Lauren Pattison is Lady Muck – 'My language is part of who I am. As is the gin'
- Brian Donaldson
- 13 July 2017
As this rising stand-up comedian makes her full Fringe debut, she argues a bit of swearing is fine in her most personal show yet
'I'm scum and proud of it'. It's not the usual preamble that debut stand-ups put into their first full Edinburgh show, but Lauren Pattison doesn't come across as a regular comic. At just 23 years of age, this Geordie has gained a master's degree in Theatre and Performance, and steadily honed her craft until she became ready to take the plunge into the Fringe.
After some work-in-progress shows last August and a support slot on Katherine Ryan's tour ('this would fill Katherine with rage, but I couldn't name any of the Kardashians'), she's now fully prepared for a month in one of the capital's hallowed spaces. 'The first time I was in Edinburgh was for the So You Think You're Funny semi-finals and I remember being in the Pleasance Courtyard and thinking "this is where the big boys are". And I'm getting to do it now.'
As people are wont to do, it's easy to try and pigeonhole a new act from the region they come from. Disappointingly, this profile is going to be no different: so, Pattison has the warm likeability of Jason Cook or Chris Ramsey, a filthy frankness that Sarah Millican would blush at, and a willingness to prepare as little for her shows as possible when they're at the gestating stage that brings her into Ross Noble's orbit.
But Pattison is working towards being very much her own woman; staying true to herself, this has involved a decent amount of swearing. 'I'm not one of those people who puts on any airs and graces, and I have been called out about my language on stage. But I think, "if I was a 23-year-old white male I wouldn't be called out for my language"; a lot of it does boil down to gender. After a show some people say "oh, you're quite the pottymouth aren't you?" I find that so patronising. My language is part of who I am. As is the gin.'
If Pattison was ever to receive an invite to be sozzled on Comedy Central's Drunk History (she has already done a spot of acting on the programme as Mary, Queen of Scots' courtier) she would relish the opportunity, but with one slight concern: 'I do like a drink and would probably ruin my life in about five minutes'.
If she can avoid sabotaging her career, Pattison certainly has a pathway to potential greatness mapped out. First stop is Lady Muck. 'I scrapped everything I'd done in my work-in-progress show except for one throwaway joke about not being very lady-like and I then focused on that idea. The show has now changed into learning how to embrace all your flaws and insecurities. It's the most personal material I've ever written. At first that was hard; there was one bit that the audience laughed at, but for me it was very hard to talk about. I've had people coming up after a show and saying "I don't know what you've done but you've really gone up a level". I'm like "thanks, I've just ripped out my life and put it on stage for you".'
It's the kind of thing she would never do in front of one particular audience: the children who show up at The Stand in Newcastle and watch her do Comedy for Kids. 'I find that way more scary than doing comedy for adults. I'll be standing at the side of the stage before going on just terrified. If a kid doesn't like you they are ruthless. Adults have a filter which might stop them from heckling: kids just do not.'
Little ones won't be getting anywhere near Lady Muck, given its 16+ Fringe certificate and ultimately it'll be grown-up crowds who will help her on the road to where she wants to be. And in an industry that seems geared to having your face on the box as quickly as possible, Pattison seems reassuringly determined in her ambitions. 'One day I'd like to do TV but I love stand-up so much that my focus just now is on being a great circuit act. If someone gave me a choice of gigging every night or having a chat show, I'd pick a full diary of live dates. I hear people saying "oh I just want to be on Live at the Apollo". You've done two gigs mate: calm down!'
Lauren Pattison: Lady Muck, Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 5–28 Aug (not 14), 5.45pm, £7.50–£10 (£7–£9.50). Previews 2–4 Aug, £6.