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I TALK TO Lauren Pattison

She debuted her first hour in Edinburgh last year and very quickly Lauren Pattison became the talk of the festival with award nominations and the accolade of being the best reviewed show at The Pleasance.

© Andy Hollingworth

So it's absolutely no surprise that Lauren is returning to the Fringe this year and I caught up with her to discuss the last 12 months, the next 12 months and everything in between.

It's been quite the year for you since we last spoke. What's been your favourite part of the last 12 months?


I know, it's been mental! I think the best part is definitely getting to go to Australia. One of my goals last year was to go and play Melbourne, so then when I got Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and New Zealand, I was like "Wow! That's so much more than I could have asked for!"


Was your Fringe experience last year everything you thought it was going to be?


I went into it with such little expectations. I didn't want to expect everything and come out with nothing. I went into it with achievable goals, which were to have a good show and sell out weekends.


Even if I had been so confident before Edinburgh, the most I would have expected was maybe a sell out run. I couldn't have even dreamt about everything that's happened off the back of it and even during! It was like the dream Edinburgh. I wasn't expecting it and I couldn't have even dreamt about it happening.


You say that, but there was a lot of hype around your show beforehand. Were you aware of any of that?


I wasn't you know. I feel like it came as a surprise to just me. Everybody else, even during Edinburgh were like "But you must know that all this buzz is on you?" and I really didn't. I stayed outside of the loop.


I was knowing what reviews I'd got but I wasn't reading them so I was like "Yeah it's a good review" but I didn't quite realise how much people were enjoying the show. Even when it was selling out I couldn't understand why!


It was so amazing and I'm pleased I went up there with realistic expectations because then everything came as a genuine surprise which was lovely.


Were you always going to come back this year? Or did the success of last year's show make that decision for you?


The plan last year was to have an alright hour and then maybe come back for a second but I wasn't definitely going to come back. I just wanted to play it by ear.


But then off the back of last year everyone was telling me that I definitely had to go back. I wouldn't have been able to write this show if it wasn't for the last one.


What is this year's show about?


This show is basically about everything that's happened since. It's about the three things I'm proudest of achieving which is seeing the world, falling in love and learning to do a press-up.


This show follows on from the last one, in the sense that it's the year that it's about the last 12 months of my life.

I feel like anyone who's seen the last show will really appreciate this one because they know what's come before it and now they get the next chapter. They get to know what happened next. But for anyone who's never seen me before it's going to be upbeat Lauren with her shenanigans going on in the background. Same no filter but just in love now.


I say that now. It could all change! I hope not.


Last year you tweeted about looking for another guy to break your heart so that you can write another Edinburgh. But now you're very much in love so have you found this year's show harder or easier to write?


At first I found it harder because I'd written my first show about a break up and in the past I've written material about exes, so I was very good at writing about failed relationships. But even when I was with boyfriends in the past, I've never written about being in a relationship. I've never been able to write stand-up about that.


So at first I was like "Argh! He's ruined my life. He's come in here with his good looks and his nice ways and he's ruined my comedy career." But I've realised that you can write comedy about nice things. Comedy doesn't have to always be heartbreak and melodrama. It's nice to write positive comedy. That's the main difference between this show and the last show.


Last year's show was positive in that it was empowering, but the general undertone of the show was a little sad and I had to go through shit to get that. But this year's show is so positive and upbeat and I feel happy doing it which is amazing.


Why did you call this year's show Peachy?


When I started thinking of a title that was the first thing that came into my head.


I had to think of the title so early and I didn't know what my show was going to be about, but all I knew is that I'd be coming back to Edinburgh this year with a positive show. It was going to be happy. It was going to be an upbeat show.


So I thought the best way sum it up was Peachy, because everything's been quite peachy.


You've been performing Lady Muck a lot since last year's Fringe. Has it been hard to do that and write this year's show?


I only got back from New Zealand in the middle of May and I had my first preview on the 5th June and when when I landed back in the UK I hadn't written anything. I'd written a couple of new things when I was out there to do in sets, but I hadn't written them with the foresight of this year's show.


I was panicking on the day that I had the preview and I was like "Mate, you're just going to have to talk to them for an hour" so I sat there and thought about what I could talk about and I wrote falling in love, seeing the world, doing a press-up.


So when I looked at that I thought, "Oh that's my year" and if I could sum up my year that's what I'm proud of so I went to that first preview and spoke about all those things and it kind of worked. So I thought, "Well there you go, there's something in there!"


Do you feel extra pressure this year?


It's weird. Sometimes I feel extra pressure because last year went so well that people are going to hold us to that standard again. And if they don't like this show as much as the last one or if it's not as well received, people will give me the side look sort of thing.


But then I also partly feel like the pressure's off because the debut is out of the way. I've done it once, I've proved I can do it, I know how the month works now, I know how to get through it, I know what it's like to be reviewed.


