I’m not sure I’ve ever been as moved and emotionally invested in an hour’s comedy set than I have during Lauren Pattison’s show at Soho Theatre. Comedy lands best when you can relate to it, when empathy plays a part and you just… get it.
As the 2014 Funny Women Awards finalist emerged from the darkness of the back corner of the room and made her way to the mic I wanted to high five her. And steal her outfit. A fellow Geordie! With sequins galore! By the end of her show I wanted to hug her.
The 18 month journey she takes us on is not just one of a break-up, but one of growth and empowerment. She describes herself as a woman who’s struggled with her ‘baby face’, her plain appearance and her insecurities and anxiety. Her long-term boyfriend ‘ghosted’ her, broke her heart and then continued to let her down when she sought to find out about her flaws. This strikes a relatable blow for pretty much every woman in the audience, I imagine. As women, we take on the blame for our flaws, instead of accepting and embracing them.
Lauren narrates hilarious stories about her less than ‘ladylike’ antics, accepting and playing on the Geordie stereotype of boozing and swearing like a trooper at a gig, only to be told by a comedy fan ‘a pretty little thing’ like her should not swear so much. Sexism in comedy exists. ‘Just because you don’t see it or experience doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen’ she declares.
It’s not until she goes on a night out, gathers some confidence and takes a guy home who baulks at her psoriasis and behaves like a general ‘cunt’ (she has no qualms using this word throughout the show!) that she has a revelation: she is not at all comfortable in her own skin.
Lauren uses her platform to combine her sharp and sassy wit – not for the prudish or easily offended- with a genuine authentic storytelling, to tell a very important story of female empowerment. She spent too much time seeking validation from others to fuel her confidence, instead of embracing the awesome person she is. She told a personal story, through her tears, and made it so excruciatingly relatable to the experiences of nearly every 20 something woman that we shared her tears.
With her unique style, her powerful opinions and ability to call back and deconstruct her material she is a formidable talent. I felt proud of and happy for how far she’s come… and thankfully managed to hold back on the hug I so wanted to give her! Lauren is lucky to have gone through this journey of empowerment at her age. Women go into their thirties and beyond with less and I thank her for using her comedy to inspire other women.
Lauren, I reassure you, you’re doing the right thing. Don’t sell out for anyone else. Continue to be utterly true to yourself. The right person is the person who embraces your flaws as a fundamental part of your wonderful and hilarious character!