Thursday, April 16, 2009

Very public relations with funny lady Lucy Porter

When it comes to crisis management we do not often find Morgan PR helping out comedians! However, tonight we were at Arlington Arts to see the comic Lucy Porter and I found myself throwing her a lifeline - or rather a lively line as her show ended.

Together with Diane we were brazenly sat front and centre and like many of those in the front row found ourselves interacting with the petitie comic. Some of you will be breaking out in a sweat at the mere thought of sitting at the front of a combative comedy show, but as a veteran comedy reviewer it rarely bothers me - although even I am wary of the blitz style comedians who bludgen you rather than risk a witty heckle.

Comedians are often surprised at how comfortable I am - when Russell Howard - the West Country funny guy on Mock the Week - was at this venue and tried to get a rise out of me he gave up saying it felt like lapdance comedy!

I actually stopped reviewing comedy a few years ago when I realised my reviews were getting ever more harsh even though upon reflection that my guests and the rest of the audience had thoroughly enjoyed themselves. So now we tend to be quite choosy about what we go and see, and having found Lucy Porter entertaining when we saw her last year at South Street in Reading, we came back for seconds.

She has a disarming charm that lulls the audience into relaxing, before her potty mouth and wicked sense of humour jump to the fore and delightfully shock. It was an innocent story about her singing while doing chores at home that prompted one audience member to ask if she sang on the toilet. So began a rich vein of humour that had Lucy asking the audience for suggestions of appropriate - or rather inappropriate songs.

I offered up Queen's 'Flash Gordon', where Flash would become flush - which kinda worked but I knew I could do better. And I pondered as the show marched on and she promised the show would finish with the 'song'.

However at the end the suggestions were poor and it was in danger of falling flat... which was when I offered, with reassuringly good comic timing, the Kate Bush song 'Wuthering Heights', with the second word being substituted with an altogether more scatalogical term! It worked and went down a storm.

The really interesting benefit of the interaction was the discovery of just how many people in the audience knew us, many stopping to say hello at the end. So being funny can be great public relations!

It also meant we were still chatting when Lucy Porter popped out to collect her bits and we got chatting with her generously saying 'Wuthering Heights' had saved the show. We swapped stories on legendary heckles - including one I am responsible for that has since been told by other comedians - but that one is NSFW - Not Safe For Work.

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