CB: How long have you been gigging in comedy?
PL: About two and a half years now.
CB: How would you describe your comedy?
PL: It’s not really stand up because it’s all visual. I use PowerPoint, so everything goes through that. It’s all nonsense ideas really – bad Photoshop, bad music, outdated cultural references, attempts at dancing and some shouting, Ultimately, it’s all threaded together by my love for ITV’s Kate Garraway.
CB: Which comedians influence your comedy?
PL: Whenever I’m at gigs I’m always hearing about the latest US comedians and some of the big names that have influenced the other acts around me. When this happens I usually go very quiet and just think to myself, “Dick Emery, Terry Scott, Sid James, Leonard Rossiter.” I was brought up on British 70s TV comedy and that’s all stuck as my main influence. Dick Emery was the first person I saw who made me go, “I want to do that.” I was about 6.
CB: Did you always want to go into comedy?
PL: I always wanted to be able to making a moderate living doing my stupid projects and ideas, but it wasn’t really until the advent of social media and finding out that PowerPoint existed that I realised it was possible to do the sort of comedy live that I’d always wanted to do. I knew I could never be a stand up with wonderful jokes and a microphone; it’s a beautiful and enviable skill, but it’s one I just don’t have. Hopefully though I’ve got something different instead that, whilst not stand up, does slot in best at comedy clubs.
CB: How do you go about writing your material?
PL: Sometimes ideas just come to me, sometimes they are sparked by listening to a song on the radio. I use a lot of music in my set and I find music makes me spin off into my own little world or misinterpret what I’m hearing into a new idea. As for any sort of daily structure, I will always ‘work’ from a ridiculously early time in the morning until lunchtime, but I’m not always writing new things. Sometimes I’m tweaking older things. I spend a lot of time tweaking. I like tweaking.
CB: Do you gig as a comedy performer full time or is it more of a part-time hobby? If so, do you find that your main job influences your material?
PL: I do it full time now. Well, sort of full time. When I’m not doing that I’m doing projects and experiments for my website or for other comedy websites. Sometimes I get a bit of money for those. So comedy stuff is kind of full time, but it’s far from purely live work and I’d say that I scrape a living of poverty rather than make a living. I’ve got a very generous and supportive girlfriend too, which helps enormously when you can’t afford a Cadbury’s Boost.
CB: What do you find the most enjoyable and frustrating parts of the comedy circuit?
PL: The most enjoyable part is that feeling when you’re on stage and everything is hitting home the way you hoped it would. When things are going well it’s a beautiful feeling.
I’m also lucky that being Brighton-based there’s a really friendly and supportive comedy scene there. People root for and encourage each other. I’m very lucky to be part of that scene. Some of my loveliest friends have come from it.
As for frustrating, I guess badly run nights are what get to me most. Nights with far too many acts on the bill, poor organisation, poor structure – they’re the kind of things that are frustrating.
CB: What’s your favourite type of audience to perform to?
PL: I don’t know if I have a favourite, most places I play are a nice mix. I’ve turned up at gigs, looked at the audience and thought, “this isn’t going to work,” and then I’ve been surprised and it’s been lovely. Likewise I’ve seen audiences and foolishly thought that I’m in for an easy ride. Normally it didn’t work out like that. Essentially, if an audience doesn’t’ talk amongst themselves and resists the urge to heckle, then I’m happy.
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?
PL: By and large I don’t get heckled much. I think it’s because I shout quite a bit and am quite high energy, so maybe people think I’m disjointed and I’ll really embarrass them if they heckled. I wouldn’t, but I’m more than happy if that’s what they think, as it enables me to do my set. With PowerPoint you don’t have the option of adjusting your set to the audience. What you put on your computer that day is what will be the set, no matter what happens in the room. That can make things challenging sometimes. So, no I’d rather not be heckled.
I don’t have a favourite heckle at the moment. I have a favourite comment after a show, and that was when someone came up to me after my Brighton Fringe show and said, “You’re too avant-garde for Bexhill on Sea.” I’d like that on a poster.
CB: What advice would you give to new acts thinking of starting out in comedy?
PL: I’m not sure I’m in position to give advice, but since you’ve asked, I’ll have a stab from my very limited experience. I think I’ll do it bullet points too, that will be fun for me.
- Try to give the promoter as little hassle as possible – Be nice, be humble, be organised, be punctual, Keep to your allocated time
- Work very hard at it
- See as much comedy as you can
- Do as many gigs as you can
- Always record your sets, always listen back to them and strive to improve what you’ve got.
- Support comedy nights and fellow acts.