Andrew Lawrence - Sit tight
This article is from 2008.
He may no longer be the stage psychopath with a killer tune and attitude to match, but Andrew Lawrence is still not exactly a cosy act. Marissa Burgess tentatively meets the man behind the growl.
Andrew Lawrence is a comedian in a state of constant flux. Over the short time he’s been performing at the Edinburgh Fringe, he’s taken not just three different subject matters but adopted three entirely different tones. His first show in 2006 unveiled a murderous singing sociopath to an unsuspecting and quite scared public. The following year was, dare we suggest, a more accessible affair that enabled him to begin to do the Jongleurs circuit, able to cope with the rowdy crowds without having to threaten to cut them and drain off their blood for sausages.
‘As a naive teenager, stand-up seemed really exciting and dangerous, something with no rules or boundaries,’ recalls Lawrence. ‘I like to think it can still be like this, but the more you learn of the rules and conventions of stand-up, the more difficult it becomes not to follow them.’
Sitting in a bar high above central London chatting amiably but not making eye contact (it would have been wholly disappointing had he turned out to be happy, bounding and puppy-like in real life: he’s more tortured cat struggling in a bag by the riverside), Lawrence discusses his latest show, the call to apathy entitled Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There!
‘It’s about how you can try very hard in life, but it won’t necessarily get you anywhere or do you any good,’ he explains in his natural Tom Waits-like gravelly voice. ‘When I was a little boy my parents wanted me to do something decent with my life, saying, “You can achieve anything you set your mind to, sky’s your limit, world’s your oyster”. Then as I gradually got older and they noticed the distinct lack of talent, they increasingly stopped saying you can achieve anything you set your mind to and started saying, “Try your best son, that’s all that you can do.”’
So why this latest change from the young man who once expressed his desire to kill his loved ones in their sweaty beds before transforming, briefly, into a family-friendly psychopath? ‘I guess I wanted to do a kind of social commentary show,’ he says. ‘I always like to use Edinburgh to do something very different; to explore my range a little bit. So many people go up year after year to do the same slightly reworked show talking about the same stuff.’ One thing you can certainly say about Andrew Lawrence: he’s far from your average act.
Andrew Lawrence, Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, 1–24 Aug (not 13), 9.45pm, £10–£11.50 (£8.50–£10). Previews until 31 Jul, £5.