Interview: Laura Lexx By Brian Donaldson

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In a competitive field Laura Lexx is rising quickly as one of the country’s brightest stand-ups. She’s appeared on Live At The Apollo on the BBC, The Jason Manford Show on Absolute Radio, and Roast Battle on Comedy Central, while also regularly hosting The Comedy Club on BBC Radio 4 Extra. Laura has a string of award wins to her name such as Best MC at the UK Comedy Awards 2017 and Best Performer in the Comedians’ Choice Awards for both 2018 and 2019. She’s now an established name at the Edinburgh Fringe having performed acclaimed shows there such as Trying, Tyrannosaurus Lexx, and Lovely. At the 2018 festival she was shortlisted for the Dave Joke Of The Fringe Award. Laura has provided tour support for the aforementioned Manford as well as for Tim Vine and Russell Kane, but now she’s taking the plunge and hitting the road for her debut solo tour, Knee Jerk. Here she talks about how hard it is to be a good person, whether she really wants to live her life on the internet, and why stand-up is her true calling. 

 

The tour is called Knee Jerk which was the show you performed at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe. But ultimately you’re giving audiences across the country much more than that?

It will be a mix of the best bits from Knee Jerk and from my 2018 show Trying because the two shows very much run off each other in terms of subject matter. I decided that I’d really like to freshen up Knee Jerk and take the best bits from Trying without having to do the whole narrative of each of them. Knee Jerk was quite topical in places, not so much satire of politicians such as what Gove has done this week, but more about the social-political. My Brexit section is probably not going to work now, so I’ll reshape quite a lot of Knee Jerk and also to fit it into the mental health aspects of Trying.

 

As part of Knee Jerk, you claimed it was difficult to be a good person these days. Is this any more or less true now from when you first sat down to write that show?

There’s that famous quote about all that has to happen to let evil win is for good people to stay quiet. So I think ‘ok, I’ll voice my opinion’ and then you voice your opinion. But actually that hasn’t taken into account what everybody needed from a statement so you think ‘should I have just stayed quiet?’ So then you end up reading a lot more to take into account everyone’s views but then you realise you’re not saying anything about the subject. You end up getting into a whirlwind, feeling like your opinion is constantly needed on things and that everything affects you and actually, maybe it has nothing to do with you. Basically, it’s really hard to be a good person!

 

Without giving too much away, what else is the touring show about?

A lot of Knee Jerk is about me living much of my life on the internet because of my job, but is that where I want to fight my battles? Partly this is why Knee Jerk is going on tour as I’m not going to record it to go online. I’m starting to feel that not everything has to go onto the internet.

 

You’ve been described in reviews as ‘bubbly’ and ‘bouncy’ and ‘upbeat’ and ‘perky’. Does this fit with how you see yourself as a live comedian?

I don’t think I can do comedy any other way than how I do it. I didn’t choose to be that comedian, that’s just who I am. On stage, I’m the happiest I ever am, and that does come through. I used to get annoyed by these reviews early on that said ‘oh she’s not doing anything important, she’s not talking about subjects, she’s a light bubbly way to spend an hour’. And I thought, yes I am talking about important things! I’m talking about feminism and race and all sorts of things. And then on the other hand, the reviews would say, ‘oh it’s a good job she’s upbeat because the material is very dark’ and I’d think ‘it’s not a good job I’ve done that on purpose: that’s just me!’

 

What are you most looking forward to with this tour and is there anything that you’re especially anxious about?

I’m really looking forward to having more time with an audience because I’m doing both halves myself. In the first half I’ll get to know the crowd and do some audience interaction which I love doing from all the years of MCing. I’m looking forward to being able to build that into something bigger rather than ten minutes of warming them up and getting the act on. 

I guess I’m nervous of being a bit lonely, so during the day I’ll keep myself busy so I don’t end up stewing in the hotel. I have a National Trust membership so I’ll get out and see old houses and go to places where other people and other families are, so even though you’re on your own you’re surrounded by people doing the family thing. But the excitement is mostly overwhelming the nerves.

 

Do you have any long-term comedy goals?

I’d hope that this is the beginning of me touring every year, or every other year. I love my writing at the moment and I’ve been progressing a few scripts with some companies, but I always fall back on seeing myself as a live performer. That’s definitely where I’m happiest. 

Laura Lexx Tour Details here.

Interview supplied by publicist

 

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