My co-editor, Emma, and I interviewed Pippa Evans for the Spring issue of Razz My Berries. We had both seen Pippa perform with the improvised comedy group, ‘Showstoppers’, and loved her as her alter-ego ‘Loretta Maine’. Showstoppers are currently on at the Ambassador’s Theatre in the West End. You can see Pippa Evans on BBC2’s hilarious improv show ‘Fast and Loose’!
When did you first get into comedy and improvisation? I first got into this lark when I was eighteen – I did two stand up comedy courses and performed stand up about twenty times, before deciding I had nothing to say and packing it all in. I then decided to do straight acting, but I returned to comedy after a children’s tour of Italy playing a Donkey called Gilbert. It was not a great play. I thought “I need people to be laughing at me because I want them to!” So I started working on my character comedy. Impro, however, I fell into by accident. Although I always loved it, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and be asked to join a particular group in London, which led to the next group, which led to Showstopper.
Were you the “funny one” in your group of friends? Yes. Well, I think so. Unless they were humouring me.
We’ve both been to see the improvised musical “Showstoppers” which you are part of, and we loved it! Is it difficult to produce a brand new musical every night? Sometimes it is so easy we think “We could do this every day for the rest of our lives” and sometimes it is so hard we think “WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DOING THIS TO OURSELVES FOR!!??!!” So it depends.
Have you ever had a mental block on stage, and how do you cope if it happens? We look after each other. If you can’t think of anything for whatever reason – someone else will save you. I once couldn’t think of a name for someone and just called them “Man”. It worked out fine!
We both love your character Loretta Maine; how do you come up with new personas; is she based on anybody in real life? Loretta is like TOTALLY me between the ages ofnineteen and twenty five, added to a bit of Courtney Love and a sprinkling of ex-boyfriends. She is so much fun to be!
Do you prefer performing stand up in character, or as part of a big improvisational group? I love both. Showstopper is great because we create something together and it is like playing with your bestest pals, but then there is also something great about sharing what you have written with an audience on your own. So doing both means I get the best of both worlds!
What advice would you give to budding student comedians? Who do you think you ARE? Not really. Write jokes, do them on a stage, don’t worry if people throw things, they will learn to love you.
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you like to be doing instead? I would be a fat old lady in a cottage reading books and making jam.
We also have a few questions for Loretta Maine (pictured) if that’s OK: What is the last thing you ate? Your mom.
Apart from screw top wine bottles, has anything else revolutionised your life? I tell you WHAT – my agent started swapping my beer for Becks Blue – the alcohol free kind. For a week I felt like I was on a detox. COS I WAS. I was so pissed. and not in your English sense. I was like “Agent – get your ass over here” and then I smashed him in the face and made him buy me vodka. I am back to normal now. Sorry – what was the question?
If a stranger asked you to razz their berries, what would you reply? I’d rather cup them.
Published in the Spring 2011 issue of Razz My Berries Magazine.