26th July 1961 – 18th October 2013
Deceased Aged 52.
Like many, many lovers of comedy, I was stunned and very saddened on Friday 18th October 2013 to hear of the death, from myeloma cancer, of Comedian and Actor Felix Dexter.
Felix was a funny, supportive and hard working professional old time lead comedian and actor, equally at ease and skilled in generating laughter in many formats, be that on the stand-up stage, theatrical stage, radio or on television.
Current and future generations to come will appreciate him. What a loss. He was a ground breaking comedian who helped open doors for a great many comedians to walk through. He was the first Black comedian to perform at the world famous Comedy Store and one of the must see, star comedians in The Real McCoy, the Black comedy series that ran from 1991 to 1996.
I found him to be not only very funny and personally supportive, but also very humble and professional. I was at Wembley’s Patadar House a few years ago for a one man show he was doing. Unfortunately it wasn’t very well, if at all, promoted and that was reflected in the turnout. For someone of his stature you would have expected the show to have been cancelled. People would have understood, but what he did instead, rather than deliver a stand-up show, he opened up a Q&A session for the audience. It was enlightening, funny and showed him to be a humble man willing to live the showbiz maxim of “the show must go on.”
We learnt about his legal education and how he could have been a practising Barrister but chose to go down the entertainment route as a comedian and actor instead. He spoke too about The Real McCoy and why it has not been repeated on TV. No questions were off limits….!!
Ironically, on the day Felix passed away, 18th October 2013, I wrote a review of ‘Rice n Peas n Caviar!’ by newcomer Linda Hargreaves and throughout my writing I was thinking of Felix as her character driven performance reminded me that aside from Felix we had no other well known Black Comedians specialising in stand-up character driven comedy.
Some might suggest that a fitting tribute would be to bring The Real McCoy back to television. Whilst that would be great, it would arguably be an even better tribute if a new and equally funny, if not better, Black comedy series could be produced and broadcast on mainstream television. This would be a symbolic passing of the baton from The Real McCoy that would also make a fitting tribute to Felix Dexter.
In the more immediate future I would hope we will soon have a tribute programme to Felix Dexter; however, of course, currently during the Black History Month, the ‘black events’ already scheduled will be doing tributes to Felix.
Felix’s final curtain call came far too soon. He will be greatly missed by the comedy world and wider community.
R.I.P. Felix Dexter