Lucy Porter is bringing the battle to Cambridge Junction
There have been some big changes in Lucy Porter's life recently.
The once single, self-employed, stand-up comedian is now a wife, mother, and pillar of the local community. Her new show, Choose Your Battles, is about the 44-year-old’s aversion to conflict.
Her two children have started fighting like never before, she and her husband prefer stewing resentment to cathartic blow-outs, and she can’t bring herself to demand money from the man who owes her a lot of it. In response, she has sought help in books and found herself envying people who can take a position and stand up for it.
Using secret ballots, visual aids and a punchbag with the face of Mary Berry, Lucy works out (with the audience’s help) when she should stick to her guns and fight, and when she can use her disarming charm to defuse a situation.
“It’s a more mature show, it’s about how you can stir up your passions when you’re a little bit older and you go from being concerned about poverty and injustice to mainly worrying about parking and the bins. It’s got the maturity of outlook to it, but hopefully still a youthful, playfulness,” Lucy told the Cambridge Independent.
Sitting in jeans with “many stains”, her husband’s jumper and the trainers she wears to take the bins out, Lucy explained how her perspective changes as she gets older.
“Definitely your perspective changes, and this is why I like having audience interaction in the show because it’s really good for people of different generations, people of different religions, people of different social backgrounds or whatever, to talk to each other because you realise that its very easy to become obsessed with the things that you think are vitally important but not everybody feels the same way as you – and I think it can be easy these days to live in a bit of an echo chamber and only really relate to people who are exactly like you or feel exactly the same way as you do.
“So what I like about getting back on tour is it forces me to interact face-to-face with people who don’t necessarily feel the same way as me about everything and I enjoy that.”
Lucy is a hit across the globe, taking her distinctive, bouncy, feel-good comedy to Hong Kong, Manila, Switzerland and Paris. She was also invited to Miami to take part in NBC’s Last Comic Standing and has performed in the States for NBC and HBO at their Las Vegas Comedy Festival. Back home, she has toured the UK multiple times to critical acclaim and played some of the biggest festivals including Latitude and Kilkenny.
On Friday, March 16, Lucy heads to Cambridge Junction – a venue she performed at multiple times – on what could be an anniversary show.
“I should count,” she joked. “It might be a tenth anniversary or something, and an excuse for party poppers and a glass of Cava.
“I played the venue loads of time and I always end up going to Nando’s. I can’t wait to get back, and they have a very nice dressing room. I know it’s not important to the audience but as a performer, you get very well looked after. I’m looking forward to it.”
Lucy is a regular face and voice on TV and radio panel shows having appeared on QI, Mock the Week, Argumental, Have I Got News for You and Room 101.
She is also a quizzing demon having appeared on BBC1’s Pointless (with partner Ed Byrne), ITV’s The Chase and breaking records on Celebrity Mastermind, where she fought off competition from Mark Watson and Dave Spikey to achieve the highest ever celebrity score. Lucy also raised £9,000 for The Loss Foundation with her winning turn on Celebrity Storage Hunters.
“My dad was obsessed with quizzing,” Lucy explained. “Our whole life was quizzes. If we wanted pudding after dinner we had to answer quiz questions to win our pudding, so it was vital to me in the early days to get my Angel Delight, I needed to bone up on my capitals of the world.
“There’s something about that instant retrieval of knowledge – and the pressure of it. I really enjoy doing Mastermind because it’s so intense whereas Pointless, I love watching, but playing it – I found it a bit less enjoyable because it’s a lot more friendly and chummy, I like the tough quizzes.”
“I’d really like to do Eggheads and I love Only Connect, so I would like to do that. They offered me a celebrity special of that when I was really heavily pregnant and my agent said ‘look you can’t do it, I told you just so you knew that they’d asked but you can’t do it because you could give birth in Cardiff where they film it’ and I was furious. And she banned me. She said you can’t go to Cardiff on your due date.
“My ultimate dream is to come up with my own quiz. I’ve done pub quizzes for my mates and that is one of my absolute favourite things to do. The quiz format is the holy grail and I’ve not yet come up with a good one but I might try it!”
On Radio 4, Lucy has been heard on Life – An Idiot’s Guide, Heresy, The Personality Test, The News Quiz, Dilemma and The Unbelievable Truth, and is a regular guest on BBC 6 Music on The Radcliffe & Maconie Show.
She remains amongst the most sought-after comedy writers in Britain and was one of the lead writers on ITV1’s prime-time Sunday night satirical animation series Headcases.
In 2014, Lucy wrote the thought-provoking and witty play, The Fair Intellectual Club, about the trials of being an intellectual woman in 1717, which was put on at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Following the success of the Edinburgh run, BBC Radio 4 commissioned a six-part drama series from Lucy based on the play which aired in November 2016.
Lucy is an accomplished actor having played Nurse Flinn in the critically acclaimed, box-office record breaking One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest in Edinburgh and London’s West End, alongside Christian Slater.
Recently Lucy has contributed to various publications as a columnist, including City AM, Cook Vegetarian Magazine and Mother & Baby.
“I really like radio and the intimacy of it, and it’s a bit more relaxed but doing live stand-up cannot be beaten – the adrenalin rush and the sense of connection,” she said.
Lucy Porter: Choose Your Battles comes to Cambridge Junction J2 on Friday, March 16 at 8pm. Tickets: £15.50/£13.50. Box office: 01223 511511 or junction.co.uk.