I was an open spot at the time and Felix was already a thoroughbred comic. A headliner and circuit star. Playing all the clubs and always closing. Cleaning up as we say.
I loved his act. A well spokenÂ and ultra cool black guy. He always wore cool clothes. He was tall and too handsome to be a comic and the women loved himÂ – and he loved them back in return. Loads of them. I admired him so much.
As I became more established we quickly became friends. Many of the tweets mentioning his death have mentioned his generosity – something which I can relate to.
Whilst stand up comics enjoy a sort of fraternal bond – we also have a tendency to suffer fromÂ jealousies.Â Gore Vidal famously said – when a friend of mine becomes successful,Â a part of me dies. This is something that prominently applies to comedians – average comics slagging offÂ Michael McIntyre is a good example to which my response is always the same – then you make people laugh as much as MichaelÂ does and you too can fill the O2 and your boots.
At the height of my powers, I was on television aÂ lot and regularlyÂ on the CliveÂ James Show. I appearedÂ on one episode with Eddie Izzard and did myÂ British Gas routine – which I guess is the best routine I have ever managed.
Felix watched the show go out and called me straight away. He was excited for me. He told me how much he had enjoyed my set and what might be ahead for me. I was incredibly heartened and touched and I have never forgotten it.
It didn’t all goÂ easily for Felix. Like most comics, his form cameÂ in fits and starts and I can recall some setsÂ where he looked lost and uncomfortable on stage. But equally, when he wasÂ on it – he was a formidable act.Â Happily the last time I saw him was at the Bearcat Comedy Club and he ripped it.
I had no idea that Felix wasÂ even ill – a factor ofÂ ourÂ fractured circuit these days – something which all of us lament. I learnt of hisÂ passing on twitter – and I knew that 140 characters would be insufficient.
He will be much missed is a clichÃ© – but one whichÂ absolutely applies. Every comic who worked with Felix will beÂ feeling his loss and I expect that each will pause to reflect on howÂ serious we take being funny and that it is not as important as we think.