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 spoken and ultra cool black guy. He always wore cool clothes. He was tall and too handsome to be a comic and the women loved him - 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 from jealousies. Gore Vidal famously said – when a friend of mine becomes successful, a part of me dies. This is something that prominently applies to comedians – average comics slagging off Michael McIntyre is a good example to which my response is always the same – then you make people laugh as much as Michael does and you too can fill the O2 and your boots.
At the height of my powers, I was on television a lot and regularly on the Clive James Show. I appeared on one episode with Eddie Izzard and did my 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 go easily for Felix. Like most comics, his form came in fits and starts and I can recall some sets where he looked lost and uncomfortable on stage. But equally, when he was on it – he was a formidable act. Happily the last time I saw him was at the Bearcat Comedy Club and he ripped it.
I had no idea that Felix was even ill – a factor of our fractured circuit these days – something which all of us lament. I learnt of his passing on twitter – and I knew that 140 characters would be insufficient.
He will be much missed is a cliché – but one which absolutely applies. Every comic who worked with Felix will be feeling his loss and I expect that each will pause to reflect on how serious we take being funny and that it is not as important as we think.