The unknown isn't there anymore. Last year was, well the slogan of the bloody Fringe this year, 'Into the Unknown' - even though I'd been to Edinburgh before, I'd never done an hour. I'd never done my own show.


I'm a lot less stressed than I was last year!


When I came to see you last year you weren't feeling very well. Would you say that was your lowest point?


Yeah, I think it was. You caught me on the one day that I felt so ill. I was coming down with a cold. I didn't really go out drinking last year so that's why I was so annoyed that I got ill. At least if you're hungover, it's your fault. And you can't blame anyone but you.


But I was genuinely just rundown, tired, running on empty and I remember waking up and feeling sick and having the beginnings of a cold. After that show I felt better and fought off that cold for maybe another week or a week and a half until after my last show at the Fringe.


I went straight off to me mam's in Newcastle, I woke up the next morning and physiclaly couldn't move and I thought - there's that cold I was fighting off. I've been fighting this off for a while and I knew it was coming. Me mam came in from work and I'm still in bed going "Mam, I'm sick!" and she was like "Oh my God. Please go back to London!"


I've had colds before but I've never had the flu and I was like this is definitely what my body was starting to get a couple of weeks. But I managed to fight it off but as soon as my body relaxed it was like "Yeah, you're going to be in bed for five days now."


It must be a pretty exhausting and stressful month?


Exactly! There's the physical pressure of doing the same thing every day and even just walking Edinburgh. It's all on hills. You're tired. You're exercising a lot. But then there's also the mental pressure.


People think "Oh but you're show's doing well. It's selling out. What have you got to be stressed about?" and I'm like "That. That's what I'm stressed about." People think that takes the pressure off and in a way it does because you don't have to worry about ticket sales. But just because they bought a ticket doesn't mean they're going to like it. Just because I've sold out it doesn't mean it's going to go well. So I feel immense pressure even when things are going well.


Then people start talking about nominations and I didn't want to think about that because whether I did or I didn't, it didn't really matter because I'd had such a good year. But then in the back of my mind I was thinking, I bet if I don't get nominated, people are going to be like "I bet Lauren's gutted" and people are going to apply their own narrative to me and that was stressing us out.


Did it all come as a bit of a shock to you then?


Absolutely. I felt like I'd gone from a comedian who's always bubbling away in the background, to suddenly I was in the foreground and I'd never had anyone pay that much attention to us. It was weird being the one everyone's talking about. In a way I liked it because it meant I've got a good show but then on the other hand I didn't like the thought of everyone talking about us.


Are you happy to be back in the same room this year?


I wouldn't have minded going a little bit bigger. That's a 50, so I thought if I could go to 60 or 70 but the next biggest venue in the Courtyard is 100. So a lot of last year's debuts like Natalie are jumping up to that room but I feel like that's too big of a jump for me.


There was a 70 over at the Dome, but I really like being in the Courtyard so I thought instead of panicking that I'm not going to sell 100 tickets, let me do the same room. It's 50. I know that room. I'm comfortable in that room. People know that I've been in that room. They're comfortable in that room if they're coming back.


I got quite sold on the idea of that being "my room" so I'm really happy. I love that room and I feel like it fits me quite well because it's quite intimate and not too vast and reminds me more of the clubs I grew up playing. So I'm very happy to be going back there.


Who are you looking forward to seeing perform?


There are so many brilliant female debuts this year so I'm excited to see Heidi Regan, Catherine Bohart and Sarah Keyworth. The power couple of comedy.


I'm looking forward to seeing Kwame Asante because he's brilliant. Me and my boyfriend went to see him at Soho Theatre and loved it. And Harry and Chris, the musical double act. They're so good!


It's not comedy, but I'm looking forward to seeing Colin Cloud. He's my top recommendation. I left the Grand last year with my jaw on the floor. I was sat at the front and I don't know how he did any of that!


What would you like to achieve in the next 12 months?


I'd like to start getting on telly a bit more. Last year I found the whole idea of television terrifying but now I'm thinking that I would like to do some TV. Not because I want to be famous, I don't, but I want to reach a wider audience and reach a wider bank account! (Laughs)


I've recorded a spot for Live at the Comedy Store and I loved it. I also did a bit of telly in Melbourne and a bit in New Zealand and I really got the taste for it. Someone does your make-up and that's all I really want in life. Someone to do my make-up properly.


I'd love to tour at some point but I still feel like I'm not well-known enough. I love touring and I love travelling but I just don't think I've got a big enough audience yet. So I'd like to do a little bit of telly and raise my profile a bit which will hopefully give me the opportunity to do my own tour. That's what I'd absolutely love to do!


Finally, how would you sum up your show in just five words?


Upbeat. Positive. Feisty. Cheeky. Honest.


Lauren Pattison: Peachy runs from 1st - 26th August at 7pm at the Pleasance Courtyard (The Attic). Book tickets here.

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