Arts Q&A: Comedian Lucy Porter on Caroline Aherne, Billy Connolly and erotic comedy

Jenny Lee puts performers and artists on the spot about what really matters to them. This week, comedian Lucy Porter

London comedian Lucy Porter brought her stand-up show Pass It On to Belfast's Out to Lunch Festival last weekend. The festival continues until January 27 (

1. When did you think about a career in comedy and what were your first steps into it? I first knew I wanted to be a comedian when my mum and dad laughed at my Dave Allen impression in the early 1980's, when I was only 8 – I used to hold a glass of whiskey and a cigarette and do jokes about nuns. I only worked up the courage to actually do a show some years later after uni, when I was living in Manchester, where there was a great comedy scene.

2. Best gigs you’ve been to? Caroline Aherne, Band on The Wall, Manchester in 1994. Caroline Aherne was one of the best stand-up comics I’ve ever seen. She used to do a weekly new material night at this music club on a Sunday, and I’ve never laughed so much in my life. Billy Connolly, Manchester Apollo in 1998. He did a three-night run and I went to every single night. Each show was different, apart from a tribute to Chick Murray in the middle, and he was breathtaking. Jerry Seinfeld, in a small room at Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas in 2004. I love his observational stuff and couldn’t believe my luck that I got to see him up close!

3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band? Radiohead. I absolutely love them but they’re quite miserable, and I’d find it funny to see people shuffling around to Karma Police or Creep at a supposedly happy occasion. I might see if they’ll play at my next birthday.

4. The record you’d take to a desert island? My dad was born in Belfast, and loved fellow northern Irishman Van Morrison, so I might take Astral Weeks.

5. And the book? Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos. It was made into a film with Marilyn Monroe, which is great, but the book is a hoot and it would cheer me up as I starved to death.

6. Top three films? Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Raining Stones and When Harry Met Sally.

7. Worst film you’ve seen? I have a bad film club with some friends, where we save up dreadful movies to show each other. There was one called Bikini Airlines that was meant to be an erotic comedy but didn’t raise a laugh or anything else.

8. Favourite authors? Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and James Joyce.

9. Sport you most enjoy and top team? Netball. When I was very little nuns taught me to play it, and I still laugh at the mental image of them bouncing around in their habits. I don’t really follow any other sports, so I guess my favourite team is the St Elphege’s Infant’s School team of 1981.

10. Ideal holiday destination? The Seychelles. It’s a ruddy paradise.

11. Pet hate? Cats. I have them as pets, and they hate me.

12. What’s your favourite:

Dinner? Mashed potato.

Dessert? Profiteroles.

Drink? Red wine.

13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other? Reena. We went to school together and played netball with the nuns.

14. Is there a God? I’m with Dave Allen when he said: "I’m an atheist… thank God!"

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