Interview with rising star comedienne Lauren Pattison
Thank you so much to Lauren Pattison for this detailed interview. Lauren has just finished a sell-out run at The Soho Theatre, London with her Lady Muck show.
Can you remember the first time you made someone laugh?
I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast yesterday. I imagine it was when I was a baby and did something hilarious like shitting myself or covering myself in spaghetti
Did you go into comedy yourself or were you encouraged by friends and family?
I stumbled into it myself but my friends and family have encouraged me to keep going even when I’ve felt like giving up which is a good balance to have.
Are you expected to be funny all the time?
Yes, and it can get really frustrating. People hold you to a higher standard because they know it’s your job to make people laugh so they put pressure on you to be funny all the time but they need to remember – it’s my job! I need to switch off from it sometimes! I have working hours! Please don’t embarrass me at the pub by dissecting every comment I make as if they were supposed to be jokes. Speaking of which, no I won’t tell you a joke, buy a ticket to a show and then I will.
How do you settle your nerves before going on stage?
I try and avoid people because other people tend to make things worse without realising. I always worry I come across rude but when you’re really nervous you kind of just want your own space and to be left to chill out. There’s nothing worse than being cornered by a well-meaning friend minutes before you’re due on stage who starts to ask ‘are you nervous? I bet you’re nervous!’ as your stood racked with nerves trying not to be sick so that’s why I try to get to the green room and shut myself away or if there’s not one, try and press myself into the darkest corner.
Who do you look up to in comedy? Who are your strong female role models?
Katherine Ryan, Sarah Millican and Sara Pascoe are great strong female role models. They’re fierce and funny and smart and don’t take any shit and I love that. I find it weird that a lot of the people I looked up to in comedy when I was first starting as a teenager are now people I share lineups with and have as friends. It gives me massive imposter syndrome some of the time!
How scripted are you on stage? Does material come easily to you?
Like a lot of people my stuff is scripted but the hard part is making it seem spontaneous otherwise you just sound bored or look dead behind the eyes. I’m not great at just bouncing off a crowd, which is why I steer away from MC’ing. I do leave myself quite free to play around with the material I have, but yes I write and plan it all in advance unless it’s a new material when I might just have bullet points or a loose idea. An audience have paid to see you at a professional gig so I always want to be prepared rather than just go up with a half-baked idea that might fail – that’s what new material nights are for!
What is the big difference between performing in the North and South?
I feel like in the north I was working with a lot of people who wanted to get good whereas when I came to the south I was working with people who wanted to get famous. Which isn’t a bad thing at all, no disrespect intended on either side! But it was weird to get used to being in and around that mindset. I’d never heard many of the new comics starting out up in north talk about tv or agents but then I came to London and it felt like those kind of things were more what people were focused on. But I suppose that’s what people come to London for! Also the south was the first place I encountered bringer gigs which are open mic/new act nights where if you want to perform you have to bring an audience member. Now I was desperate for any and all stage time but let me tell you it is soul destroying when you desperately want to gig and are having to beg on Facebook for someone to be your bringer cause you don’t have any friends in London. I don’t envy acts still in that position.
What is it like becoming a celebrity?
I wouldn’t know, I’m nowhere near becoming a celebrity and I never want to be one. People start to feel like they’re entitled to know everything about you and your life and nowadays people are so quick to want to tear you down and go searching through social media for anything incriminating you might have said aged 13 that I’m very happy to keep things as they are and never become a celebrity
Do you have any advice for anyone that wants to start performing comedy live?
If you really want to give it a go, stop chickening out and just give it a go. Write as often as you can, get yourself signed up for as many open mic/new act gigs as you can and don’t be disheartened if you’re not John Bishop after 2 gigs.