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"If your dreams become reality, how are you supposed to sleep at night?"

Sean Hughes is a poet and comedian who was the youngest ever recipient of the Perrier Award for comedy at the Edinburgh Festival. As well as starring on panel shows such as Never Mind The Buzzcocks, he is a successful author and actor who has performed on BBC2 and Channel 4 in the UK as well as appearing in a number of films.


Born John Hughes in London, England on 10th November 1965, he moved with his family to Dublin, Ireland when he was 5 years of age. Along with his two brothers he was brought up by his working class Catholic parents.

He moved school a numbers of times, the most memorable being a time with the Christian Brothers where he suffered physical abuse.

When he wasn't at school he got bullied and found most of his childhood unbearable feeling unsettled the majority of the time. Like many other comedians, he managed to survive his formative years by relying on his sense of humour and wit.

His parents recognised that he craved attention as a child, but didn't expect much of him.

"They thought I was the thick one. I worked part-time in a supermarket and they'd have been happy for me to work my way up to head of the deli. I hated that lack of ambition."

The Comedy Store

As a teenager, Hughes went to work in London for the summer. Whilst there he found The Comedy Store. He was determined to perform at the club and when he went home to Ireland he paired up with a friend to create an act. As he was about to return to London to perform, Hughes had a few problems and went to see a psychiatrist who recommended that he went into therapy for a few months. Hughes was unhappy with her advice and went anyway with a prescription for beta blockers for stress relief.

All went well until his comedy partner decided he was going back to Dublin before their performance.

"I was stuck then; on my own and really frightened. I ended up in a squat smoking dope, signing on and singing Elvis Costello songs late into the night."

After Hughes' baptism of fire in 1987, he started to work the London comedy club scene with a television debut on Friday Night Live the same year.

By 1990, he was nominated for the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival alongside Dillie Keane, Pete McCarthy and Jimmy Tingle. Hughes won this coveted comedy prize to become the youngest ever winner at the age of 24. This accolade led to a imaginative one man show unimaginatively called One Night Stand With Sean Hughes which played to full houses all over the world throughout 1991. Hughes also made an appearance in the film The Commitments in 1991 as Dave from Eejit Records.

Sean's Show

After his tour, Sean wrote and produced Sean's Show for Channel 4. This seven part critically acclaimed sitcom was screened in 1992 with a second series the next year. Slightly surreal in content it contained a number of recurring themes and was unlike any other British sitcom, and still is. Across the water though, It's Garry Shandling's Show was remarkably similar.

Alongside his career as a comedic author he published Grey Area, a collection of prose, in 1995.

Never Mind The Buzzcocks

By 1996, Sean had been asked to appear as team captain on BBC2's comedy panel show Never Mind The Buzzcocks. After numerous years answering music questions by Mark Lamarr, he decided to leave in 2002.

"At the beginning I didn't enjoy it much but then I got more into it. But I've just given in my notice. They'd asked me to do three more series, but I've agreed to do one more because I want to leave while I'm still in good humour with the programme."

His space opposite Phill Jupitus was filled by musical comedian Bill Bailey.

Whilst working on Buzzcocks, Hughes returned to the Fringe festival with two short plays he had written for himself to star in called Travelling Light and Dehydrated. For this he won a Fringe First award.

A variety of performances followed including appearances in Gormenghast and The Comic Strip Presents.

In 2001, Hughes starred in Spike Milligan's Puckoon alongside Richard Attenborough. Attenborough was rumoured to have been paid for working on the film with a pint of beer. This surreal story about a pub split by the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The next year Hughes starred as Mod Lewis in The Last Detective.

Present Day

"Join Sean as he drags like-minded losers and musicians with bad hair-cuts in for a chat..."http://www.bbc.co.uk

More recently Hughes can be heard on BBC6 Music on Sunday mornings from 11am til 2pm on a show called the Sunday Lie-in.

Private Life

Sean lives in London in a Victorian house with a menagerie of pets and a large music collection rangings from the Tindersticks, Julian Cope and Barry Adamson to the Fugees, Baw and The Wedding Present.

Sean adopted Bill from Battersea Dogs home and when on a visit to see how the charity was faring, found Sweep who fell in love with Bill so Sean adopted her too. He also has a cat called Maggie named after the Simpsons character.

As well as having a gardener, a cleaner and a silver BMW, he also has another celebrity acquistition, a stalker. She found out where Hughes lives and started sending him notes confirming rendevous in public houses alluding to previous conversation which never actually happened. She did this for a year, before having a break for three years only for the delusional behaiour to restart. Hughes reported her to the police after she sent him a cassette of songs about him.

"You worry that someone delusional like that might shout rape so I asked the police to tell her to stop it."

At one point commitment shy Hughes had a relationship with Neighbours actress Beth Buchanan which lasted 18 months. This was when Hughes was aged 24, however, Buchanan only stayed for two weeks before the relationship ended.

Despite several other relationships Hughes is still single, but is also broody. His single status allows him to go out and party on occasions.

"I still liked getting wrecked sometimes; where you have to blow out the day afterwards. That's not something you do when you're an adult, is it?"


As a child Sean decided that he would like to be a vegetarian.

"I think it was that general realisation as a child that what I was eating was dead animals. I was given a choice so I decided not to do it."

His agent, on the other hand, doesn't understand Hughes' moral decision.

"I have an acting agent who has no idea of my personality. I'll get a telephone call asking me to do something like a voice over for McDonalds, and I think, 'why are you even asking me'?"

Television and Film Credits



It's Garry Shandling's Show by ConfusionTheWaitress - Cheers!

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