How we met: Roland Gift & Lucy Beaumont
'We can make each other laugh, and I'm funnier when she's here'
Sunday 30 June 2013
Lucy Beaumont, 29
After a brief stint as a stage actor, Beaumont switched to stand-up, reaching the final of the comedy competition 'So You Think You're Funny?' in 2011, before going on to win a slew of newcomer awards with her surreal, naïve brand of humour – among them the BBC's New Comedy Award last November.
I was brought up on the Fine Young Cannibals' music and Roland was a hero when I lived in Hull. My dad used to listen to them a lot – "She Drives Me Crazy" is a soundtrack to the 1980s in the same way Spandau Ballet's "Gold" was.
I knew my mum was friends with Roland – they went to the same art college in Hull. I got to know him while I worked in a bar when I was at university there, as he would come in with my mum for a drink when he was visiting from London.
Before stand-up, I used to do acting, and early on he took an interest in the fact that I was trying to make a go of things in the creative industry. He came to see me perform in a production in London, called Liars' Market. You need people to take you under their wing and I don't think it happens enough in this industry.
When I started doing comedy I didn't live in London but if I had gigs there, I'd stay over at Roland's house. That's when I got to know him, as he came to a lot of my gigs with me. I remember after one in Clapham the promoter only gave me a second gig because of Roland. He was like, "Come again, but I want Roland to come too." A lot of the promoters are of the age that they can remember his group. He was a great help when I had some rough gigs, too. He'd take me to the [private member's] Groucho Club to cheer me up.
Eventually I knew I needed to leave Hull and move to London permanently, but I was scared to leave my house, my relationship and a job for a new start. Roland gave me a great pep talk. Had it not been for him and his family being there, I don't think I would have done it.
He's definitely very cool and he's got a cool family: they're all so laidback and self-assured. I remember when I first came to London to stay with them Roland took me and my mum to this Japanese restaurant, with delicious fresh food and a waterfall. It blew my mind: 'the most exotic thing I'd ever had was Vienetta.
My act is strongly centred around Hull and being working class, so I felt guilty living in London – like I was betraying my roots. But Roland told me that it's OK to be successful and live in London as long as you don't forget those roots. I think I see him as a father figure, though he knows how to embarrass me. He met my boyfriend recently and gave him a hard time.
I've seen Roland play at gigs. He's been touring with Jools Holland's band and I think he's incredible. The biggest thing he's given me is the idea that you can reach a certain level of fame, and still be normal.
Roland Gift, 52
After forming the Fine Young Cannibals in 1984, Gift and the band went on to achieve massive success, with their 1989 album 'The Raw and the Cooked' topping the UK & US album charts, and their single 'She Drives Me Crazy' reaching No 1 in the US Billboard Charts. He sing with Jools Holland on tour.
The first emotion I remember feeling when I met Lucy was one of concern. I've actually known her mum, Jill, since before Lucy was born, back when I lived in Hull. But it wasn't until I was back in Hull again a number of years later that I saw Lucy again. I'd gone to the Piper Club with Jill, and Lucy, who was now 19, was working behind the bar. We were re-introduced, had a quick chat and as I was leaving with Jill, I kept thinking, "Is she going to be OK getting home?"
I would often go with my family to the Edinburgh Festival and we were up there when Lucy was part of the Gilded Balloon's competition for new talent, "So You Think You're Funny?", in 2011. We all went to see her and I felt it was like being at the birth of a star – I didn't know she had that in her. She'd done very few gigs so it was amazing that she made it into the finals, playing a version of herself that's not quite her.
After that she started staying at my house in Holloway in London when she had gigs here, and I would drive her over to the venue and see her perform all over London, in pubs and then theatres. We would chat for a while when we got home after the gigs, and have a glass of sake after. She is quite self-critical but I always steer the chat away to other things. I feel fatherly towards her, which is a little confusing as I'm used to having sons.
What's my favourite joke of hers? I like the one she does about people always posting photos of their food on Facebook, so when somebody sent her a picture of a scan of their baby she thought it was liver and onions that they were having.
I think the thing I like most about her is how we can make each other laugh; I'm funnier when she's here. But I think what really connects us is Hull. I was educated there and we've got a shared history coming from the town, along with a lot of cultural references that she appreciates even more now that she lives in London, too.
I think our biggest difference has to be an age thing. We all went up to Edinburgh again last year and one night we all went out drinking. I called it a night a 1am, but her and her mates went off till 4am. I don't do that so much any more.
Beaumont appears on BBC Three's 'Live at the Electric' from 4 July, and in the Comedy Zone at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival during August (edinburghsbestcomedy.com). Gift joins Jools Holland as his special guest on tour until September (joolsholland.com)
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