Ipswich: Regent-bound comedian Sean Lock talks vans, snorting and goats

Sean Lock

Sean Lock - Credit: Archant

“No, I don’t reckon you could; it sounds a bit sinister the way you put that,” laughs comedian Sean Lock when I ask if he’s ever had a bad experience in a purple van.

Purple Van Man is the name of his new stand-up show. We all know what white van man thinks about the world we live in, but the British Comedy Award winner has decided it’s time to hear a different voice - purple van man’s. Filled with gags, opinions, deft observations and some silly voices, it pulls up at Ipswich’s Regent Theatre on April 9.

“My shows, they’re not really about anything, they’re just a collection of hopefully funny jokes and stuff. It’s just a title, there’s no purple van. I don’t have a purple van. I haven’t seen many; I think they’re usually customised and got like a Viking lady on the side, with ridiculous breasts, those ones people spray themselves.”

Like heavy metal bands; or sinister people asking if you’ve had a bad experience in the back of a van?

“Yeah, in a Suffolk accent.”

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It’s the 8 Out of 10 Cats captain’s first live show since 2010’s Lockipedia. He’s looking forward to it.

“The thing I like best is hearing that noise occasionally that you’ve made somebody make, that sort of snort through the nose laughter noise. I like, obviously, to hear people laughing but every now and again at a gig you hear that and you think... it sounds a bit pervy but ‘I made someone do that noise’. There’s a sort of pleasure and a deep satisfaction to it.”

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Lock came 55th in Channel 4’s 100 best stand-ups in 2007 and 19th in 2010. He must have high hopes this year?

“Is there another one planned? I think it’s very much when the commissioners of Channel 4 go ‘shall we fill up the schedules with this’? Everyone takes those things with a pinch of salt. I remember being 55 and I was like only two places away from someone like Tommy Cooper and thought this is obviously ridiculous. That puts it all into perspective. The more you’re on telly, the more people remember to vote for you so...”

His many TV appearances include Live At The Apollo, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, QI, Have I Got News For You and The Real Man’s Roadtrip: Sean and Jon Go West. A far cry from milking goats for a French hippie.

“Yeah, there are bits of Wikipedia that are true, nasty bits people just put in and then bits I tamper with,” says Lock, who left school in 1981, just as the recession was starting.

“I started working on a building site then we used to go traveling; we could get jobs on farms, bars, holiday camps, grape picking. I did that for about seven years and ended up on a goat farm in France. He left the beatnik community in France and set up a farm. He was the hardest working hippie I’ve ever met.

“He didn’t pay you but you lived on the farm and he had a big barrel of wine, brought in a crate of beers every now and again and your food. You’d get up and milk the goats and three days you’d take them into the forest to graze.

“That was a great experience; I went a bit crazy, I was on my own a lot of the time in the woods and I ended up talking to the goats. I remember one day chatting to the goats thinking I should maybe leave the farm now, it’s time to go Sean.”

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