Sean Lock had the most bizarre and unexpected jobs before comedy career

Richard Bevan
Richard Bevan
5 Min Read

The comedy world is still reeling from the tragic loss of the beloved Sean Lock. His quick wit and deadpan humour had endeared him to fans across the nation. But before he became the iconic comedian we all knew and loved, Sean Lock had some rather unusual job.

Sean Lock was a comedy legend, and his untimely passing on August 16, 2021, left a void that can never be filled. Known for his surreal humour and deadpan delivery, he was a master of his craft. His impact on the comedy scene was profound, and fans and fellow comedians alike cherished him. As Jimmy Carr, one of his longtime colleagues on ‘8 Out of 10 Cats,’ put it, “He was one of the funniest, most influential comedians of a generation.”

Lock embarked on an unusual Path

But before he had audiences in stitches with his stand-up routines, Sean Lock had quite a journey. He didn’t take the traditional route to comedy success. In fact, his path to stardom was paved with some rather unusual jobs.

In his younger years, Sean Lock was far from the glitzy world of comedy stages. After leaving school with an E in English A-Level, he found himself working alongside his father in the building industry. He spent seven long years as a labourer, a far cry from the arenas he would eventually grace.

A young Sean Lock
Sean Lock made his stand-up debut in 1988.

Lock’s adventurous spirit led him to explore the world through various odd jobs. For a brief period, he worked as a goat herder on a French farm. Imagine the transition from laying concrete to herding goats in picturesque France – it’s the stuff of comedy in itself.

But Sean’s journey didn’t stop there. He also spent time on a kibbutz in Israel, adding an international twist to his life story. And if you think herding goats was a quirky job, he also dabbled in the world of toilet cleaning.

Perhaps the most surprising of all was his stint as a Department of Health and Social Security office worker. This unexpected job shows just how diverse his early career was.

A comedy career awaited

Despite these unusual and often labour-intensive jobs, Sean Lock was destined for the world of comedy. It was his encounter with comedians like Alexei Sayle and Paul Merton in London’s comedy clubs that sparked his interest in making people laugh for a living.

He started small, visiting comedy shows in London pubs and trying his hand at open-mic spots as a hobby. In 1988, he had his first official gig at a pub in Stoke Newington, earning £15 for his 20-minute set. It was here that he realised his true calling lay in comedy.

Sean Lock’s career soared from that point onwards. He became a fixture on the UK comedy scene, winning the British Comedy Award for Best Live Comic in 2000. He was a mainstay on ‘8 Out of 10 Cats’ and ‘8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown,’ where his humour and banter with fellow comedians became legendary.

His influence on the comedy world cannot be overstated. Sean Lock was not just a comedian; he was a comedic genius, a wordsmith who could turn the mundane into hilarity. As Harry Hill aptly put it, he was “the comedian’s comedian”.

Sean Lock and Bill Bailey
Lock & Bill Bailey raised money together for good causes.

The loss of Sean Lock was felt deeply by his fellow comedians, fans, and even Chelsea Football Club, which paid tribute to him during a match. There was a resounding call from fans to publish his parody book, ‘The Tiger Who Came for a Pint,’ with proceeds going to cancer research in his honour.

In August 2022, Bill Bailey embarked on a charity walk in memory of Sean Lock. Bailey managed to raise over £110,000 for a cause close to their hearts.

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