Comic Lucy Porter has found herself living a life her teenage self might not have approved of, but she’s quite happy with that.
With events in the news developing faster than comics could keep up with following the fall-out from the EU referendum, shows were being rewritten every night, which led to interesting times in the stand-up world.
‘Even if you’re not a particularly political comic – no-one would describe me as a political commentator or a satirist - you did have to talk about Brexit and now you kind of have to talk about Trump,’ she explains.
‘I think sometimes with politics, people just want a bit of escapism when they come to a show, and not every show has to make a big statement to make, but it felt like the elephant in the room if you didn’t mention such a divisive situation.
‘It’s a very odd country we live in. The thing is, everyone was trying to make sense of Brexit and then Trump happened.
‘For a comedian, maybe some people are happy to ally themselves politically, but I’m just so confused by the whole situation I find it hard to know where I stand anyway. The shifting definitions of left and right and what that means is interesting.
It’s a bit about how you disappoint your younger self – you have to live with the consequences of the choices you’ve made, but you can’t live with regretsLucy Porter
‘I did vote remain, which may come as no surprise to anyone given that I’m a left-leaning comedian living in London. But I like to listen as much as I talk, so I’ve been talking to lots of people while I’ve been going up and down the country on tour.
‘It’s a uniquely privileged position being a comedian. You’re talking to people when they’re at play, they’re not being polled – they’re a bit more relaxed. My fundamental belief is that the British are essentially good and decent people and everything will work out okay, and I cling to that no matter what, really.’
Which all dovetails rather nicely with the theme of her show – the unintended or unexpected impact of our actions. ‘Yes, thank you world politics for making the show title so relevant,’ she laughs.
‘It’s about how sometimes you have to act without knowing what the consequences are going to be and you’ll only find out later. I think that very much reflects the state of the world at the moment – we have to wait and see what happens, I feel like we’re all kind of in limbo slightly at the moment.’
But most of the show deals with this on a rather more personal level. It was a request from a magazine to write a letter to her 16-year-old self that planted the seed.
‘Certainly in my life, all the things that I worried about and obsessed over and spent sleepless nights worrying about never happened and then you find yourself faced with situations you could never have dreamt of – you just have to kind of do the best you can and get on with it.
‘So I wrote this letter and I was sort of patronising and like: “Aw, it’s all right love, it all works out in the end”, but then I realised that my 16-year-old self would not be delighted with what I was doing and the way my life had gone, and she would be thinking: “Why the hell are you doing that?” I was very political and idealistic when I was 16 – she’d be all ‘‘why are you telling stupid jokes when you should be sticking it to the man and doing some angry left-wing stuff?’’
‘It’s a bit about how you disappoint your younger self – you have to live with the consequences of the choices you’ve made, but you can’t live with regrets.’
So did you have a bit of an Edith Piaf moment?
‘Indeed! Except, je regrette un peu... You shouldn’t be too proud to look back at your life and think actually did I make the right choice? Most people are sensible like that, but it took me until now to realise it.’
One of the other inspirations for the show was a quote from Jenny Offill’s novel Dept. of Speculation: ‘How has she become one of those people who wears yoga pants all day? She used to make fun of those people. With their happiness maps and their gratitude journals and their bags made out of recycled tire treads. But now it seems possible that the truth about getting older is that there are fewer and fewer things to make fun of until finally there is nothing you are sure you will never be.’
Lucy says: ‘When I first started doing the show, I quoted that, and it’s an amazing book and everyone should read it. At times it’s bitterly funny, but it’s not a comedy novel.
‘It did inspire me for this though. Sometimes you have those moments of horror. For me it’s things like this morning, I’d just dropped the kids off at school and in the car I had put on a CD of CBeebies theme tunes for them and I realised that I’m still singing along without them.
‘You’re just not as bothered about your personal appearance because others aren’t – I find myself leaving the house in odd socks, I haven’t brushed my hair and I’ve got one of my husband’s old painting jumpers on. If you’d told me 10 years ago, when I was going to spray tans and getting my nails done and was quite particular about the way I looked, that I would basically not have washed for three days, I’d have been so horrified.
‘Well, I was still quite horrified when I realised I hadn’t showered in three days. That was a low point. I’d gone feral while my husband (actor Justin Edwards) was off filming.’
Lucy Porter’s Consequences comes to The Ashcroft Arts Centre in Fareham on Thursday, February 2. Doors 7.30pm. Tickets £14. Go to tinyurl.com/gs4vgcc or call 01329 223100.