CB: How long have you been gigging in comedy?
LF: I started gigging in 2011, and it happened completely by surprise. My first ever trip to the Edinburgh Fringe was a job handing out flyers, but being surrounded by creativity and energy for a whole month spurred me on to give comedy a go myself.
CB: How would you describe your comedy?
LF: A bit of a chat and a song. I’m a musical comedian, but I started out wanting to be a stand-up, so it’s always a balance of the two. Generally I’m singing about a very real experience, and usually it was either awkward or painful, but joking what I do when I’m uncomfortable or avoiding something, so it works rather well!
CB: Which comedians influence your comedy?
LF: I started out watching Monty Python as a kid, then the League of Gentlemen, and then I discovered live comedy much later, so it’s difficult to say. Often the comedian that influences me the most is the one I just saw, particularly if they were excellent- I want to be like the people I find the funniest, the ones I gig with who just have that sharp wit or awesome put down. At the same time, if I don’t particularly like another comedian’s act, I’ll shape my act away from that style.
CB: Did you always want to go into comedy?
LF: There’s always been a side of me that jokes about, but I never considered actually being a comedian growing up, because honestly, most of my jokes were just awful. In my jealousy of successful performers, I once tried writing serious music, but the lyrics were so tragically full of teenage angst that they were laughable. That was, unknown to me at the time, an unintentional glimpse of the comedy act to come.
CB: How do you go about writing your material?
LF: Generally my stand-up style jokes will be a backdrop to the song, so they come fairly easily. The songs themselves spring up out of nowhere, or brew for a long time before they’re ready. Once I made a whole song up in one afternoon based on a pun, but on the other hand I’m about to start performing one which I started writing two years ago. My method is inconsistent, but just about works at the moment.
CB: Do you gig as a stand-up full time or is it more of a part-time hobby? If so, do you find that your main job influences your material?
LF: I’m a part-time stand-up at the moment, though I’m looking to increase the number of gigs I do this year. Generally my job doesn’t influence my act too much, though a few months ago I came out of my first full-time admin job which has inspired a short poem on the overuse of acronyms (SPOTOOA).
CB: What do you find the most enjoyable and frustrating parts of the amateur comedy circuit?
LF: I found the most frustrating part actually trying to get into the local comedy circuit. I moved to Edinburgh about a year ago, but it took a good 4 months to start gigging as it mostly works on word-of-mouth recommendations. Since starting, I feel like I’ve started to outgrow 5 minute spots as there’s so much I want to do! The best bit of performing is just after coming offstage buzzing because the gig went well, though I hope that’s a feeling that extends beyond the amateur circuit.
CB: What’s your favourite type of audience to perform to?
LF: Audiences that want to laugh, and possibly ones who have had no more than two drinks. I’ve had student gigs that didn’t go well, and gigs with ‘lads’ that went really well- I feel like I can’t judge an audience by its appearance until they start giving a response.
CB: Have you been heckled a lot since you’ve started gigging? Do you enjoy being heckled? What’s the best heckle you’ve had?
LF: I’ve been heckled a couple of times and I always surprise myself by actually having a comeback. I mostly get garbled slurs from the back of the room. I can’t remember the best heckle, but I remember the weirdest, and it was before I’d even got on stage. I was waiting to perform, but the acts had to sit in the audience. The comedian worked on a ‘no material’ basis, so he improvised by riffing off the audience. He picked me, and I bit my tongue whilst he heckled my footwear. ‘Gimp Shoes’ apparently.
CB: What advice would you give to new acts thinking of starting out in comedy?
LF: Just get a gig before you have any material. Make sure you give yourself a couple of weeks at least, and freak the hell out. It will unnerve you, but having the fear of an imminent gig should spur you on to write five minutes. At least, that’s the only advice I can give because that’s what happened with me. It was terrifying and exhilarating, but without taking a risky jump I don’t think I would ever have got on stage.
Image Credit: John Wilson