Andrew Dipper

New Act of the Month: Lauren Pattison

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Image: Anne McKeown

Geordie comedian Lauren Pattison is our New Act of the Month for April. Born and bred in Newcastle – because she “never really bothered to leave” – the 19-year-old stand-up has become a notable figure on the North East comedy scene, despite only having “20 something” gigs to her name. Her inexperience come as a surprise to us too, because we think she’s ace. Andrew Dipper caught up with Lauren for a brief chat about her comedy, being a student comic, and her love for Russell Howard and Chris Ramsey.

AD: Hi Lauren. How and why did you get into comedy?

LP: See, people find it weird I do comedy, because when I was younger I was horrifically shy. Even now I’m more confident I’m still a relatively quiet person so people tend to be quite surprised when they find out!

I’ve always loved watching comedy on TV though and I’ve always been into drama; I started to find I really liked improvising, especially making people laugh. The opportunity came up through my Youth Theatre to do stand up but I was too nervous and not confident enough to give it a go, something I pretty much immediately regretted.

The following year, when I was 15, I signed straight up and I’m so pleased I did. I did a few gigs at Live Theatre and got the chance to work with local comedian John Scott; learning first hand off an actual comedian how to write and craft your act at just 15 was a pretty good opportunity.

It gave me such an appetite for comedy. I was forever watching it on the TV & going to see people live and every time I left the theatre or the arena I’d find myself thinking ‘This is what I want to do.’ Having a handful of gigs under my belt at a young age as well also meant I had the chance to experience performing in front of a crowd and learn how to be on stage.

By the time I was 18 I decided it was definitely something I wanted to look into pursuing and entered So You Think You’re Funny, not really expecting it to go anywhere. I ended up making it to the semi-finals at the Edinburgh Fringe and started trying to find more gigs to practice. Luckily enough I managed to get a last minute slot on the Red Raw night at the Newcastle Stand and since then they’ve made me feel really welcome there. I love The Stand, it feels like another little home for me now…

AD: Highlight and low point so far?

LP: Highlight so far? Turning up to my slot on the Red Raw beginners’ night to find out Chris Ramsey, one of the people in comedy I look up to, was doing a guest appearance. And the low point? I’m too busy making the most of everything to have a low point at the minute – I think you learn from everything so even a bad gig does you a favour…

AD: If you could gig with one comedian who would it be?

LP: Ah it’s so hard to pick one. Russell Howard is the main one who inspired me into getting into comedy, so gigging with him would be like gigging with my comedy hero. I’d love that.

Then again I really look up to Sarah Millican, mainly for what she’s done for changing the reputation for women in comedy; so to gig with her would be incredible too, doing it for the North East & doing it for the girls!

I was so happy to get the chance to be on the same bill as Chris Ramsey at the Stand the other week. He’s someone else I really look up. When you see someone like him make it, someone who’s a local lad and quite young himself, it really makes your dream feel that bit more possible.

AD: Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

LP: In 5 years time I’ll be 24, which seems mad. That feels far too old! I’ll be finished my degree then so I’ll probably have a job in McDonalds and be considerably fatter because I’ll definitely make the most of free McNuggets.

But seriously, I would absolutely love to still be doing comedy; I’ve found such a passion for it and every gig I do makes me want to be able to do it for a living just that little bit more. I’m only just starting out really but I don’t want to stop anytime soon!

I think it would be the best thing, travelling up and down the country gigging to a different crowd every night, meeting new people and generally just enjoying myself and getting to do what I genuinely love as my proper job.

I really like to act as well, but again I always find myself drawn to the more comedic roles, so if I don’t make a name for myself in comedy maybe I could find a place doing some kind of comedy acting. I feel most at home when I’m performing, either stand up or acting. It gives me such a buzz, and it’s really all I want to do for the foreseeable future!

AD: How do you manage to balance your university work with gigging?

LP: It can be quite hard. I find it hard enough to sit down and focus on my uni work, let alone then try and find the time to sit down and focus on writing new stand up! I always seem to end up having a nap instead of doing anything of importance…

However being at uni while doing comedy is also a massive godsend; it’s given me loads of new material and ideas for stuff to develop. I’m doing a degree in Performing Arts as well so at times it feels like my degree really helps me with my comedy – I’m quite good now at putting on quite a calm and confident act on stage when really I’m shitting myself and so nervous I’m trying not to throw up on the front row.

AD: Tell us something we didn’t already know about you…

LP: I’m not sure! I was an extra on some spin-off Tracy Beaker programme and got to mug a girl. I turned up in my normal clothes and the wardrobe department took one look at me and went, ‘Perfect, that looks nice & chavvy!’ I felt wounded. Those were my good sweatpants.

AD: Are you a Tweeter?

LP: I am – it’s @laurenpattison. I probably spend too much time on Twitter to be honest, but I love it. It’s really nice when people tweet me after gigs & stuff. I find it reassuring knowing I’ve entertained at least one person. Plus I’d much rather people follow me on Twitter after a gig and not, like, follow me home. Unless they have snacks of course…

AD: With that in mind, where can we see you next?

LP: Depends where you’re looking. You might see me drinking a pint from two half pint glasses in the Students’ Union (in an attempt to look more lady-like), or buying an obscene amount of noodles and rice in the supermarket.

But if you’re looking for me in terms of comedy then I’m on at the Newcastle Stand for Gavin Webster’s Northumbrian Assembly on the 21 April, followed by the Red Raw new material night on 24 April, and then will be popping up over that weekend (25-27) as well. Exciting.

Here’s a clip of Pattison in action: