5 August 2009

Zoe Lyons: Miss Machismo

Two years ago Zoe was nominated for the Best Newcomer Award.  That in itself is not a big deal as they frequently make strange choices for the Newcomer nominations (hell, they gave Laura Solon the top award out of nowhere!).  Last year she won Dave's Best One Liner of the Fringe Award.  As far as I am concerned, Dave have never shown a single thing relating to Edinburgh Fringe on their channel so when they feel they have the right to create such an award is beyond me.  Either way, the gag was quite straight forward and just mildly amusing (and certainly not offensive!).  So what is she all about and how does she perform? 

At times Zoe sounds like a cross between Joe Pasquale and Andrew Lawrence (I bet you never thought you'd see those two names next to each other!).  Unfortunately, she is too much like the former and rarely scratches the bottom of the level of the latter.  As it was preview night it was good that her first show was tightly performed with well rehearsed material but sadly it just wasn't funny.  The audience was at 50% capacity and 90% of them were female [okay they then bussed in an additional 25% "Just For Laughs" staff who laughed too hard and every comment]. Most of her attempts at humour were either obvious puns or basic unfocussed insults on targets that are far too basic.  Her edgier material would only have shocked a Daily Mail stalwart.

The real shame of the act was that on very rare occasions she briefly showed glimpses that she could think of something intrinsically funny.  There were three good comedy ideas she brought up in the hour, but in all cases ruined it by 60 seconds later reverting back to her weaker, lazier style.  It seems Germaine Greer was right after all... women aren't funny and Zoe does nothing to dispel that idea.  Incidentally she doesn't go down as the worst female comic, that honour still stays with Lucy Porter (and just to be clear, Nina Conti isn't a stand up comic which is why she is exceptionally funny and not included in the above statement).  Zoe starts the Fringe off with a 6 out of 10 [only see if the tickets are free and you need to kill an hour of time, e.g. on a plane].  That translates to 2 Stars on much simpler rating systems.