Sean McLoughlin may not been known by the everyone in the country just yet but it’s surely only a matter of time as he’s already recorded a set for Kevin Hart’s LOL Network, appeared on Stand-Up Central, Comedy Central Live At The Comedy Store and Viceland’s Brexit Stage Left and supported the likes of Ricky Gervais, Doug Stanhope and Bill Burr. He also has a hit podcast “Heal Your Wounds” which was nominated for a 2018 Chortle Award, made several appearances on Russell Kane’s BBC podcast Evil Genius, and released a live album for the American record label 800 Pound Gorilla entitled “Support Act”. Described as “The best comedian you haven’t heard of yet” by Time Out and “An impassioned and uniquely brilliant talent” by The List, Chortle gave him a 4.5 star review and said “His intellectual and comedic brilliance keeps the audience rapt” and The Independent stated that his show was “A terrifically intense and eloquent hour of comedy”. Here he talks about his forthcoming tour, why he doesn’t joke about Trump and Brexit, working on Ricky Gervais’s new show Afterlife, and why he enjoyed making a podcast about Moses.
Comedy To Watch: How would you describe yourself to someone who wasn’t previously aware of your good self?
Sean: I’m a tall Caucasian male who tells jokes about his life and the world. I’m quite a traditional stand-up and I’d like to think I’m funny enough to be worth most people’s time.
CTW: And what can we expect from your forthcoming tour?
Sean: This is an extended version of the show I brought to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2018. The show is called Hail Mary and I still think it’s comfortably the best thing I’ve ever done (or may ever do). Primarily it covers ageing, technology, love and God so people who have ever heard of any of these concepts should be in for a treat. If you haven’t heard of any of them you might still enjoy the bright lights and loud noises that live entertainment brings, so come along anyway.
CTW: How did you get in to comedy originally? And what’s your favourite thing about doing it?
Sean: I always really liked comedy and started doing open spots at Uni as I had all this creative energy and no girlfriend or social life to put it into. Originally I viewed stand-up as a stopgap, something to do until I figured out my real passion, but after I graduated everything snowballed and somehow it’s become my sole profession. There’s so much to enjoy about doing comedy, but really my favourite thing about it is still just writing jokes.
CTW: Do you feel current political events like Brexit and Trump getting in to power have affected your stand up in any way?
Sean: Not directly. I have no desire to talk about these issues at all because there’s no joke I can think of that hasn’t been told a hundred times better by some sixth-former on twitter, but it’s fair to say the mood of society has shifted somewhat in the last couple years and this has probably affected my work unconsciously. In a way it’s a perfect time to be a stand-up because comedy is about breaking tension and there’s never been a more tense time in recent history.
CTW: Your current podcast, ‘Sean & Eliot Read The Bible’, is a huge amount of fun, what have been the highlights of doing it?
Sean: Thank you. The main reason I do it is to hang out with Eliot (the 105 year old who serves as my co-host) who is a very funny guy and I think we make a good team. We are reading the good book and trying to turn it into a comedy podcast, which is such a good idea on paper and such a gruelling one in practice. The show usually works well, but my favourites are when the same characters are present for long periods of time so we can really build ideas of them in our minds. The Moses arc was particularly good for this, but we’re almost at the point where we meet a certain fella called Jesus which should take the whole thing up a gear…
CTW: You’ve performed in the UK, Europe and North America, how did you find audiences varied across the world?
Sean: The main thing I’ve learned is how tough some British crowds can be. For a country with a culture of live entertainment there’s an awful lot of miserable bastards who go to see comedy here. In Europe I don’t feel like need to adapt much beyond changing a few cultural references and making sure they can all understand me. In North America the differences are a bit more stark, but having an accent they like usually puts you in good stead. It’s always a challenge performing abroad but not one that’s as big as it seems as cutting your teeth on the U.K. circuit does prepare you for pretty much any type of gig you’ll ever do.
CTW: You’ve a role in Ricky Gervais’s After Life, can you tell us a little about it, and what it was like to work with Ricky in general as we’re aware you’ve recently opened for him and appeared on his podcast?
Sean: Yeah I have a tiny role in After Life, playing a hack comedian his character goes to see. It’s a really funny little scene. I’ve worked with Ricky a fair bit in the last couple years, with tour support slots and appearances on his radio show, and it’s always a pleasure. He’s a very kind and funny man.
CTW: Apart from stand up and podcasting is there anything else you’d like to do in the comedy world?
Sean: I’ve written TV scripts, and if someone was to ask me for a book or a film idea I’d have a couple ideas for them. It would be lovely for something like that to happen, but you have to approach it with hope more than expectation because there’s so many obstacles to making a television show. Ultimately I still love stand-up as much as I ever had, and if my career stayed as it it now for the next 40 years I’d be content.
CTW: If money were no object, what would you like to create?
Sean: An army.
CTW: What one piece of underrated comedy do you wish more people knew about?
Sean: Walk Hard. It’s a pitch-perfect parody of lame Hollywood biopics (and the music industry in general) that has some brilliant original songs in it.
CTW: And finally, if you could interview yourself, what question would you most like to ask? And what would the answer be?
Sean: Question: How do you prepare healthy warm chickpeas? Answer: A bit of salt and maybe some spinach. Don’t over-complicate things for God’s sake.