Guildford comedian Tom Lucy on starting in comedy, his first gig and The Edinburgh Festival
PUBLISHED: 12:31 10 September 2018 | UPDATED: 12:31 10 September 2018
Having grown up in Guildford and honed his comedy first at school and then touring the town’s pubs, Tom Lucy is once again heading to entertain the masses at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival
Last year you went down a storm at The Edinburgh Festival. How will you approach your return (August) this year?
2017 was an amazing year for me at Edinburgh. It was my first solo show there, and it went down very well. This year I am working on new material for my Reluctant Millennial tour, which includes dates at the Edinburgh Festival. The main thrust of it is why I don’t feel like a child of the Millennium, and why I’m not sure I want to be!
Your started your comedy routines at school in Surrey, was that useful practice for the ‘real thing’?
It felt very much like the real thing! It is incredibly nerve-racking standing up in front of your peers but it was very good practice indeed. I went to Hurtwood House, which is very big on performance arts in all its forms. We had Friday lunchtime sessions where anyone could get up and perform, and, to my relief, my act got a lot of laughs. The eadmaster asked me to do a set every Friday, which I did for two years. A real baptism of fire, but fantastic experience.
Where was your first public gig?
I grew up in Guildford, so I was lucky that so many pubs are willing to take a chance and encourage new acts. At 17 I was doing Open Mike sessions at The Star and The Stoke, but my first public gig was probably at the Abinger Hatch, a lovely, quiet country pub. I don’t think the customers quite knew what was going on when this unknown teenager got up and started cracking jokes!
How did you leap from local gigs to the wider world of comedy?
After Hurtwood House, I went to Bristol University to study drama but was doing gigs at random places. I got a manager who amazingly promised to get me enough work to make it a full time job. So I had to quit my course, but I don’t regret that. I have been lucky enough to get regular work ever since.
Have you found support or inspiration from any big names in comedy?
Oh yes, I have been very lucky in that respect. I have been the support act for Michael McIntyre, Jack Whitehall, John Bishop and others. In fact, to my amazement Michael McIntyre got in touch with me to support his show. I was thrilled because I love his type of humour. It is very funny, but never aggressive, and very much observational, calling on every day tales. I hope my humour is along those lines too. All the people I have supported have been incredibly generous with their time and advice. Really, it is the best thing you can do to get going. It gives you confidence to perform and a real taste of what it is like to perform at the big venues.
You get support at those times, but otherwise is it a one man journey?
I guess it is fairly solitary. I spend a lot of time on my own working on material. But I stay close to my friends and family for support, and inspiration. They unknowingly provide a lot of my material!
What do you do in your down time?
There isn’t much down time, even if I am out, as I am always thinking about new material. I like going to the cinema and theatre, and often that inspires me to write or add something to a show as any form of the arts can spark an idea. I went to the Trafalgar Studios in London the other day and saw Killer Jo. It was such a brilliant play, the music and lights – the whole thing made me want to get out and perform.
Do you get back down to Surrey much now you live in London?
Yes, I do. I come back to see my family, and I often go to the Kings Arms in Guildford to catch up with old mates. We are still going to MNG (Monday Night Guildford) but I am not sure at what age we’ll stop, quite soon I imagine as we’ve been going since we were about 15!
Have you been to any music gigs recently?
I saw The Rolling Stones last week. They were amazing! To still be performing at such a great level after so many years is simply incredible. I think that managing to maintain interest and a following in any area of the arts for so many years is something to be admired. If I can keep the interest going and make people laugh for half that time, I will be very happy.
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