Katherine MacAlister catches up with comedian Lucy Porter and finds out how she’s juggling motherhood with her stand-up career

Last time we spoke, Lucy Porter was up to her ears in nappies and wondering how she’d cope relaunching her career with her comeback show People Person.

Now she’s slap bang in the middle of the next tour Northern Soul and totally in the swing of things.

“Yes I’m back to the hardcore drinking and it’s been fine,” she jokes. “But this week has been amazing, I’ve even managed to have a spa day!”

Maintaining a successful career as one of the country’s best stand-ups and juggling motherhood is now a daily reality and one Lucy’s more than ready for.

“Stand-up is like a sport. You have to stay match fit and even when I came back after a few years off I found my responses were slower and I had to work harder to get back to where I was at. I don’t want to run at half capacity.

“I want to be at the top and putting in 100 per cent, because showbiz is fickle and moves on quickly without you. And you have to keep running because there’s an unbelieveable wave of new comedians coming through.” Having children meant that Lucy appreciated her career more than ever: “If you’ve been used to having a creative outlet it’s a difficult one to fill,” she says diplomatically. “It’s not that I don’t like being at home with my kids, I do, but a balance is good. I’m very fortunate to be able to do both.”

And while things have changed, Lucy says it’s all been beneficial to her output. “Before I had kids I would sit down with a blank piece of paper and think ‘what do I have to write about?’ Now I have loads of ideas and no time to write them down, but I’d rather it was that way around.” So is she that mum at the playground always talking into a recorder? “Yes, always just as they injure themselves,” she laughs.

Which is why Lucy, her fellow comedian husband Justin Edwards, and their two children, are based in London, a rational decision she thought, with her nationwide tours taking her all over the country, until she was accused in Derby of being a London snob, a heckle that obviously rankled. “It wasn’t even a heckle, it was an email,” she says furiously.

Thinking it over did make Lucy question where was she from and where she wanted to live, and Northern Soul was born. “Not in Croydon,” she tells me, “it’s one of the dullest places on earth. I think I’ve burnt my bridges there though and scuppered my chances of being lady mayoress. But I’ve always dreamed of being a Northerner, or somewhere that had a strong identity of its own, like Oxford has. “And while Croydon didn’t have years of history it did give me lots of time to develop a vivid imagination.”

An imagination that was let loose on to the world of comedy in 2001 with immediate results: three sell-out nationwide UK tours, regular appearances on TV and radio, Celebrity Mastermind Champion and an acting career in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest in London's West End, alongside Christian Slater. And yet whatever she tries her hand at, Lucy always comes back to comedy.

“Stand-up is its own addiction so when you see a comedian, pity their life,” she laughs. And with Northern Soul reaching an end, Lucy’s next show is already in the offing.

“Maybe I should just wait until I offend someone else and then write the next show off the back of that. A constantly self generating subject matter,” she laughs.

As we are saying goodbye however I realise I still don’t know the answer to the entire premise of Northern Soul. Where would she live given the chance?

“The Lake District,” she says immediately. “I want to run a hippy, vegan, breastfeeding sort of café there.” And what does her husband think about that?

“He doesn’t factor in that dream,” she laughs, “because he’ll have to stay in London to pay for it anyway.”

Lucy Porter – Northern Soul is coming to The Mill, Banbury tonight.
Call the box office on 01295 279002 or see themillartscentre.co.uk