Lucy Porter‘s latest show is based around the perils of romance. Time Out asks the accidental Stalin-fancier about her own experiences of the dating game
Your show ‘Lucy Porter’s Love In’ is essentially about you falling in love. Does happiness make for as much humour as tragedy?
‘No, tragedy is definitely funnier. Luckily there is a fair amount of heartache and misery involved with falling in love, as anyone over the age of 13 knows. It’s not a soppy show, I explain why I’ve had such a tragic love life – mainly it’s to do with things like accidentally fancying Stalin and having an imaginary dog.’
What attributes do you find most attractive in a man?
‘A gnarled ear. Hairy teeth. A Panama hat.’
Do you have a checklist of turn-offs?
‘No. I don’t think you should be too fussy. A phrase that makes my blood boil is “deal-breaker”. It’s horrible and cynical. People’s “deal-breakers” are often so ridiculous as well, like: “I’d never date a man who wore white socks with black shoes”. Unless someone’s name is on the sex offenders register I think you should give them a chance.’
Do you think being a female comic makes you more or less attractive to men?
‘Less attractive. Nobody likes female stand-ups, even other women say that they don’t like female stand-ups. I tell men that I’m a florist and that seems to appeal much more.’
What’s more important: personality, looks or large feet?
‘Personality. Unless the feet are comically large, that would be cool. You could draw faces on the soles and talk to them. Oh hang on, is the feet thing meant to be a reference to penis size? That’s just crude.’
What’s the best chat-up line you’ve ever heard?
‘I do enjoy the “drive-by” chat-up that men on bicycles in London seem to attempt sometimes. I’d never experienced it until I came here, but there’s a man who hangs out near the cycle shed at Finsbury Park tube and tries to chat up every woman who comes by. He just asks for your phone number and if you say no he politely moves on. I’ve heard him try it with hundreds of women now. I don’t think it’s ever worked, but there’s something sweetly optimistic about the fact that he keeps trying.’
What’s the worst date you’ve ever been on?
‘All the worst ones have been entirely my fault. Usually I’ve been nervous, got drunk and behaved like an idiot. I was sick in my handbag on the bus during a date. That was pretty embarrassing. I did end up going out with the guy for three years after that though, so I guess fortunately some men’s standards are low.’
What do you hope the audience gets from the show?
‘I hope they get a working knowledge of quantum mechanics. Admittedly it’s unlikely because I don’t touch on it during the show, they’d have to bring in a textbook. So failing that let’s just say “a warm glow”.’
What was the hardest thing about writing the show?
‘Putting jokes in it. It’s very easy just to bang on about my love life for an hour but when people are paying to hear it you actually need some proper gags. There are lots, rest assured.’
What has the reaction been so far?
‘Weirdly, I’ve become an accidental agony aunt. People come up to me after the show and tell me about their love lives.
It’s quite fascinating, but I can’t tell you what they say otherwise no one will trust me in the future and I won’t get to hear all the filthy, odd things people get up to. There was one woman who started complaining about her boyfriend’s genitals loudly during the show. I suspect they’ve since split up.’
There is a quiz element to the show in which you give people who participate gifts. What kind of things can the audience win?
‘The most popular item I’ve ever given away is Jovan’s Sex Appeal for Men cologne – I found a few bottles in a charity shop and audiences go crazy for it. It’s in very sexist packaging and it makes you smell like a badger, so I can only assume people like it for its kitsch appeal. I also bake quite a lot of cakes, because it’s quite a cheap and easy way to give something home-made to the audience.’
Why are so many comics single?
‘We’re married to the road, baby! When you’re a jobbing comic it is difficult to start a relationship – if you meet someone you like, you can’t see them again the next night because you’ve got to go and do a week-long residency at the Aberdeen Ha-Ha-Hut. Also, many of us have such unusual and stomach-churning sexual peccadilloes that it’s difficult to find anyone willing to satisfy them.’
If you had to write a lonely hearts description of yourself what would it say?
‘Short girl seeks Stalin lookalike for discreet fun and baking.’
What tips would you give to any Time Out readers who might be looking for love?
‘Er, it’s all in the show. So come and see it.’