Following a work-in-progress run at Edinburgh last year, this year marks Lauren Pattison’s debut at the Fringe with her first hour, Lady Muck.
She’s supported Katherine Ryan and Dane Baptiste on tour, opened for Stewart Francis and earlier this year she played the part of Mary’s Chambermaid in the third series of Comedy Central’s Drunk History.
Lauren has been on the circuit for 4 years and feels like 2017 is the right time to debut her first Fringe hour. But having to choose a title very early on and having to write about something very personal doesn’t come without its own challenges.
Here’s what Lauren had to say when I caught up with her for a chat…
How are you feeling about the Fringe this year?
I’m really excited. Really excited. I feel ready for it. I’ve been in the past and done a few mixed bill shows, but this is my first year on my own.
Why have you chosen this year as your first Fringe hour?
I feel like I’ve worked really hard and it’s the right step to take. If I didn’t do it this year, I wouldn’t be pushing myself in the right direction and I’d just be playing it safe. You’ve got to jump in at some point and join the big boys and girls and I feel like it’s now definitely.
Why Edinburgh Fringe?
It’s the biggest arts festival and it’s an hour from my house pretty much which is always helpful. I love Scotland, I love Edinburgh and for comedy the Fringe itself is the best place. It really is. The audience’s are great, you’ve got all the great talent from over the work in the same place and I think it’s amazing. I love it.
You’ve called your show Lady Muck. Is that still true to the show?
Well, I had a five minute idea for a bit about how I’m not particularly ladylike. But I think that’s alright and I think we almost use the phrase “You’re not being very ladylike” to shame women into seeing that what they’re doing is bad. And somehow it makes them less of a woman if they’re not ladylike.
I totally disagree with that so I called my show Lady Muck, but then by the time I started previewing, I’d written a completely different show! But… I think the title still fits because that bit is still in there but at Christmas I thought that was going to be my whole show. Now that’s just a bit of it.
It’s about embracing your flaws and your insecurities and how they don’t make you a bad person, they just make you who you are. So I think Lady Muck still fits in. Just in a different way to how I’d planned!
How long have you been working on the show?
I did a work-in-progress last year in Edinburgh, just to try some ideas and see if I could do a show on my own. I scrapped it all and started pretty much fresh in September. So I’d say I’ve been working on it since I came back from Edinburgh last year. So quite a while.
How have the previews been going?
I started previewing in about April and I feel like that’s where the real work started because you look in your notebook and go “I have written the best show in the world” and then you do it and go “I have a lot of work to do!”
It’s my first year of having to do previews because when I did my work-in-progress, it went up there as a work-in-progress, I didn’t preview it because the whole month was essentially a month of working it out.
You’ll have one previews and think you’re so funny and that this is going to be fine and then the next one you just want to burn your notebook and stat again. They’re really up and down but they’re so useful. That’s the whole point of previewing. It’s so useful.
What’s been the biggest thing you’ve learnt so far through previewing?
How to structure a show. I’m used to doing club sets and sets in comedy clubs so you try and get as many jokes in as possible. But I’ve always been a bit of storyteller, I’ve always had a slight storytelling element to my stand up but then that’s got to be a much bigger part of it in an hour-long show.
I did my first preview and did all of my storytelling at the top and then did all of the material. My mate came and watched the preview and went “That’s shit mate. You’ve got a really good story and you’ve got really good jokes but you’re treating them as two different things.”
So it’s been so interesting to try and work out how to have a narrative running through the show but still weave your jokes in. The previews have been really useful for that because I’d be sat looking at my watch going “Too much silence. Too much silence. We need some more jokes!”
What is the narrative running throughout?
It’s a mix of two stories merged into one for the sake of Edinburgh. I moved to London, on my own. Didn’t know anyone. I got ghosted from a boyfriend. He ghosted us. So when I had the idea of writing this show about embracing your flaws and your insecurities, I was like… but then I could track him down and find out what he didn’t like about us. So that came into it.
