PREVIEW: Stand-up Lucy Porter

Wales Online Posted on Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Comedian Lucy Porter is in Cardiff this weekend for a trio of gigs. She tells Matt Thomas about forging a career in comedy and why her life is about to change forever

PREVIEW: Stand-up Lucy Porter

BUBBLY. Tiny. Jolly. All words that pop into your mind when you think of Lucy Porter.  Once you’ve finished reading this, they’re going to be joined by the “massively pregnant”, but more of that later.

First of all, to business. Porter is in Cardiff this weekend to play three shows.

Tonight finds her at the Trinity Street O’Neills previewing some new material for this year’s Edinburgh Festival, followed by a Sunday night charity gig at the Glee Club in support of the British Heart foundation.

That’s going to be crowned with a quick appearance at the St David’s-based finale of the Cardiff Comedy Festival. At two of the shows, she’ll be sharing the bill with Taylor Glenn, the winner of this year’s inaugural Welsh Unsigned Stand-Up Award.
The near-ubiquitous face on the comedy scene seems ideally placed to shepherd an aspirant comic into the world of professional stand-up.

“Hopefully, I’ll be able to offer her reassurance and encouragement rather than completely depressing her, but the truth is comedy is a tough way to make a living,” she says.

Given that Porter has spent at least half of the last year on tour, mixing in various TV and radio appearances in between, it would appear that there is a fairly well-developed comedy economy out there.

“Yes, well, I have been doing this for a decade or so now, so you do build up a bit of momentum I suppose, but looking back on some of the choices I’ve had to make in order to pay the bills, there’s probably a couple there I’m not too happy with,” she says.

“It’s a vexed question, because I do consider comedy an art, that’s why I do it, so I have to rationalise certain aspects of my career by thinking, ‘Yes, but that allowed me to carry on doing my live stuff’ and that’s what it’s all about for me, really.

“Don’t get me wrong, I love doing radio and TV, panel games, things like that. But for me, it’s that interaction with the audience that makes it worthwhile.”

Her gruelling touring schedule pays witness to her dedication to live performance – she’s just finished a three-month tour of her successful 2009 Edinburgh show Fool’s Gold, whilst also making some fairly major changes to her personal life.

“The whole premise of the show was that I’d never get married, because I was allergic to gold.

“Also, I used to have a bit about how extremely unlikely it was that I would even have kids,” she says. “This has all had to change, since I’m now both massively married (to fellow comic Justin Edwards) and hugely pregnant.

“I’ve tried coming on stage and not mentioning the fact that I’m clearly very, very pregnant and you get an interesting reaction. People really don’t relax until you acknowledge it.

“Anyway, yes, there has been a certain amount of upheaval in my life of late, a lot of change, but that’s good for a comic, lots of new material.

“In a way, it’s strange to be doing this interview now, because I don’t have a huge amount coming up to plug. I mean, I’m basically dedicated to being pregnant. Although I do have some Edinburgh shows coming up and Rob Brydon has a new TV show coming up in the autumn that I should be on.”

For someone so in love with the idea of “standing at the mic with a pint in your hand, doing shows”, winding down could reasonably be expected to be a bit of a wrench. But Porter is upbeat.

“I’m concentrating on writing for sketches, which is how I started out, and how I think of myself to a certain degree, as a writer,” she adds.

“It’s the ideal time to start looking at that, over the next couple of months.

“With sketch writing, I find I can take my basic sense of humour and transfer it into other people’s mouths to get a very different effect. I’ve given people lines before that I’ve completely died with, but they get people rolling on the floor. It’s very strange.

“But who knows? I might not ever go back to work properly. My friends who have had kids have told me I might be raring to get back to work after three months or I might never really feel like doing it again. I’m sure Justin will be thrilled to read that.”

Catch Lucy Porter’s Edinburgh Preview at Cardiff’s Trinity Street O’Neills tonight. Call 029 2037 1263 to find out more. She will then be performing at Cardiff’s Glee Club on Sunday in aid of the British Heart Foundation, with tickets available from 0871 472 0400, and on Monday at St David’s Hall for the Cardiff Comedy Festival. The box office number is 029 2087 8444 .

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