Stand-up comedian Elf Lyons has enjoyed taking her SWAN tour around the country with more dates still upcoming, including two dates as part of Brighton Fringe at Komedia on 22nd and 23rd May. Later this year, Elf will be debuting her new show Chiff Chaff at the Edinburgh Fringe, where her show SWAN was nominated for ‘Best Show’ in 2017. Ahead of her shows in Brighton, we catch up with Elf to find out about her SWAN tour, how she got her name and her plans for while in Brighton.
How did you get into comedy?
A bet was taken far too far.
How did the name Elf come about?
When I was eighteen, I was a long ungainly ginger with short hair. My school nickname was EAL (standing for Emily-Anne Lyons). I wore a lot of glitter and a lot of your grandmother’s clothes. Whilst volunteering at a vegan cafe in Edinburgh a yoga instructor who I subsequently made out with under an organ whilst Daniel Kitson performed at the Forest Fringe coined the nickname ELF as he said I resembled an Elf more than I did a long slippery underwater predator. After that, the nickname stuck but I dropped the yoga instructor.
Are there any comedians you would like to work alongside?
If I had the opportunity to have a touring circus of comedy awesome it would probably have to consist of: Emo Phillips, Spymonkey, Garry Starr, Mawaan Rizwaan, Helen Duff, Lucy Hopkins, Siblings sketch duo, Gordon Southern, Kat Bond, Lucy Pearman and Norris & Parker.
Will this be your first time playing at Brighton Fringe?
Nope! I performed my first ever forty minutes Elf Lyons is a Pervert in 2014 when I was youthful little comedy dumpling of nerves.
Is there anyone else on the line-up you are particularly looking forward to seeing?
Rob Kemp’s The Elvis Dead is one of my favourite shows ever, Josh Glanc and his show Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chamedian is just amazing. Garry Starr performs Everything is SUPER FUN. Lucy Hopkins Le Foulard is a force to be reckoned with and I CAN’T WAIT to see Olga Koch and Grainne Maguire’s new shows too.
Will you be spending more time in Brighton other than your show days?
I adore Brighton, so yes. Late night fish and chips on the pebbled beach and early morning coffee near the Lanes is what I live for. Will aim to catch a live music gig too probably.
Have you performed or attended a show at Komedia before?
What has the reaction been like to your tour so far?
It’s been amazing. Human beings are really nice. And are VERY good at pretending to be swans when asked to.
What are your plans once the SWAN tour ends?
Several million things are on the cards currently. One of them is hopefully a holiday, or a bath of some sort… but crucially I am developing my new show Chiff Chaff for the Edinburgh Fringe and in October I am performing MEDUSA at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton as part of their NST Laboratory with director Ian Nicholson.
What made you decide to base your tour on Swan Lake?
Why not? It made me happy. It’s a silly idea and I was certain very few other comics would be doing it.
How long does it take to put a show together?
In my opinion you never finish putting the show together – you keep on developing it every single show – and the moment it is ‘finished’ – you stop it. Every performance of Swan is different – and the show it was in August is very different to the show it is now. This show was very fun to make and the moment I stop enjoying it, is the moment I will stop considering performing it again.
How does it feel to be nominated and winning awards?
What can people expect when booking one of your workshops for their group?
That would be giving away all my secrets…. mwahahahhahhaha….
What advice would you give to any young comedians starting out?
Just do it. Don’t invite your friends to the first twenty – it’s important to discover your on stage personality on your own. Remember that it’s okay to be bad. Embrace it. You will be awful at the beginning. And then you’ll get better. Hopefully. Always try new things and experiment. If an idea makes you happy and you are happy talking about it, then do it.
Follow Elf on:
Buy tickets to see Elf perform at Komedia at Brighton Fringe Festival: