He’s the comedian who has rightfully set the internet ablaze with appearances on 8 out of 10 Cats Do Countdown and Live at The Apollo. Joe Lycett is also the joker who explores his sexuality through comedy. As he sets off on a UK tour, we get the low down from the funny guy who’s not quite like all the others.
Joe! You’re performing your show in Brighton at the Comedy Festival, are you excited? I’m really excited. I love doing gigs there. It’s one of the gigs I’m most looking forward to in the tour calendar.
What can we expect from the show? This show is a love letter to Birmingham. When I left to go to uni I really didn’t like it and I’ve fallen back in love with it. It’s also about a stag do that I went on, where I came across some quite alpha males, and I’m not like that. So yeah, I got quite a lot of comedy material out of one particular gentleman who shall remain nameless.
The tour is called That’s the way A-Ha A-Ha, Joe Lycett. What inspires your gloriously cheesy tour names? You delivered that beautifully, great delivery. What inspired the name? Ooh, a pun? Literally it’s got nothing to do with the show. The first show I did was called Some Lycett Hot and then the second was called, which is my personal favourite, If you Lycett Then You Should Have Put A Ring On It. This one seems to have been the most popular. I thought if I can make people laugh with the show title before they come then that’s a small victory.
And you’ve just done a sold out run at the Edinburgh Fringe, how was that? Really fun! I mean, it’s an endurance. Most shows somebody I know comes, I’ll go for a drink with them afterwards and then you just repeat that every day for a month. Quite a damaged liver but it was very good fun. There’s so many amazing little one-off events.
Back to Brighton, there are a lot nice guys and girls around, is meeting people going to be on the agenda while you’re there? I agree, Brighton is full of very attractive senoras and senoritas. Fun city for that deffo…
So when you’re looking for relationships do you look for funny people or is that too much competition? I think a sense of humour is very important in a [pauses] courtship. But it’s only part of it and it’s only part of life. You want somebody who’s understanding, if someone’s trying to be funny all the time it’s a bloody nightmare. Why ANYONE would date a comedian…
You’re openly bi, how do you find talking about your sexuality in your comedy? As I’ve gone further through my career, it’s become something which I realise is more important. At first it was an opportunity to get out some gags. In this new show I try and delve into it and talk about what people’s perceptions are of bisexuality. In a funny way, not too heavy. I talk about pansexuality a little bit as well.
I identify more now as pan. I didn’t know what that was until about a year or so ago. I was doing a gig and there was someone who described herself as hetero-romantic-pansexual which means she has relationships with men but she is sexually attracted to all genders. Gender is fluid and I think it’s absolutely fascinating so I talk about that a little bit in the show. I think it’s important some people do publicly go “Hey, I’m not straight and I’m not gay. I’m somewhere in the middle and that’s ok. Nobody really gives a shit and it’s funny.
There are some gay comedians around, like Graham Norton or Alan Carr, but there don’t seem many who aren’t straight or gay. Why do you think that is? I think there’s more than you realise. I just go on and on about it – It’s all I’ve got to talk about! Some people go with the flow and don’t want to talk about it. They just are who they are and their stand-up is about taking on politics or whatever. I’m a bit more introspective, I suppose. Here’s a problem with the way the media represents sexuality and gender in general. I think gay men are far better represented than gay women, for example. I think there’s a lot of very successful famous gay men but not as many sort of forefront lesbians. And I think that is something we should address. I think more people are talking about it because they can, whereas in the past they thought everyone would just be like “what?” These days, people are a bit more open-minded.
Would you say you have a part to play in that representation for diverse sexualities in comedy? It’s hard really because I don’t want to pitch myself as an ambassador for anyone not cis. It’s quite cathartic in a very selfish way. I think it plays a part in my own processing of sexuality. If other people gain some comfort from it then that’s really exciting. I don’t see myself as some sort of flag-bearer for bi and pan issues. Sexuality is so personal and you can get caught up in making sweeping statements about everybody. That isn’t fair really. I feel like a politician all of a sudden!
And you tweet about politics from time to time. Are you for Corbyn or Cameron? Definitely more Corbyn than Cameron but I don’t know what I think about the whole Corbyn thing. He’s so lovely isn’t he? I’m worried that the political system will grind him down. But I hope he does well. Cameron though, he’s got some lovely suits hasn’t he? He’s very handsome when he wants to be. I think he’s got certain things going for him. I’m definitely more Corbyn than Cameron. I struggle to engage with everything Cameron does in the world because a lot of it is horrible but I imagine Corbyn has done some things in his time as well. Haven’t we all?
Jeremy Corbyn is your mate's dad who picks you up at 2am after a night out in a Skoda Octavia that smells of fags and dogs.
— Joe Lycett (@joelycett) September 14, 2015
Well what horrendous things have you done…? Oh bodies are mounting up. Nah I’ve never done anything particularly horrendous, I definitely haven’t cut tax benefits for the poor. But I’ve probably done something similar when drunk. I’ve probably destroyed a whole generation somewhere. At some point.
Would you get involved in politics if you get tired of comedy? I think it’s a bit crass when people go into politics as a sort of last resort. I like a leisurely life. I think politics would be far too engaging and take too much of my time. I like to be in the bath for at least two hours a day and I don’t know if that’s allowed for politicians.
You like to be in the bath for two hours a day?! I love a bath. I’ll lie in the bath with my phone and I’ll do emails and stuff. Because there’s a chance it might fall in the bath and kill me or at least destroy the phone. That makes it so exciting, it makes life really perilous. At any point just sending an email to EE to tell them to fuck off, you could die. So I love that. It’s so nice to be in the bath and shrivel up like a little plum.
So how else do you treat yourself? I love a wine. A posh red wine. And I eat very well: I have a lot of halloumi in my life. It’s one of my great loves, I suppose. I’ve started getting back into video games but not the sort I should be. I’m into a game called Animal Crossing which is a child’s video game where you’re the mayor of a town and you have to like pick fruit and sell it to them to invest in public works. I’ve just opened a cafe and it’s created a real buzz in the town.
Was being a comedian, always the dream? No. I don’t know what the dream was really. The dream changes depending on the day really. The dream of Monday morning is very different to the dream of Friday night. I was always envious when I watched anyone doing stand-up well. I’ve been doing it 8 years now and I’m fully addicted to it. It’s in the blood. I can’t live without it. I just did my first gig in two weeks last night, and it was like having that hit again. Not that I’ve done heroine but I imagine it’s what it’s like doing heroine after two weeks off. I love it.
The dream of Monday morning is very different to the dream of Friday night.
You’re a big face in the media, there must be a lot of online haters. How do you deal with abuse? [Sings] I shake it off! What a song. I’m fortunate, I don’t get that much. What I do is if someone sends me a hate-tweet, I’ll just block them. It’s very simple. When you’re contacting someone to tell them to go and die then I think you’re probably not someone to keep in contact with. It certainly used to upset me and now I sort of don’t really mind.
The Brighton Comedy Festival is from 9th-24th October 2015.
Check out Joe’s hilarious stand-up at Live At The Apollo:
Words – Max Ramsay