Zoe Lyons’ stand-up show about gangs, society and the joy of not fitting in

Zoe Lyons. Picture by Steve Ullathorne

Zoe Lyons. Picture by Steve Ullathorne

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It’s a hometown gig for comedian Zoe Lyons when she brings her Edinburgh show Little Misfit to the Komedia on Wednesday, October 12.

Or nearly.

In recent years, Zoe has moved from Brighton to Hove: “We were in Kemptown for years and we really loved it, but we kind of outgrew it.

“I have lived all over the place. I have been down here for 11 years now, and before that I was in London and before that I went to school and grew up in Glasgow. But I think everybody reaches the same point with London where you just wake up and think ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ I was just dying in London. I was being stifled.

“I am loving it here now,” says Zoe, a familiar face on TV, with many credits including Live at the Apollo, Mock The Week and Pointless Celebrities. She also won Celebrity Mastermind.

“I travel so much for work that you want to have somewhere you really want to go home to every couple of weeks or whenever, however long you have been away.”

Among the city’s attractions is, of course, the Brighton Comedy Festival: “I think I did it for the first time six years ago. It has managed to establish itself on the old comedy festival map, and we love doing it. You have got a comedy-savvy audience here – though there is a definite saturation point. I think we have certainly seen that saturation point on the club circuit. That has shrunk back considerably over the past few years. The comedy-club heyday, I would say, was eight years ago. It was really booming. But then it just reached its saturation point and things started to change.

“The credit crunch didn’t help. People stopped going out for a while, but before that there was such a boom in comedy. In London, there were clubs everywhere. You could go to a different comedy club every night for weeks. There was so much going on and not all of it of the best quality. But the circuit has reduced over the last few years. There was more and more comedy on the TV, and I suppose more and more people were thinking that it was a viable option. TV comes along and sticks its oar in… and so you get that saturation point.”

After which, there is certainly an element of the survival of the fittest, Zoe concedes: “But also you have got to change as a stand-up. You can’t keep on doing the same things. I have been doing stand-up for 13 years now, and you are constantly learning. You are hopefully growing and changing and getting better and becoming more comfortable and getting closer to being who you are on stage.

“But you have also got to do different things. I have been lucky to do a bit on TV and radio, and that is always fun. But you are also changing as a person.”

And the current show taps into just who she is, Little Misfit: “The very loose theme of the show is fitting into the tribes and gangs and society, whether you feel you belong to them or not.”

Personally, Zoe can’t even say she wants to any more: “When you are younger, you want to, but as you get older, you realise that it is more comfortable not to.”

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