India : Part 2

November 13, 2017




Oh hey, look who it is - you came back for more? Can't keep you away can I?! There's 3 cities and 6 gigs left to go. Also I have to go back into the sky. Will my chair be kicked to fuck and back? Will the wifi ever be strong enough for my laptop to download Stranger Things Season 2? Will I get the shits? WHO KNOWS?!





So first up, Goa is absolutely beautiful. The sun was absolutely shining and my bedroom window looked out onto palm trees, a pool and the beach. My bedroom window in London looks out onto foxes shagging and a heap of my flatmates discarded cigarette ends. I think this has been the most surreal one for me so far, where I've had to sort of take a step back and pinch myself  - Lauren Bloody Pattison this time last year you were juggling working in a restaurant and trying to claw your way up the comedy ladder, grabbing any gig you could, hoping people in comedy would start to notice you more so enough work would roll in that soon you'd be able to do comedy full time. Now I do comedy full time,I've got an Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Newcomer Nomination under my belt, I haven't had to serve tasty but expensive burgers to snooty West London yummy mummy's and their bratty kids, coming home smelling of meat and ketchup, in 6 months and Soho Theatre, a venue I was literally dreaming of working with this time last year, have given me the opportunity to come and do comedy IN INDIA. I am being paid to do what I love in a country I probably otherwise would never have been able to go to. This is my job. I'm so fucking lucky. Precisely this time last year, I was gigging in Hull. Not that there's anything wrong with Hull, but, well, it's not Goa is it. 


Aw Goa, my favourite city so far, but definitely the weirdest gig so far. NOW, it's not that it was a bad gig or they were a bad crowd, not at all, I still thoroughly enjoyed it but I just enjoyed the others more. We'd been told that there's pretty much no comedy scene in Goa, and I think this reflected with the audience, I felt they were slightly more reserved and quieter than the other nights. Still bloody lovely with plenty of laughs, but I definitely felt I had to work more to coax those laughs out. Know like when you can see a dog and you want to pet it and you're trying to get it to come over but it's not sure and you're like 'come to me I am a good human all I want is to shower you with love.' This crowd reminded me of the audiences back home that I refer to as 'Resetters' by which I mean, they're loving your stuff but after each joke, they reset back to zero rather than just riding along the whole way with you. Still a good crowd, just more work!


 I also have to mention the stage which I wish I had captured better via photograph - IT HAD A MASSIVE FUCK OFF HOLE IN IT! I'm not even kidding. Basically the sound desk was situated at the front of the stage in a little pit, so you couldn't use the front third of the stage cause you would have fell into a little pit of doom. Looking back it is hilarious but at the time I was like this is the most ridiculous thing in the world. I felt a bit disconnected from my audience cause I was much further away from them than I would have liked to be, but Ahir solved this one by abandoning the stage completely and perching on the edge/taking to the floor. 


It was also really sweet after the gig when 2 young boys wanted a photo with the acts. I felt like they were almost brushed away (maybe accidentally), I was still sitting around but the other acts were outside smoking and I think there was a misunderstanding that the acts had gone and weren't available for a photo. I felt awful cause I remembered being younger and a huge comedy fan, waiting after a show and how much confidence it took me to pluck up the courage to ask for a photo with people. So me and our tour manager Sarah (who is amazing and has been incredible to work with this trip, she makes sure everyone is happy and everything is organised and I would like her to be with me 24/7 please) went and tracked down the other acts and made sure the boys got their picture. Not all heroes wear capes, some are small Northern girls who wear sequins.  



After this we got 2 days off in Goa. This was much needed. I think people's initial reaction when I told them about India was that they assumed it would be some kind of holiday. I knew this wasn't going to be true but I hadn't anticipated quite how intense it would be. It's been a lot of early starts and lots of travelling from one place to the next which I think has left everyone a bit exhausted! So it's been nice to have some time to just chill out, get my head together and relax. The schedule eases up from here, so it should be a smooth run from here. 



I would like to leave the entry on Goa with a photo of the Goodest Boy I have met in all of India so far. I haven't been allowed to pet any dogs cause I haven't had my rabies jabs and this is so hard because there are SO MANY DOGS just wandering about India but I'm forbidden from petting them in case they bite me and I die (bad dog behaviour.) But our hotel in Goa came with its own dog. His name is Snoopy and I love him.






Next stop - Mumbai! This is the first time since Bangalore that we've been in a proper venue that's meant for comedy so I was really excited. The venue was perfect, walking in the atmosphere was just instantly different, you knew you were in a space meant for comedy. We were working with a different MC tonight as well, Daniel who was great. He really worked the room and is a fantastic MC with such a good energy - the kind of MC who makes you feel looked after as an act. 




The first gig was incredible and definitely my favourite gig of the tour so far. They were just the perfect crowd, so warm and receptive and everything landed the way I wanted it to. Absolutely dreamy. I think it was just that perfect mix of a great venue, a great MC and a great crowd - the holy trinity of comedy.  If anything though this set the bar impossibly high for the next night, and sure enough the following nights gig was good but they felt a slightly tougher bunch to crack than the previous nights, a bit more subdued. Still a great gig but when you've had such a smasher, you know it's going to be hard to beat! Mumbai has definitely been the best city to perform in so far. 



