Lucy Porter interview at Edinburgh Fringe, Lucy Porter's Love in, Comedian

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Lucy Porter sitting on a bed

Lucy Porter is currently at Edinburgh with her fringe show Lucy Porter's Love-in, a bittersweet look at love and its effect on a person's sanity. Holly Falconer found out more.

When I last interviewed you, you said your show was going to be a tribute to love, not a criticism of it - what happened?
Originally I was going to make the show not about romantic love, but the love of one's fellow man and about that hippyish idea of 'make love not war'. But then unfortunately I actually fell in love so it just changed the whole thing.
Basically the gist of the show now is that romantic love is a mental illness and it's actually quite a horrific thing to put yourself through. I fell in love and found it such a horrible, scarring painful experience that I thought I'll talk about that.
I kind of have to admit though that I'm still a sucker for it and I am a bit of an old romantic at heart.
So you met someone?
Yes, and I'm still in the midst of it. I'm not cured yet, and I still feel like I've got a very tentative grip on my sanity. Because I'm still seeing the gentleman in question so this is quite a dangerous thing to do. But he's not referred to specifically, it's more about the general idea of being in love and what it's like.
It does sound quite negative
Yeah but the nice thing is that he's not going to be able to see it, because he's actually doing a show up in Edinburgh at the same time. So I've covered my back there a little bit.
Obviously I'm not being mean about him, and while the misery and bitterness is dealt with, it's in a tongue and cheek way. Being a romance junkie I could never completely come out against love altogether. Since I was 13 I've been obsessed with the idea of romantic love. At that age, I started reading novels, but it wasn't so much Jane Austen or the Brontes, it was always Anna Karenina or Madame Bovary - I used to always go for tragedy as opposed to joy. And that's what I've gone for in life so I'm trying to break that habit.
Do you think personal comedy is a recipe for good comedy?
It's the only way that I know really, but I think maybe it's not a recipe for sanity. Plus, some people find it quite uncomfortable if you're too personal.
When I go to see comedy I like to feel that there's some kind of genuine emotion behind it. But I also like really good gag tellers - comedy can't just be a catalogue of misery and woe.
How have people reacted to the show so far?
Generally speaking the feedback has been quite positive, especially from other women! I mean it's not a man-hating show. Men like it because they recognise their women in it and a couple of blokes have been quite pleasantly surprised.
When I start saying I'm going to talk about love, they think: she's going to start talking about how shit men are in relationships. Whereas actually if anything I'm having a bit of a gentle dig at women: about how obsessed we are with romance, sharing feelings, and talking about things. In contrast, blokes tend to have a more matter of fact approach - which I'm actually coming out in favour of.
I'm in my thirties as are most of my friends, yet we behave like teenagers. If we get a text message from a boy we like, we're like archaeologists with a metal detector - texts are dissected and examined. A friend of mine is the executive of a major international bank and even she behaves like this.
What have been your most memorable times at Edinburgh over the past few years?
All of my favourite moments have been at the flat that I share with brilliant people, and it's like being back at university. Like last year I just had such a nice time, because I shared with Sarah Kendall, her boyfriend Henry, Richard Herring and Justin Howards. We did kitchen karaoke, which involves singing along to what's on our computers and dancing around.
There's an Amnesty International gig that I do every year and professionally that's a really fun thing to do because you get an incredible bill for not much money, and it's for charity.
Was there anyone else that you think you want to catch while you're up there this year?
My big tip for the start of the festival is Michael McIntyre. It's his year, he's amazing. And I will also be watching Sarah Kendall's show, and Josie Long. There's so much good stuff on this year it's ridiculous.
Who are you dating?
It's a comedian I've shared the flat with in Edinburgh who's very tall. So given that it's not Richard Herring it's. Justin Howards!
What plans do you have for next year?
In September I've got to go to Far East to do some gigs. Plus, I'm also doing some writing for an animated topical show which will be using up-to-the-minute CGI animation for ITV.
I'm podcasting at Edinburgh for the Guardian, and have done other podcasts on my website,
I'm also doing a documentary about Mills and Boon for Radio Four, which is coming out in September. I was inspired to do this because I'm doing a show about love and romance so it seemed like a good thing to do. It's made me think I might try and write a novel along those lines - although it's much harder than people think.
Lucy Porter
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