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Published on September 7th, 2011 | by Amanda

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Comedy Interview/Review: Lisa Joyce “Back to School”

Lisa Joyce is an up-and-coming comedian who has been creating a storm around Dublin. With some very prestigious awards under her belt she decided it was time to venture out on her own and do a one woman show! I caught up with before her recent gig in The Twisted Pepper to discuss comedy and being a female comedian in Dublin!

What made you want to get into comedy?
Well I was in college in Galway and did a few gigs which went really well. Then I did a gig which went really badly, it was during rag week and it made me want to stop. I stopped doing comedy after that. Then I moved to Dublin and started doing a few open mic nights and slots here and there and it was going well. Then I had the idea that I wanted to do my own show and here I am!

Do you find it tough being a female comedian in what seems like a male dominated profession?
When you watch shows like The Panel you assume it’s only male comedians, but when you go out into the circuit there are actually quite a lot of female comedians. It’s tough cos it’s easier for the lads to socialise with each other. Most of the time there is only one female comedian on the bill on any one night so that can be tough as you don’t get to meet other female comedians very often. On the other hand, this can be easier to get you noticed as you are something different from the norm. It’s hard to get over the stereotype that “female comedians are not funny” but if someone doesn’t want to listen to you they won’t, there isn’t a lot you can do about that.

You have won some prestigious awards such as Capital Comedy Club “Best of New Comedians 2010” this must have boosted your self confidence?
Yes it did. There is a lot of competition on the comedy circuit in Dublin. You need to have that edge. Mine is being able to say that I have these awards behind me. I also do improv work along with my stand up comedy. At the moment I am doing improv with Karnage

How do you come up with your material?

Well I take stuff that happens to me in real life and try to make it funny! I don’t exaggerate or add stuff as I don’t feel the need to do that. I think if comedians try to do that it looks unnatural on stage and the audience can sense that. To write a show, I think of a theme and build from there. I want to talk about myself but make it interesting at the same time. It’s a fine balance sometimes!

So how do you keep your material fresh?

Well there are certain things I always use. For example I always use the material about the fact that I look like I’m 12. Especially for people who haven’t seen me before. They could be sitting there thinking “is she even old enough to be let into this pub?” Apart from that I try to do as much new material as possible to keep it fresh

What has been the most difficult thing for you so far?
Oh there has been a few. That gig in Galway was a very tough time for me. It made me want to give up comedy so it was a very difficult thing to go through. When I came to Dublin and started doing comedy again, doing the competitions were very difficult. There were times when I thought, why am I putting myself through this? They are tough.

So if other people would be thinking of entering them, what would your advice be to them?
Don’t! Nah, Test it a few times, maybe about 10 times if it doesn’t work try something else. Sometimes with them it can depend on the audience. You can have audiences who are smilers, in that they can be really enjoying your show but are just not laughing which can be tough for a comedian. These things happen.

And your best experience so far?
That would have to be when I started doing my show, I didn’t think I would be able to hold an audience’s attention for any length of time. My first show felt like I had been on stage for days! When you spend a lot of time writing and the show actually happens – it’s the best feeling in the world.

What can we expect from the show?
Well I will be talking about my time at school, getting drunk and college and the bits in between! There will also be my support act Shane Hughes from Tullamore who has only been doing comedy for a few months but looks and sounds like he has been doing it for years. Oh and course there will be retro sweets provided very generously by Happy Pills.

So Lisa your show is called “Back to School”, I have to ask….What’s your craziest memory of school?
Ah now I will be giving away all my secrets from the show! I’ll tell you one story. When I was in primary school, it was a prefab building; there were holes in the walls. The principal wanted the smallest head in the class to fit through the hole as we were going to be on the news. That girl was me. So I was on the news waving and smiling in the background with Anne Doyle reading out about bad the condition was of our school!

Lisa Joyce

It was this and more outrageous stories that I heard during Lisa’s show tonight! The show promised to celebrate times when you feel like you’re back in the classroom and wondering how to fit in.” Laughs guaranteed! Did it deliver?


The answer is yes and then some! Lisa was supported by Shane Hughes who I have a vague recollection of seeing before. Shane was a delight to watch. He has only being doing comedy a few months and to see him on stage, you would think he had being doing it a few years. He has won many competitions such as Best of the Fest and Battle of the Axe. This guy had some great material and yes some of it is close to the bone but he is charming enough to make it work, and by his own admission if a guy can make a girl laugh, your half way there! I have to say I kinda agree with him! This guy is definitely one to watch in the future.

Shane winning "Best of the Fest"

We were also treated to a spur of the moment performance by another comedian called John Sheehan who was quite literally sitting beside me one minute and then on stage the next telling jokes. It was a very surreal moment. I was very impressed. He was very funny and had some great material, especially considering nothing was rehearsed!

Now to get onto the main woman herself. I have to admit I was not sure what to expect, I had seen Lisa in the International Bar a few weeks back and had quite enjoyed her 10 or so minute slot then but you know the feeling when you haven’t seen a comedian perform a solo show before? That’s how I felt.
However Lisa Joyce may be tiny in stature but is certainly making a big name for herself on stage though. Her witty observations of everyday life were hilarious. Her tales of school and college life hit a nerve with the audience which I think made them even funnier to experience as we were laughing along thinking, yes I remember that happening to me too! I really liked the fact that there was some audience participation involved also. Lisa is not afraid to delve into her life to entertain which is something I really admire in her and in her own words is not afraid of embarrassing herself!

Her ability to engage with the audience is quite refreshing and considering how short a time she has been on the comedy circuit is a good omen for what is to come from her I think. I really enjoyed the show and what made me like it most is the ease at which Lisa seemed to own the stage. She was very comfortable and seemed to be having a chat with the audience. This was kind of nice I think. At the same time, it is very clear that she works hard at her material. We got the best of both worlds.
And of course we can’t forget the free sweets, oh and there were lollipops too! Very generously supplied from Happy Pills of Temple Bar. They were very tasty!

Overall I had a great night. Lisa is definitely one to watch. She is going to be a huge star on the comedy circuit.

Check out her Facebook: Facebook.com/thatlisajoyce and Twitter: @thatlisajoyce for more information on upcoming gigs.

If you fancy catching Shane Hughes, he is playing on the 21st September at The Mercantile Bar and also throughout November at the Sheebeen Chic and the Mercantile. He can be found on Facebook at: Facebook.com/shanehughes or Twitter: @thehugheslad

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About the Author

So here is my bio.....hmmm...So.... I write obviously! I like to talk too (sometimes even to random strangers!) :) and take photos! I read a bit too. I love going to comedy gigs, cinema, just being out basically it seems! For more randomness from my head, visit my blog http://pixiedust4.wordpress.com :)



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