Becky Lucas uses fellow pedestrians as cannon fodder for her newest show
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Becky Lucas uses fellow pedestrians as cannon fodder for her newest show

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When you’re a stand-up comedian, inspiration can strike basically anywhere. In conversation, in passing, on the bus, on the street. Ever attentive to her surroundings, Becky Lucas’ ears pricked up one afternoon when she found herself walking behind two girls in deep conversation. “They were speaking to each other about a job they didn’t get at their work place,” explains Lucas.

“One of the girls was really indignant about it – she was like, ‘I don’t know why I didn’t get it. I mean, I’m funny, I’m smart, I’m better than him, I’m confident, I’m cool’. I couldn’t help but laugh, honestly. Like, good on you for pushing and believing in yourself, but try not to be so much of a dick sometimes. You probably are great at your job, but you can really come across as being really up yourself. It became this mantra, this hilarious joke mantra.”

And so it was that Lucas’ 2018 festival show title came to be: cute funny smart sexy beautiful. Accompanied by a glossy glamour shot for the poster, Lucas hopes the wink at superficiality is a litmus test of sorts for those that might want to take a gamble and book themselves a ticket. “If you don’t get the title, then maybe don’t come to the show,” she advises. “There’s always a few people that are like, ‘What do you mean you’re calling it that?’ They’re so confused by it – like, if you can’t tell that it’s a bit of a rib, this show probably isn’t for you.”

Lucas is also quick to note that, although cute funny smart… was conceived in jest, the show itself has revealed that objects may be closer than they appear. “Obviously it started as a joke, but interestingly enough the subject matter of the show has started to align with the title in a way,” she says. “I talk about the culture of online feminism, shaming, body image and having low self-esteem. It’s kind of come full circle in that it makes thematic sense.”

The last five years or so have seen Lucas perform all across Australia, from dive bars in the city to huge theatres and even Melbourne’s Town Hall as a part of Triple J’s Good Az Friday. As such, she’s more accustomed than ever to all different types of audiences, and allows the nature of the show she’s performing to dictate how the set will go. “I gig almost every night,” she says.

“Basically everything that’s in the show is pretty tried and tested by the time I’m doing it at the festival. Sometimes, you have to pick your material in a more clever way – and I think it’s great that doing clubs kind of forces you to connect with people you normally wouldn’t perform to. There’s always a few specific things, though, that you know are pretty tailored to just the kind of crowd that is coming to see you specifically. I’ve gotta say that before I trialled the show in Brisbane, I really didn’t think that the show was ready. Thankfully, the audiences here have been so responsive and supportive that I really think it’s ready now.”
Outside of preparing cute funny smart…, Lucas has spent a fair amount of time working on television. Last year saw Lucas working as one of the head writers of The Other Guy, the Stan original series starring fellow Brisbane expatriate Matt Okine. Lucas also co-wrote and co-starred in True Murder, a non-fiction crime parody alongside comedian Cameron James. Lucas and James will also have a new series premiering later this year for ABC, entitled Be Your Own Boss. If that wasn’t enough, the two also have plans to continue work on their Comedy Central webseries share this, portraying two millennial journos seeking out the hottest possible takes. By having these jobs in tandem, Lucas believes she’s now more confident than ever in relation to what works for both the screen and the stage.

“If you’re writing for TV, you’ve got to think about more than just what’s funny to you,” she says. “It’s definitely a different beast – there’s a lot to consider when it comes to character and context and the story you’re trying to tell. I do think that writing for TV can improve how you write for stand-up, and vice versa. Stand-up is a great way to test a joke, to really see if something you’ve come up with is funny. Writing for TV is trying to mine every single story you have and throwing everything you’ve got at the wall, working with a group of other people doing the same thing. I feel like you can tell when a stand-up gets a writing job for TV – it comes through in how punchy it is, and the confidence of knowing that people think something’s funny.”

There’s plenty to love about Becky Lucas. She’s cute, she’s funny, she’s smart, you know the rest. You’ll be seeing plenty of her as the year goes on, with plans to tour cute funny smart… throughout the rest of 2018. As far as Beat‘s concerned, she’s the face of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. “Is this going to be the cover?” asks Lucas. “I had no idea. I want this to be the juiciest article of the festival. Cameron James owes me $2000. And Anne Edmonds is trying to root me. Print that.”

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