Narrowing down a favourite comedian is hard, because who do you choose…?
The first love? The current flame? The technical wizard? The one you’ve seen the most of? The one that’s special to you “just cos”?
Especially one you are a comedian, there’s an awkwardness - do I choose someone I’ve never met or someone I work with a lot? What if I write 500 words of gushing praise and THEY READ IT?! The horror!
I’ve thought about this and, all things considered, I choose Zoe Lyons.
She is the comedian I will always watch. Some weekends I’ll do 5 gigs with her in 3 nights and I’ll sit and watch her 20 minutes every time.
One of the things I like most in stand up comedy, is a comedians ability to seem down to earth with the audience. The ability to convince us that this is a once only conversation that is special because of us and the unique scenario of that evening. I’ve never been a huge fan of straightly delivered one-liners or non-conversational comedy.
Obviously all performed comedy is heightened, but Zoe is one of the people who I feel has the thinnest padding between her on and off stage persona. She has time for no bullshit and it shows in the jokes.
The voices, the act outs, the lines and the themes have no mess on them - they are pared down to a really tight set. I think she has a fantastically broad set of themes that she hits with pinpoint accuracy, but underpinning all of it is her tone of exasperated humanity which is something very universal to me.
She does silly voices and faces to go with acerbic commentary, and I can’t recall her work ever aiming to be hurtful. I think comedy can hit targets without having to be vicious, and for me, Zoe achieves that.
My favourite of her routines is a piece she does about receiving a surprise present from her wife. It covers off her unreasonable expectations when expecting a surprise and I sat with my jaw on the floor feeling like someone had scooped me out and put my own behaviour into a comedy sketch. I showed that bit to my husband by way of explaining to him why I like to know exactly what to expect for gifts. This is hilarious comedy also mending marriages, what’s not to like?
There are a hundred comics out there that I could write essays on why I love what they do, but, Zoe is the one I time and time again choose to watch.
Laura Lexx: Knee Jerk The Turret, Gilded Balloon Teviot 31 July - 25 Aug (not 14) @ 17:15