s just that that’s a thought I constantly live with. And part of it is that things have happened too fast for me. I always wanted to do things with my life and I seem to have done them already. So I’d be happy with another ten years.”
Hughes was 28 at the time of that interview, and pretty much already had the world at his feet. Four years earlier, the impishly-faced, floppily-fringed Dubliner had become the youngest-ever winner of the highly coveted Perrier award for his 1990 Edinburgh festival fringe show, A One Night Stand with Sean Hughes. At that time, most alternative comedy shows in the UK tended to be little more than extended gag-fests. A genuine trailblazer, Hughes innovatively bucked this trend by weaving an actual narrative into his routine. Not that he couldn’t tell a good gag. “I saw my brother fight at the National Stadium,” he once quipped. “It was at a Depeche Mode concert.”