Lucy Porter

Lucy Porter

Lucy Porter is one of the UK's most respected comedians, and will take to the stage at the Brighton Comedy Festival on October 19. We spoke to the hilarious star about stand-up beginnings, family life and more.

Tell us a little bit about how you started out in stand-up.

I was living in Manchester and working at Granada Television as someone who looked after guests on chat shows, basically - as a researcher and I just developed a yen to become a writer. I got a job writing on a quiz show but then I wanted to write funny things and thought 'well, I'll try writing a bit of stand-up', because I knew lots of stand-ups, because I got involved in the whole comedy scene in Manchester which was quite exciting at that time because Steve Coogan was still doing gigs around Manchester and Caroline Aherne.

So I started doing some gigs and I started - Johnny Vegas was just starting out as I was, Chris Addison and Peter Kay - you know, all these people who have gone on to do nothing and I'm the only one with a career still!

How did you find that transition?

It was surprisingly painless really but I think I was very young so I didn't have the same sense of fear that I'd have now, I just kind of went for it. I did alright, luckily I didn't get booed off stage until at least my fourth or fifth gig so the early ones went really well, and I kinda like the attention. I'm quite shy in real life and I was quite a shy person in school - I never did drama or anything, I never thought I wanted to be a show-off - but then the thing about stand-up is it's incredibly intoxicating when you stand up on stage and you get a really big laugh. It is very difficult to not have your head turned slightly by that - it's like being asked out by a really attractive bloke, you kind of go 'well, it'd be rude not to!' - it was like being seduced by Johnny Depp - that is how it felt doing stand-up.

How would you describe your act?

It's nonsense really - it's chatty and people always say 'how is your stage persona different from your real-life persona?' but it is a very blurred line with me because I don't really have a stage persona (laughs) I do just get up and talk, so, it's basically just hopefully one of your more amusing friends telling you stories from her life, but you know - I've probably worked a bit harder at it than your friend has at hers so yes, but it's conversational everyday stuff really.

I always like to weave a bit of story in so there's always a bit of a story to follow as well, to keep people interested and I talk quite a lot about very boring things but try and make them interesting - my husband, my kids, life on the road, my family - it's that really. It's a glimpse into my life!

How do you actually find balancing your personal life with work?

Well it's been a lot more interesting since having children - it used to be amazing - doing stand-up is a really amazing job to have in your 20s - if you are then unaccompanied by children - because you can travel the world, the hours are antisocial but really quite good fun, you're kinda up late! 11, 11.30am I'd kind of roll out of bed then go to bed at 3 or 4 in the morning so my time has definitely shifted over the last couple of years since I've had kids but the challenge is - my husband is an actor so he works away a lot of the time - we try and juggle it between each other.

They go to nursery a few times a week now. My sister is amazing and his mum is amazing and so between it all and a couple of amazing babysitters we make it all work and I think to do it without any external help at all must be really - I've got a friend who's Australian so he's got no family over here at all - that I think is really, really difficult. I'm very lucky - I've got a husband, and family - I think that makes a huge difference.

There are times where it is just basically throw the baby at my husband as he comes in the door and have to text him on the way to my gig going 'by the way, he hasn't been fed and his nappy hasn't been changed for a few hours' (laughs) so that's what I tend to do, I just leave all the hard stuff to my husband!

Can you tell us a little bit about Brighton Comedy Festival?

I love the Brighton Comedy Festival - I have been playing in Brighton for years and the Comedy Festival is always quite a fun time of year because it gears the people of Brighton up - I don't know how many tourists they get in - but I know the people on Brighton like getting their yearly fix of comedy.

I always think Brighton is a funny little place because in some ways, it's like Croydon by the sea, (laughs) you go into this town centre and you think 'this isn't all that!' and then you get to the beach and you go 'oh I see, this is why it's quite good' - beautiful seafront.

There's just lots of very cool people in Brighton as well. I think it's the closest the UK has to Seattle or Portland or somewhere that's a bit hip and exciting so I always enjoy going down there and most of my friends who have 'spawned', have chosen to do so in Brighton so I have a lot of friends with kids I can go and see. Any trip to Brighton normally involves seeing a new baby and then getting slightly drunk - so it's all very nice!

Are you hoping to catch anyone performing while you're there?

I always enjoy Sean Lock!

Vikki Stone I really think is brilliant - she's a songwriter and comedian who's really funny and also incorporates music into her act so what's not to like there really? She's got everything going on.

It's an amazing lineup actually. It would be easier to find something I wouldn't recommend! It's just absolutely brilliant - there is nothing bad at this festival!

What other plans do you have for the next few months that you can share with us?

Nothing to share with you - obviously my top secret spies must never be revealed - but I am on tour really - constantly on tour and then I'm planning my next show. I'm also writing a play for Edinburgh Festival, so that's fun. I'm still trying to write a novel - I've sort of had a new idea for a novel. I've been trying to write a novel for about 22 years but I think this is probably my best shot at the moment! It's now or never really!

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