The only thing I am finding difficult about being out here is trying to tackle the social anxiety I am #blessed with while I'm so far from home, my comfort zone and the daily familiarities that you don't even realise make life so much easier. I feel quite awkward around people I don't know well, and can get really panicky when I'm in new settings that I'm not comfortable with and this trip has entailed almost entirely of that which has been a real test! Sleep has been irregular and limited at times, and I've struggled to eat well while I'm out here out of a combination of being scared of getting sick and also generally not liking spicy food. All these things mount up and can make you feel a bit burnt out, but then bcause you're around other people you feel like you have to pretend you're OK all the time in case you look like a nobhead. What I'm used to with comedy is only having to be 'on' as in 'perky sociable comedy Lauren' for a short amount of time. But when you're touring and travelling, the early starts make for long days and I've felt a real pressure to be 'on' virtually all day for fear of looking rude or like a diva and it's surprisingly draining! What I've had to do to counter it is leave some of the gigs straight after I've been on, or as the trip goes on, try to reduce how much time I spend with other people and make sure I have enough time to just be me, on my own and really let my head level out and make sure that mentally and emotionally I'm ok, otherwise it's just going to massively affect how I perform and that's not what I want! I've had to learn that it's not selfish to want some time to myself, and it's not rude to want to look after myself - after all I know me best.

















Back in Bangalore where it all began! We have 3 nights left and while it's been great I'm quite ready to go home. You feel torn between having this amazing opportunity that you want to last forever but also feeling a bit lonely and tired and just ready to get back into a normal routine! 




We got to work with another compere tonight, Sanjay and it was good to work with someone else with a different style. Karanesh was so chill and laid back, Daniel was very upbeat and lively, and Sanjay brought a real slick charm. Our first gig on Friday was a good one, but it was Saturday that really blew the roof off. The place was packed with over 100 people in, the most we've played to all tour, and the atmosphere was absolutely electric. It really felt like a being on a amazing weekend club at home, with an audience that's so buzzing and up for a good night of comedy. I could have stayed up on that stage all night, it was a real highlight of the tour. Similar to Mumbai when we had that stellar gig, I had a feeling Sunday's wouldn't quite reach the heights Saturday had and this turned out to be true. It was still a nice gig, but they were slightly more reserved and subdued - I think 'tense' was the best word I used to describe it on the night, but to be fair that's any Sunday gig in the UK - and I almost wish we could have gone out on the big bang of Saturday! But all in all a good gig - to be fair, we've not had a bad one all tour which I hadn't anticipated. They've all been lovely, it's just the ones that stick out for me as being stellar are the ones where the crowd have had more energy, really let loose and gone with everything. 


I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity - it's the furthest I've ever been from home and to be able to have this experience to travel AND it be to do with comedy is just phenomenal. I've loved meeting and working with comics from other countries, especially from a country where the stand up scene is so new. I would have liked to meet more female Indian comics as at times it did feel a bit male dominated and I felt a bit isolated as a woman, not that I was made to feel isolated I was just craving the company of a fellow funny woman. It's also been a learning curve - the obvious point being learning how to perform in another country, another continent, and what material works best and translates across the oceans. But on another level, it's been a huge eye opener for me in terms of learning how to just cope being that far from home without someone alongside me who I'm super close to. I would have found it so much harder without our lovely tour manager Sarah, she's been the pillar of support I needed! At first I was scared to say how I was feeling for fear I'd look rude or like a little diva if I said I was tired or just wanted to be alone, but I've really learnt that when you're so far away, and feeling so fragile at times, and when you're so socially awkward that being around people is literally making you feel like you're going to cry - it's not selfish to just want to look after yourself and not go for a drink after the gig, or have some time to yourself through the day. It took a while to get comfortable with going through with those decisions, but I know that was the best thing for me to do in order to be able to go out there and perform my best every night. 


Further bonus is I was scared of flying 2 weeks ago. After having to fly on all of the planes AND do my first long haul flights I think I can safely say I couldn't give a shit about flying anymore. Particularly if it's a plane with magic TV screens in the back of the seats. 



Official petition for there to be more snacks on long haul flights. Also, its only when you're confined to a winged tube for 12 hours that you realise how boring your own company is. GOD I AM BORING TO BE AROUND. 

At least there was no phantom chair kicker.




This has been such a great opportunity and I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to do it. It's certainly not been a holiday, it's been work, hard work at times for that matter but bloody hell it's a million times better than having a day job. It's been so insightful to get to perform comedy so far from home on a different continent and I'm chuffed to pieces that I'm still funny in India and not just funny in the UK! My favourite gigs were Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi and I'd definitely love to come back and perform here again - hopefully this won't be the last chance I'll get!


I'm bloody hungry though and have literally been dreaming about the jacket potato I'm going to demolish once I'm home for the last few days. I've never sexualised a potato before but the feelings I have had towards it are almost post watershed. I have behaved like a pregnant lady all the way home sending demands of my food cravings that I insist be presented to me upon my arrival. If there is not a buttery jacket potato and 2 packs of pickled onion Space Raiders I am gonna be maaaad.


Goodbye India, hello potato. 



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© Lauren Pattison & Andy Hollingworth

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