How We Met: Johnny Vaughan & Sean Lock
'We've tried doing other stuff, like going to the theatre, but we always end up getting wrecked'
Sunday 25 January 2009
Sean Lock. 45, is a comedian. He won a British Comedy Award in 2000 for best live stand-up, presents the television series TV Heaven, Telly Hell, and has made regular appearances on shows including Have I Got News for You and QI. He lives in east London with his partner and two children
We met about 15 years ago in the old West Stand at [Chelsea Football Club's ground] Stamford Bridge. I used to sit with David Baddiel and his brother, and Johnny and his mates used to sit a couple of rows in front. They're a pretty noisy bunch so you couldn't help but be aware of them. One season David moved into the director's box, Johnny invited me to join them, and I've sat with them ever since.
I'd seen Johnny on Moviewatch and he'd seen me do some stand-up at a football benefit gig. I used to wear a flared pinstripe suit and my opening line was, "I call this my just-got-out-of-jail suit," which I think resonated with him, as he'd spent some time inside himself.
I was looking for an Achilles heel all my life and I have definitely found one in Johnny and his mates – they are easily the biggest bunch of reprobates I have ever met. We've tried doing other stuff – going to the theatre or the British Waterskiing Championships – but it always ends up with us getting wrecked. Before we thought it was just because it was the football but apparently it's us, not the event.
He takes the mick relentlessly, usually out of what I wear. I once turned up at a game in a pair of jeans and a white T-shirt – pretty inoffensive – and within five minutes he had the whole row singing songs from Grease. There was a stage where I'd get ready to go to a game and then look in the mirror and think, "No, I can't wear that – Johnny will take the piss." And then I'd actually have to change. Now and again I wear something really ridiculous just to give him a laugh.
I can't imagine how Johnny gets to sleep at night – no matter how much he's drunk or what time of day it is, he is always chatting away. I remember one game, we were talking throughout as usual and I was having to tear myself away from the conversation to actually watch a bit of play. We'd been leading one-nil when the other team equalised – Johnny and I hadn't even registered our goal was under threat. I turned to him and said, "What happened?", and Johnny turned to the bloke behind us and said, "Oi mate – you watch this shit – what just happened?" That sums up how we spend most of our time – ostensibly watching football but actually just talking nonsense.
I know a lot of very funny people and Johnny is one of the most entertaining I've met. He genuinely doesn't care about celebrity or success. Showbusiness is full of ups and downs and I like the fact he thinks it's all a load of rubbish and is still managing to do alright out of it.
Johnny Vaughan, 42, is a TV and radio presenter. He rose to fame as a film critic on Moviewatch and then as presenter of The Big Breakfast on Channel 4. He is currently the presenter of Capital Radio's Breakfast Show. He lives in west London with his wife and two children
The first time I saw Sean was at an awards night held by the When Saturday Comes fanzine at Dingwalls in Camden and I thought he was the funniest comedian I'd ever seen. With most comics you recognise the kind of humour, but with Sean I thought, "There's no way I could think that stuff up." It's not pseudo-eccentric, it's just him. At the time, I didn't realise it was the same guy I'd been sitting near to at the football for years.
Back then Sean sat with David Baddiel, who didn't drink, and I think Sean saw me and my chaps and thought we were up for a good time so he joined us. For us, a day at the football is a big process, of which football is only a very small part. As I've said to Sean many times when he has wobbled on buying a season ticket because he's lost interest in the game, it's not just about kicking racism out of football, it's about kicking football out of football.
Sean is probably my only "showbiz" friend and we decided quite early on that it was going to be purely about football. I've known him 20 years now and he's never met my family – we invite each other to weddings, baptisms, everything, but neither of us ever turns up. It's like Dad's Army – I would no more want to meet his Missus, or he mine, than you'd want to meet Mrs Mainwaring.
I think it's good because it's allowed him to become a fantastic figure of blame in my life. My wife doesn't see that it is clearly me who leads him astray, so I can always say, "Oh, you know what it's like with Sean." If she met him that would blow it completely because he is one of the nicest, most moral guys I've met in my life.
I don't go to his stand-up gigs because he does too many of my gags. He used to say, "Do you mind if I use that?" but now he just says, "I used that the other night." It's so flattering that you don't mind, though.
To be honest, we watch so little football at games that we might as well be sat on a park bench, but Sean knows he can't leave me. He's a good mate and one of those rare people who make you feel both charmed and charming. He's a better man than I.
'Fighting Talk', by Johnny Vaughan, is published by Hodder & Stoughton at £12.99. 'Sean Lock Live' is available on DVD now
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