Laura Lexx: 'The arts are vital for our mental health'

This article is from 2019

Laura Lexx: 'The arts are vital for our mental health'

The Brighton-based comedian tells us about her eco-anxiety and how hip hop musical Hamilton is helping her view comedy in a different way

'I've stayed in some budget places before,' says Laura Lexx of a recent trip to Rotherham, 'but I've never quite felt so much like I was sleeping on the set of a low-budget murder drama series.' It's a glamorous existence, but hey, someone's gotta do it, and if there's one thing Lexx wants to do it's to get out into the real world and perform her amiable, socially-conscious comedy, creepy motels or otherwise.

Still, it's better than getting into arguments with strangers online, isn't it? 'I've felt increasingly like I wanted to be more vocal and speak out about things,' she says. 'But the second I do it online it's a headache of backlash from anywhere and everywhere. I suddenly realised, why do it online if that's not where I am my best self? If I'm a good comedian I should use that platform rather than trying to do something I'm unhappy doing.'

Knee Jerk is Lexx's latest show, which considers what it means to be a good person in 2019, and how difficult it is to not contribute to the impending collapse of civilisation. Having enjoyed 'poking fun in all directions', Lexx isn't in preachy mode, aware entirely of the challenges of the modern world and how the guilt can stack up. 'At the lowest ebb of my eco-anxiety, I couldn't even turn the lights on in my house without going into a sweaty panicked spiral about how I was ruining the planet,' she says. 'I'm now out the other side and trying to manage the guilt. I try and be the best I can be within the confines of my life's unbendable bits.'

She saw the stage phenomenon Hamilton recently, and was blown away by the show, and reminded again of the possibilities art can open up. That life-changing quality is possible in comedy too. 'I've always liked how comedies can show you fun and sadness and teach you about people,' she says. 'Pick any Robin Williams film and watch how he can take you through loads of emotions with barely an eye roll. Human life must make changes. The arts, however trivial they may appear, are vital for our mental health. If we can learn something from it and then two notions melt into one, all the better. We're a cool species.'

Laura Lexx: Knee Jerk, Gilded Balloon Teviot, 3–25 Aug (not 14), 5.15pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9). Previews 31 Jul–2 Aug, £6.

Laura Lexx: Knee Jerk

  • 4 stars

Lexx takes on society's big issues.