Performer: Zoe Lyons Photograph by: Mark Vessey Show: Entry Level Human Venue: Gilded Balloon Promoter: CKP and InterTalent Group Online: Box Office Website
Tell me about your Edinburgh show.
I am completing this Q&A in May… so at this stage your guess is as good as mine. My Edinburgh shows don’t tend to be heavily themed as I find that gets rather grating by the end of a long run. It will be a collection of stories and ideas and a montage of horrific selfies. Two years ago, I finished the show with a montage of pictures of stuff left by bins. It was a lot more fun than it sounds which is also what I hope I can say about this show.
Tell me about your first gig.
It was a hot August night in a very stuffy, smoking cellar room of a pub in North London. It was a new act night and there were about 15 acts on and roughly 10 punters in the audience. I was beside myself with fear and excitement. My material was dreadful but my commitment to it was admirable. In my memory it I went well. Whether or not this is false memory recall I don’t know but I do know I left that gig and decided there and then that I was going to be a comic.
Do you have any rituals before going on stage?
I pace a lot. Over the years I have had various lucky charms that I have kept in my pockets but I always end up losing them and I get stressed out for a bit about being without them. So I have stopped having trinkets, they all leave you in the end.
Tell me about your best and worst review.
I once got a review in a broad sheet newspaper in Australia that was so gushing I was slightly embarrassed. All I thought was the woman who wrote it needs to get out more, the show was good but not deserving of the lavish praise she was bestowing upon it. One year I got a two star from the List that read like a one star. They hated me with real zeal.
During this Edinburgh run, do you plan to read reviews of your show?
Every year I say I won’t, I don’t actively seek them out but sometimes you can’t help but see them. I think it can be helpful to read them after the festival because if you are going to use the good ones perhaps there is something to learn from the negative ones. Sometimes people just hate your face and the fact that you are talking.
How do you feel about reviewers generally?
They have neither made or broken me so I am somewhat in different to my own reviews. Having said that I don’t think that I am the only comic that enjoys the schadenfreude of reading other comics less than flattering reviews. Its sick I know, but it helps you get through the bloody month.
In April 2018, YouTube comedian, Markus Meechan (aka Count Dankula) was fined £800 for training his girlfriend’s pug dog to do a Nazi salute with its paw, in response to the phrase ‘Gas the Jews’. Do you believe Meechan committed a criminal offence, and why?
He is not guilty of a criminal offence in my eyes. He is guilty of being a massive bell-end but you can’t legislate against that. I am a very strong believer in freedom of speech even if it means on occasion you have to listen to some utter hateful shit.
Are there any subjects that are not suitable for comedy?
I don’t think so but there are definitely some comedians not suitable for certain subjects. I am including myself in that statement. At times there are things I really want to talk about but my lack of being able to succinctly and eloquently capture the idea without sounding like a dick make me slam into reverse. Nothing is off limits, but know your own limits.
Have you ever gone too far?
Subject wise… no…road wise yes. Southport, its fucking miles away. Don’t put South in the name if you are clearly half way up the sodding country.
Looking back over your time as a comedian, tell me about the best gig of your career.
My first one. I finally, at the age of 29, felt like I had the possibility of doing something with my life.