There are so many comedians in History that were some of the founding fathers as to what the genre is today.. Over the next few weeks we are going to have a look at a handful of comedians from the 1800s that were popular at the time and were leading the way with laughter. This week we look at – Mark Sheridan.
He was born as Frederick Shaw to Scottish-Irish parents in County Durham and started his theatre career by working in the back offices of the Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Theatre. He decided to change his name to Mark when he went to the professional theatre after the American writer and humorist Mark Twain and use his mothers maiden name as his surname, Sheridan.
After travelling the world in a number of variety shows in Europe, South Africa and Australia, he became a regular on the London Music Hall Circuit and quickly built up a reputation as one of the most popular music hall comedians of all time. As well as comedy sketches he became a successful singer and his biggest hit was in 1909 with ‘I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside.’
Later in his career the music hall audiences were on the decline so he starred in a comic revue called Winkles that toured the Northern Provinces. He started to feel his popularity was on the decline and he started to gain deep insecurities and depression. He still went on to write and personally finance a musical burlesque called Gay Paree which received negative reviews from its audiences and the critics. The reviews devastated him so much he was found dead the next day near Kelingrove Park from a single gunshot wound to the head.