‘It’s stressed, it’s angsty, it’s flabbergasted’: Seann Walsh is out of bed and Australia bound
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28.03.2023

‘It’s stressed, it’s angsty, it’s flabbergasted’: Seann Walsh is out of bed and Australia bound

Seann Walsh
Words by Joshua Jennings

Seann Walsh doesn’t appear to recall exactly what railroaded his plans to tour his previous show Same Again?

Until, suddenly, apparently, he does.

“Oh, I know why it didn’t fucking happen,” says Walsh. “Lockdown!”

Ah yes.

Lockdown.

Walsh, a renowned observational comic from Brighton, England, who has historically made fans laugh about everything from Jager Bombs, to how people party in their 20s, to the frail way dads kick soccer balls, had designs on the aforementioned best-of show, before the pandemic shadowed the planet with one annus horribilis after another.

No laughing matter, indeed.

But it did give Walsh the chance to write an entirely new comedy show.

And now, Walsh is back from the dead bed.

Back from the Bed, Walsh’s newish show, lands in Melbourne between March 30 to April 23 this year.

“Lockdown happened, so I wrote a brand new show because there was nothing else to do,” says Walsh. “There you go – that’s how it’s different.”

Walsh describes Back From the Bed, which comprises all-new material, as the world according to a man running late, but stuck in a queue.

Keep up with Melbourne’s latest comedy news, reviews and interviews here.

“It’s stressed, it’s angsty, it’s flabbergasted with the world,” Walsh explains. “The way I like to describe my show and my act is, if you’ve ever been at an airport and you see someone running late to a plane, and you laugh to yourself, the reason you laugh to yourself is because deep down you’re thinking, ‘I’m just happy it’s not me this time.’ Because we’ve all been that person running late for the plane.

“My show is a bunch of people sitting in the room, laughing, because they are relieved they are not me.”

Say that as he does, Walsh has nevertheless lived a career hitting many heights other comedians would presumably relish.

Harbouring aspirations to be a stand-up comedian by the age of 10, he performed his first comedy gig by the age of 20 (2006). Inside a few years, he started receiving accolades and hitting bigger milestones.

In 2009, he won Comedian of the Year at the Leicester Comedy Festival, along with Chortle’s Best Newcomer award.

TV gigs began, and they continued in earnest. Some of the shows audiences have seen Walsh on since include The Stand Up Sketch Show (ITV2), Flinch (Netflix), Alan Carr’s Chatty Man (C4), and The Jonathan Ross Show. Today, Walsh is also active as a co-host on the podcasts What’s Upset You Now and Oh My Dog.

Reflecting on his career, he sounds somewhat non-committal about the idea of how he’s evolved as a comedian over the last 17 years, but he does have some observations about his near-two decades in comedy.

“When I was 20, I was just starting out, and nothing will ever be better than when you’re just starting out in comedy,” says Walsh.

“And now, I’m just at an age where I feel very lucky to still be able to do it, and to do it at the level I’m doing it.

“Life has taught me to really appreciate that – and I’m just really grateful.”

 

One of the effects of touring around the United Kingdom for 17 years, Walsh adds, is that you get to know your audience. “You get to know what a collection of people think – what pushes their buttons, and what they’re sensitive to.

“And actually, I prefer to have that sense of what they will and won’t like, and what they will protest against.

“When I was younger, I would have said questionable things, but that’s because I wouldn’t have understood the gravity of what I was saying. You live and learn – that’s all really.”

Walsh is visiting Australia to tour Back From the Bed, as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, where he is booked to perform 22 shows. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is one of the three largest comedy festivals in the world, alongside Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival began as a major cultural event in Australia, when Barry Humphries and Peter Cook launched the event in 1987. Today, the festival is also behind an annual Roadshow that makes stops at more than 80 destinations around the nation (and even pulls into Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and India).

Walsh will be spending a lot of time in Carlton this April, with all of his shows taking place at Melbourne’s Trades Hall – Solidarity Hall.

He says he’s most excited about performing shows before new audiences.

“There are people that get in touch on the Internet and say, ‘Come to Melbourne.’

“I’ll be relaxing. I don’t do anything – I don’t do things. Honestly, I just want to sit in the sun and drink coffee.”

That’s a considerably more chilled-out way to pass the time, in contrast with recent events in Walsh’s life: late last year, Walsh was busy in the jungle, as part of the UK’s version of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here. He also became a parent for the first time.

“I perform more times than I used to,” he says. “Because the baby keeps you up at night and wakes you up early.”

After Australia, Walsh performs three sold-out shows in the UK, before a string of other dates, leading, up to more sold-out shows at the end of the year.

Besides lots of shows and lots of podcasting and lots of parenting, he gets to see a long-term plan come to fruition in 2023.

Rowan is a forthcoming sit-com that Walsh co-wrote, and stars in. In the show, which is reportedly due to hit screens later this year, Walsh plays a therapist, drawing on his own real-life experiences in therapy (the show’s tagline reads: ‘Who would you least want to be your therapist?’).

It’s shaping up to be another highlight in a career that has seen Walsh previously described as “the best observational comedian of his generation”, by The Guardian.

On that, Walsh is buoyed by any praise or accolade he receives, but can’t offer the same endorsements of himself – which is hardly surprising, given the self-deprecative vein that runs through a lot of his comedy.

“It’s nice when people say nice things. What I’ve noticed is that every comedian goes on tour, and they share the praise, and everyone who has watched that comedian says, ‘That was the best night I’ve ever had.’

“So, if you come to my night, some of you will think that’s the best comedian you have ever seen. You’ll go to watch another comedian, and some of you will think that’s the best comedian you’ve ever seen. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.

“I don’t want people to expect to take anything away (from my shows), apart from the fact that you’ve laughed for an hour.

“I’m not here to make you think. I’m not one of those guys. I’m just here to have a good time. We’ve all had a tough week – let’s laugh about it.

Seann Walsh’s Australian tour of Back From the Bed kicks off on March 30. Find tickets to his Melbourne International Comedy Festival shows here.

This article was made in partnership with Bohm Presents.