Cariad Lloyd: The comedian on her tap-dancing past, her addiction to reality shows, and her 'affair' with David Bowie


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The Independent Culture

I didn't intend to become a comedian I wanted to be a serious actor. None of my family were in the business and I didn't even know that comedy was a job. I was obsessed with comedy as a child – Blackadder, Red Dwarf – but I started out acting in very serious plays about people being burnt alive.

I wanted to be a dancer but then I discovered smoking As a kid I did ballet and tap and jazz and I regret that I didn't go on with it, but like most teenagers, I discovered the ability to say no to things for no good reason and sadly just didn't continue.

It look me so long to get my career going because I lack confidence in myself When I first started acting, I had a few horrible auditions where people just said, "You're not good enough," and I believed them because I thought they knew what they were doing. In reality, it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks; if you want to do it, you have to do it.

To be funny on TV takes a lot of hard work It's very easy when you're at home to shout at the television and say that no one does anything good in comedy any more; what you want to show people is that it looks easy and fun but what they're not aware of are the 17 drafts of the two-minute sketch you've just been through.

I get more nervous with a script than without one My personality and brain are very suited to improvisation. I am always 110 per cent more terrified before a scripted show than I am for an improv performance. For me, the fear of writing things down stems from the idea that the audience could think, "Wait, you thought about that, and believed it was good enough to come and perform in front of us." With improv, if I have no idea, then I have no idea.

I thought I was dating David Bowie Every year I do a show called the Improvathon, which is a 50-hour show. One year, one of the characters, who was pretending to be my boyfriend, was playing David Bowie from Labyrinth. I had been on stage for over two days and became so hallucinogenic from the lack of sleep that I thought I was going out with the real David Bowie. I remember thinking, "This is really bad because he's married, so we're going to have to talk about this." I had to be carried off stage, but it's happened to everybody.

It took me years to realise that people aren't amazing when they start out You see comedians' finished product and you think, "Wow, they're so incredible," but you didn't see them when they were awkward 18-year-olds trying out new jokes.

I hate people who lack honesty I come from quite a blunt family where if someone does something wrong, they tell you – so I'm not very good when people aren't honest about things.

I'm very proud of my laptop because it was the first thing I treated myself to when I started to earn some money. But why they had to combine the thing I use to write with the internet is very annoying. All I do now is sit there and watch BBC reality shows – Great British Bake-Off, The Voice, Strictly Come Dancing. Or I'll just go to Netflix and obsessively watch seven seasons of the American version of The Office or Modern Family. There's so much stuff, you feel like you've got to catch up.

Cariad Lloyd is a comedian, actor and writer who won a Best Newcomer nomination at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards in 2011 for her debut solo show. She can soon be seen in Sky Living sitcom 'Give Out Girls' and BBC3's 'Crims', and is currently touring the UK with 'Austentatious: An Improvised Novel' (for details: