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An Interview with ‘Little Misfit’ Zoe Lyons

30 September 2016 | Stephanie Brandhuber

Boasting more TV, radio, festival, and stand-up credits than you can shake a stick at, Zoe Lyons has firmly established herself as one of Britain’s most respected comedians. With the Edinburgh Fringe done and dusted for this year, Zoe is taking her brilliant stand-up show ‘Little Misfit’ on tour throughout the UK. We sit down with this charming comedian to talk about life as a misfit, the secret to great comedy, and learning not to care what people think.

London Calling: What are some of the themes you’ll be exploring in your show Little Misfit that’s going on tour in the UK?
 
Zoe Lyons: The show is very loosely themed. I use as a sort of framework for it the idea that I was always a bit of a misfit as a kid, and then reaching that point in your life where you realise you’ve always been a misfit, you’ll always be a misfit, but no longer caring about it. There’s a very lovely thing that happens when you get older where suddenly you just stop caring. It makes life a lot easier.
 
LC: Do you think being a misfit when you were growing up pushed you into a career in comedy?
 
ZL: Yes. I think it is a very cliché thing that most comedians feel like they were on the outside as kids. But why else would we be doing this? [Laughs] You have to be slightly skewed to want to do this for a living.
 
LC: What aspect of your UK tour are you most looking forward to?
 
ZL: I guess returning to some old favourite spots and visiting some new ones. I’m doing Newcastle Stand and that’s one of my favourite places to gig in the country, I’ve been there a few times and it’s just really lovely. They get such great crowds in there and the room is beautiful. And then it’s always nice going to places you’ve never been before and finding new little gems.
 
LC: What’s one of the places you haven’t been before that you’re looking forward to discovering for the first time?
 
ZL: I’m doing a show in a beer hall in a little place called Ayton in Northumberland that I’m looking forward to. So one of the most beautiful parts of Britain and in a beer hall - I’m excited about that.
 
LC: How do you prepare before going on stage? Do you have any rituals?
 
ZL I do a lot of pacing. I wear through a lot of shoe rubber, but it gets me in the zone.
 
LC: You’ve done a lot of TV work as well as obviously performing on stage lots. Do you have a preference between performing on stage or for TV?
 
ZL: Well, they’re different. I mean, doing your own show is lovely because people are there to see you; the response is immediate and it’s more unique because different things happen on different nights when you’re doing a tour. Doing telly is of course nice to do as well - the two sort of feed off each other. The hope is you do a bit more telly to be able to go out and have more shows on the road. But I think for the immediate response from the audience, you can’t beat being live on stage.
 
LC: Who are some of your comedy heroes?
 
ZL: When I was younger and starting out, it would have definitely been the late, great Victoria Wood. It’s so, so sad that she’s gone. She was absolutely brilliant, just a very human performer. She really sort of chipped into what it is to be human. She had a lovely way of writing stuff. And again when I was growing up, Billy Connolly because he’s such a brilliant performer. And then as I started working in comedy, I realised that every single person who gets up on stage is a little bit of a hero to me, because you know what’s it’s like being up there.
 
LC: What do you love most about doing comedy?

ZL: Well there’s nothing like being able to write something that afternoon and then say it on stage that evening. And if it works, then that’s a total joy. I know it sounds really simplistic, but that’s really what’s it all about. It’s so simple: I’ve had a thought, I think it’s funny, I want to share it with other people, they laugh, oh my god it was funny, and there you go.
 
LC: You were involved in the Funny Women Awards. How was it being a mentor?
 
ZL: It made me realise I’ve done a lot of stuff and I’ve experienced a lot of things. You can give people advice and try and help them along the way, but the only way of getting better or developing as a comedian is just by keeping on doing it, performing in all sorts of rooms in front of all sorts of people. And then you get to a point where nothing really surprises you anymore.
 
LC: Do you have a favourite London venue that you’ve performed in?
 
ZL: I mean, the Comedy Store in Leicester Square is just a fabulous place to perform. I really love it and it’s slightly hallowed grounds as it takes a while to get on their roster. But it’s a very, very lovely room to play in. I always get excited when I’m there.
 
Zoe Lyons will be taking her show ‘Little Misfit’ on tour throughout the UK from October 5th – December 3rd. She will be performing in London on November 18th at Leicester Square Theatre. Tickets can be booked online.
 
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