Zoe Lyons: 'I think he lost a knacker'
- Jay Richardson
- 3 December 2018
The Brighton-based comic and wannabe chef tours with her Entry Level Human show
Sixteen years in and Zoe Lyons' stand-up career has been a slow-burner. Winner of the Comedian's Comedian Award and Chortle Best Club Comic Award in 2017, her acclaimed current show, Entry Level Human, notched her first Edinburgh Fringe total sell-out. 'I'm going to sound a bit philosophical and awfully like a wanker', she reflects. 'But life is a journey and my career has been enjoyable actually. Comedians are a competitive, self-centred bunch and we obviously like it when success comes along. But I'm happy with this gradual, gentle build. I reckon I've got another 20 years in the tank.'
Lyons recently competed in Celebrity MasterChef. Her potatoes in wine were 'quite a hit, two barrel-loads' worth', but a 'two soups' homage to Victoria Wood resulted in her elimination at the semi-final stage. 'They were absolutely disgusting,' she admits. 'Gregg [Wallace] actually said he couldn't eat it, which I've never heard on MasterChef before.'
Her burgeoning profile has also seen her front a marketing campaign for holiday operator Tui with fellow comic Mark Watson, involving an odd-couple jolly to Jamaica. 'He turned up with a couple of books and three jumpers,' she recalls. 'It was great fun watching him on a zipline. My god, he has no co-ordination whatsoever! I think he lost a knacker.'
Both her stand-up and recent Radio 4 series, Passport Paddy, about reclaiming her Irish roots, betray Lyons' Brexit concerns and ambivalence about patriotism. Yet having experienced an itinerant upbringing, she long ago settled in Brighton and has written a self-starring sitcom about the city for comic Barry Castagnola's production company. Meanwhile, in Entry Level Human's memorable portrayal of a drunken fly, there's a nod to her adolescence in Glasgow. 'He wasn't Scottish originally but somehow it's just funnier than him being from the home counties.'
Zoe Lyons: Entry Level Human is on tour until Thu 21 Feb.