HAVING conquered her fears in Flight or Fight, found peace in Mangled Mantra and reflected in Clownbusting, Zoe Lyons’ latest tour is facing down her most toe-curlingly embarrassing moments.
With a decade of stand-up behind her, the comedienne has performed on a host of comedy shows including Mock the Week and Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow.
But in Pop Up Comic, she reveals the occasions when those TV appearances haven’t quite gone to plan...
“I was on the Christmas special of University Challenge. I’d assumed, because they asked me, it would be a University Challenge light, a sort of CBeebies version.
“When I got there, I realised no... some of my teammates had worked on the Hadron Collider.
“It was one of the most buttock-clenchingly embarrassing moments, when you realise you’re the thickest person in the room.”
The 41-year-old said she’d seen the comedy circuit boom since her first gig, in a smokey little London pub ten years ago, but the difficulties facing female stand-ups still remained.
“There was far less stand up on TV when I started. I suppose now, there’s an environment where people believe you do a few gigs for a few years and be on telly.
“To be fair, it does happen for some. If you’re in the right place, with the right face.
“But there does seem to be a focus on youth and blokes.
“It’s very frustrating and really boring.
“Like every other business there is an underlying level of misogyny.
“If you look at certain panel shows, you’ll have male comedian, male comedian, pretty female presenter, male comedian...
“There seems to be no emphasis on having funny women there.”
And Zoe refuses to be pigeon holed by her sexuality as a ‘lesbian comic’.
“I do mention (my sexuality), because it’s part of who I am but it’s not the core of my comedy.
“I mean, I’d be bored **** if I went to see someone who just talked about their boyfriend or husband. What’s the difference?”
Zoe Lyons will be at Warwick Arts Centre on February 24 and Birmingham Glee on March 8.