Comedy Duo LetLuce: ‘If they’re not laughing, make them’

Think you’re the funniest person you know? So funny that you want to be a comedian? Well these girls want you to know it ain’t gonna be easy. But don’t let that stop you!

Meet LetLuce (Letty Butler and Lucy Pearman to their friends), a comic duo that recently took the Edinburgh Fringe by storm. They’re a surreal and charming comedy pairing with a penchant for the outlandish (particularly when it comes to costume choices…)

Likened to legends Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, they’re the next in a long line of bizarre British stage performers, and we reckon they’re about to hit the big time.

Read on and find out how they’ve come so far.

1. How did you know you wanted to work in comedy?

We were forced into it. We’re still pretending but it’s very fun.

2. How did you get started?

Steve Bendelack (director of French and Saunders, The Mighty Boosh and Little Britain) cast us in a commercial and told us to write a show and go to Edinburgh, so we did. We’re very good at following instructions.

3. What’s been the most important moment in your career so far?

Getting a lovely four star review in The Sunday Times last year was pretty pivotal. It came out in Culture on August 3 so it really stood us in good stead for the rest of the Fringe. People started to come and see us, then word of mouth kicked in and we started to sell out. I think that was when we realised we were doing something unique and worthwhile that people wanted to put their eyes on.

4. Talk us through your day on tour…

LB: Technically we’ve never been on tour. We have however headlined Fritwell Village Hall which involved a pint of Stella at lunchtime, a disabled loo as our dressing room, the entire audience being served chilli con carne at half time and some extremely non-pc heckles.

LP: We aren’t going on tour are we? Leicester! we are going there to do a show in February. It’s an extremely glamorous town and lovely that time of year. Last year we got hammered on the train and I made two cups out of a coke bottle I found in the loo. Thumbs up.

5. What are the best things about doing what you do?

Coming off stage after a great show is pretty unbeatable. Hearing laughter during a show is also quite good. Creating your own work is very satisfying; it’s liberating that there’s no-one saying ‘you can’t do that’. Because you can. You can do what ever you like as long as you think it’s funny.

6. What are the worst?

Lugging huge suitcases of props across London during rush hour. And the fact it costs us more money than we make. What a weird, stupid job.

7. What do you think people don’t realise about your job?

The amount of work that goes into creating a show. By the time it’s ready, we hope it looks frivolous, fun & easy. But the truth is, it takes a huge amount of time and energy to generate material and test it. We started work on Sea Men: A Naval Tale in January and it dominated our entire year.

Our shows, although narrative, are very surreal; we like to take audiences on a journey to weird and wonderful places so they generally involve a lot of props and costumes, most of which we make by hand/spend a lot of time sourcing from bizarre places. Plus there’s so much admin involved but we won’t go into that because it’ll bore the shit out of everyone. P.S we are knackered all the time.

8. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Something along the lines of ‘If you don’t find it funny, don’t expect anyone else to.’ And Jennifer Saunders (oops, name drop) said, ‘If they’re not laughing, force them.’ Which we quite like.

9. What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the comedy industry?

Don’t. Go home, you’re drunk.

10. Have you ever had a moment of self-doubt? What happened and how do you get through those?

Hundreds. I have at least 14 before every single gig. I think you have to see the fear as helpful; it gives you the energy & adrenaline you need to get on stage and give it some welly.

Generally you just have to have a stiff word with yourself along the lines of, ‘what’s the worst that can happen? They don’t laugh. You’re not operating on anyone’s brain. No-one’s going to die. Well, hopefully not,’ etc etc.

It’s also extremely handy having two of us. If one half has a wobble, the other half stays strong. We’re a bit like a sea-saw. Although Lucy is generally the upbeat cheer-leading one. Letty’s a sort of human stress ball in a permanent state of hot, white panic.

11. What would you say to your 15-year-old self?

LB: You are not a skater boy so why are you dressing up as one?

LP: Keep that kappa T shirt it might be ironic one day

12. What are your career goals?

We’ve written a pilot that we’d love to make… Lucy wants to join the RSC and would very much like to play a maid in a rip-roaring period drama. Letty wants to be Olivia Colman which could prove tricky. We both want three to four Baftas.

LetLuce will perform Sea Men (A Naval Tale) at Soho Theatre October 28-31. Buy tickets here
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