Interview with comedian Lucy Frederick

"It's really expensive and stressful for performers taking a show to Edinburgh, but once you get there the atmosphere is unlike anywhere else. Your mates are all doing shows nearby and everyone is putting it all out there and trying their best."

Interview with comedian Lucy Frederick

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

Hello! My name is Lucy Frederick and I am a comedian based in South London. I live with best-dog-ever Heston the Jack Russell, my two step kids and my husband who has only fairly recently become my husband when we got married in September 2021. 

How would you describe your show?

My show is about being a fat bride. When I got married, I wanted all the stuff - the big cake, the flowers, the weeping and a massive frock. But the lead up to a wedding when you're a lady person is fraught with pitfalls that remind you that you're not the archetypal princess and that everyone expects you to shed a few stones before you walk down the aisle. Loving your body takes work and fending off the intrusive thoughts that tell you you're not worth a big juicy wedding takes constant vigilance. My show is about that. 

Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe?

I do ask myself this question a lot! It's really expensive and stressful for performers taking a show to Edinburgh, but once you get there the atmosphere is unlike anywhere else. Your mates are all doing shows nearby and everyone is putting it all out there and trying their best. It's the only place you can perform a show for a whole month to people from all over the world; and maybe have people come to see it who can change the course of your career. 

What differentiates it from other festivals?

The community of it. I love Brighton Festival too, but you can walk through Brighton while the festival is on and not really know about all the shows. In Edinburgh it's everywhere and it's all encompassing. I always stay with a really good friend who lives in Leith, and every day I walk up the hill and as soon as you get to the top of Leith Walk you're in it; flyers, street performers, tourists - the whole city is buzzing. 

What first motivated you to enter the industry? Who were your inspirations?

I trained as an actor initially but after a while I just wanted to tell my own stories. I never really valued being funny as a skill - I wanted to be in the RSC knocking out the Duchess of Malfi or a Queen Margaret. I'd still like to do a bit of Shakespeare but as soon as I did my first ever gig I knew stand up was my home. And writing an hour is my favourite part of that because you can tell a whole story with all the facets - not just the lighthearted quick laughs. Before I'd even thought about doing stand-up though I was a huge fan of Eddie Izzard, Victoria Wood and French and Saunders - but then again who isn't?!

How has your background, upbringing and education had an impact on your artistic career?

I went to a really expensive private school because I had an assisted place (meaning someone else paid my school fees). My mum was massively adamant that whatever happens to you, no one can take away your education. While I do now see her logic, it wasn't necessarily the greatest choice for me. I actually went to school with Holly Willoughby (off the telly) and my memory of it is being surrounded by girls who looked a lot like her and were vastly more affluent than me. It was a school that sent young women into law and medicine so telling people you want to be an actor was like casually announcing you were thinking of prostitution. But I got into the National Youth Theatre at the age of 16 and that lit a bit of a fire for me. My mum went to Arts Ed in the 60s actually but never went into acting, so she was always extremely supportive of my artistic career. She didn't live long enough to see me do stand-up sadly but I think she would have liked it. 

What is your earliest childhood art memory?

I was in a Christmas play type thing at probably about 6-years-old or so. I played the witch, and I had a black cape with shiny blue stars on it which I thought was completely marvellous. I remember adding a flamboyant cape swish in and getting a laugh... So obviously I did it at every opportunity for the rest of the show! 

If you didn’t have your current job, what would you probably be doing?

I'd be teaching. I used to work in special education running Trinity [College London] Arts Awards and I loved doing that. In fact, I am still a school governor at the last school I worked at. 

Did Covid-19 change the way you create work? Do you approach shows with a different mentality now?

Not really. I found Zoom gigs and the like absolutely vile on the whole. I wanted to write a book but with home schooling and ballooning anxiety levels I just couldn't get anything out of my head and onto paper. The main difference Covid made was I try not to grizzle and moan about the crappy gigs now. Just being in front of a live crowd is a luxury! 

Describe the last year in 5 words or less?

Fast, busy. Worrying political climate.

Do you subscribe to the idea that art should be exempt from ‘cancel culture’?

There's not really any such thing as cancel culture. Most of the people who whine about having been cancelled are doing it from a big fat platform like 'a column in a national newspaper' or 'the BBC'. Louis CK is on tour, Kevin Spacey has a film coming out soon... the list goes on. So no, I don't think art should be exempt from holding people to account for what they say and how they treat people. And if people stop booking you or buying your stuff because you treated someone badly or broke the law then I guess maybe consider not doing those things?

If you could work with anybody, from any point in history, who would you pick and why?

I'd work with Julie Walters and Victoria Wood. Everything they did together was beautiful and hilarious. Such a great brand of poignant and sad mixed with ridiculousness. 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take a show up to the fringe?

Save up! Everything is expensive so make sure you've got to a point where you can afford it without leaving yourself completely screwed. The other piece of advice I've been given (from my agent in fact) is to know exactly what you want to get out of taking a show; don't have a vague idea of reviews or getting a television producer in - decide what you want to get out of it and put in the research as to how to best achieve it. 

When and where can people see your show?

It's on at The Gilded Balloon Patterhoose at 3.40pm from August 3rd to 28th August except the 16th. 

And where can people find, follow and like you online?

@LucyFrederick on Twitter and Lucy_Frederick_Comedy on Instagram 

Lucy Frederick’s Big Fat Wedding, Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose (Coorie), 3.40pm, 3-28th (not 16). For tickets, visit: https://tickets.gildedballoon.co.uk/event/14:4160/ 

Header Image Credit: Karla Gowlett

Author

Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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