So the show is a mix of those two things. Being ghosted, trying to work out what I did wrong and what it was about us that he didn’t like so much that he would do that. While at the same time trying to love myself and be more comfortable with who I am.
So the two things crossed over really nicely. The story element running through it is trying to get this boy to come and meet us. After he’s not seen us for a significant length of time!
What was that like to write?
I shouldn’t have put myself through it. Writing an Edinburgh show is already pretty stressful. Let alone doing one about tracking down an ex-boyfriend. Bloody hell! I don’t do things by halves. When it was all finished and I had written it I was like “That was a really stupid thing to do”.
Next year I’m going to write it about puppies or something.
How are you feeling about performing this show night after night at the Fringe?
Really good about it. It’s at the stage now where it just needs practising. It’s pretty much there and it feels like the perfect show for me to do right now. I feel like if you gave that show as a script to someone and asked them whose is that show, I think they’d know it was me.
It feels really really perfect for us. You know when you put a pair of shows on and they fit perfectly. It feels like that. I’m really chuffed by it.
What are you hoping for by the end of Edinburgh?
I don’t want to say I’m a nobody, but I’m pretty much a nobody. I’m not very well-known. So I’d love to build up more of an audience across Edinburgh. I’d love it if someone took a punt on coming to see us thinking “I don’t know who she is but we’ve got an hour free” but then by the end of it they go “OK. Next time we’re going to specifically go and see her.”
So that’s what I’m hoping for. To get some nice new audiences from it.
Do you have anyone helping you with your show this year?
Yeah! I’ve got a lovely comic helping us called Jess Fostekew who is up as well this year. I keep turning up with all my notes and she gives us a bit of feedback and I didn’t like the idea of working with someone at first. I’m very protective about my own week. I didn’t know how I’d feel about someone telling me to my face that that bit doesn’t work.
I’m really defensive so I’d be like “Yeah it does. What are you talking about? You don’t know anything.” But she’s been so brilliant. When I sat down and met her I totally trusted her and trust everything that she’s got to say.
She’s never harsh but she’s always honest and it’s been so useful having somebody who’s like a sounding board. Very useful.
Who are you hoping will come and watch the show?
I don’t know… maybe some nice boys who won’t ghost us. That would be nice. I’d like to think that I’ve got quite a broad appeal because I’m quite young so I appeal to a younger crowd but then for some reason mams really like us. I love my mam but I live quite far from her now so I could do with some more mams dotted around the country. That would be nice. If any nice mams wanted to come and watch us and adopt us that’d be nice.
Nice boys and nice mams. That is my target audience.
You recently supported Katherine Ryan on tour. What was that like?
It was amazing. I was in my final year at Uni, I didn’t have an agent, and I just got a message from her on Twitter asking how much material I had. I was like “It depends what you want” and she said that she wanted someone to come and do a couple of tour support dates.
Obviously I bit her hand off! I’d never done that long on stage but it’s one of those things you can’t turn down. I thought I’d write 15 more minutes in a week, definitely. It was an amazing opportunity and I got my agent off the back of doing that.
It felt really nice that someone who’s higher up than you can give someone like me that chance which really opened a lot of doors of us. I was chuffed.
Are you still in contact with Katherine now?
Yeah. She invited us back the following year, so the tour that ended up being her Netflix special. That was lovely, so I got to do some more with her. When I first moved to London, I got lost and couldn’t find my house when I was drunk and she sent an Uber to come and pick us up and I’m forever grateful to her for it!
Finally, how would you sum up your show in just five words?
Funny. Honest. Feisty. Shameless. Poignant.
Lauren Pattison: Lady Muck runs Saturday 5th August to Monday 28th August at 5:45pm at the Pleasance Courtyard (The Attic). Previews 2nd-4th August. No show Monday 14th August. Book tickets here.