Ahead of his Reluctant Millennial UK tour, Tom Lucy chats to Evie Kissack about being one of the youngest successful comedians on the circuit. 

At only 22 years old, Tom has made a name for himself in the comedy world having performed for two consecutive years at the Fringe, and touring with the likes of esteemed comedians Kevin Bridges and Aziz Ansari. 

His new tour, Reluctant Millennial, explores his reservations with being coined a ‘snowflake’, and the disassociation he feels with his generation. 

You’re coming to Birmingham’s Glee Club on Friday 21st June as part of your ‘Reluctant Millenial’ tour. Are you looking forward to the live dates? 

Yeah, of course! I’ve done quite a lot of stuff at the Glee in Birmingham. I started doing comedy when I was 16, I’ve been coming for about four years now. It’s always great. To be visiting as part of my tour is a really great thing. I’m really excited.

You ran the show on last year’s Fringe, is that right? How did those shows go?

I like Edinburgh. I find it quite stressful to be honest. There are some comedians that really love the Fringe, and thrive on it. Most comedians don’t love it and find it intense, and a bit much. For the last few years I’ve done solo shows, but in total I’ve been up there for about five years. This is the first year I’m not doing it. It feels quite nice to not be doing it, it’s like a massive burden removed. [Laughs]

I definitely understand that – the Fringe is such an intense period of time for performers. To be able to focus on your solo tour must be a great feeling.

Yeah, it is. This is my first solo tour – I’ve toured quite a lot as a support act, this is my first headline. 


The debut! You supported Kevin Bridges on his national tour and have performed with some legendary comedians including Jack Whitehall. Have these experiences influenced your approach to your own headline tour and material?

The debut indeed! I would say, yeah massively. If you’re a young comedian, supporting people like that is the best thing you can do. You’re getting a first-hand experience of working with literally the best comedians in the world. It’s an insane thing to be able to do. You’re not just doing shows, you’re with them the whole time. It’s amazing really, if you’re lucky enough to work with these legends. Actually, me and Kevin came to Birmingham a couple of times to warm up for his tour and get all of the material together. I know that he loves the Glee Club as well. The support tours are probably the best things I’ve done in terms of learning the craft, it’s invaluable to be honest. 


What are some of the advantages of being one of the youngest stand-up comedians in the circuit?

People do talk about my age a lot. [Laughs] When I first started my age was my main selling point, and I think it helped me quite a lot because being that young – also when I was 18 I looked about 12 as well – and doing the comedy circuit you look so different to all of the other comedians. You naturally stand out quite a lot. A normal weekend comedy club is usually five middle-aged men complaining about their wives, and then I would come on and be this skinny teenager who would talk about his teachers. There are so many comedians these days; you really need anything to help you to stand out. Up until now that’s what separated me from everybody else. 

 

The tour is of course titled ‘Reluctant Millennial’ – going by the name of your show, do you feel a level of detachment with your generation?

The show is about lots of things – it’s weird when you name your shows, because you have to name them really far in advance, and sometimes even before you’ve finished writing them. To be honest, it was a name that I liked the sound of, and it’s about me not feeling that I want to do a lot of the things my generation wants to do. There’s lots of material about my family, my experience growing up, my school…it’s not a themed show about millennial life. I think some people came to the Fringe show thinking it would be an hour of in-depth analysis of our generation, and they left extremely disappointed. [Laughs] It’s going to be loosely tied to that theme! 


[Laughs] It sounds like an excellent show that draws inspiration from various sources like your childhood experiences and current feelings towards your generation. What was your writing process like? 

Writing material varies – there are bits that take days to put together, and there are bits that can take weeks and weeks. Sometimes you have an idea for a routine and think it will work, and you do it and it works, and that’s great. Other times, you try your ideas and it only half works and isn’t as funny as you thought, so you have to adapt it and change it – it can be a long process. The writing bit is the hardest part of the job. Coming up with new material and testing new jokes in front of an audience is still one of the most terrifying things in the world. [Laughs] About 50% of the time it’s awkward. That feeling never goes away. Even Kevin Bridges and Jack Whitehall have to write new stuff, and they might try out material and nobody laughs – you never really get away from that. 


Yeah, stand-up definitely isn’t for the faint hearted. Do you still ever get nervous before shows? 

It depends on the show, really. When I first started it would get to the point where I couldn’t eat before a gig. Now, because I’ve done so many gigs, those feelings of nervousness have calmed down a bit. If I’m doing new material I will get nervous. If I still had the level of nerves I used to have nowadays I would be a mess. [Laughs] I don’t think you could live like that. You get used to it, and you have to learn to not worry about it too much. 


You’ve been signed to Off The Kerb Agency since the age of 17. Was comedy always the industry you wanted to get into? When did you realise this was what you wanted to do?

I don’t really remember ever wanting to do anything else. I was always obsessed with comedy when I was younger, and used to watch videos of Lee Evans and Billy Connolly. I started as young as possible, because I thought I was going to be rubbish at first and the longer I do it, the better I will get at it. [Laughs] 

Do you remember the first stand up gig you did?

I was 16 and I did a gig at my school. We had this like – [laughs] – concert every Friday where anyone could get up and perform. I was horrendous looking back on it. Everyone used to get up and sing, or play in a band. I signed up to do stand-up, and I got on stage and created material about all of our teachers and the school. It went so well! [Laughs] I think, honestly, to this day it’s one of the best gigs I’ve ever done. It was tailored to the audience. I of course then went out of the school, and stated gigging in pubs across London…and just died. It was awful. [Laughs] There was a weird couple of years where I’d perform at school and do really well, then I would leave and go and gig at a pub in front of a load of strangers and they’d hate it. 


Did you ever get heckled back then? I don’t think I’d have the heart to heckle a 16-year old. [Laughs]

I think because I was so young, and looked so young, that there was genuine worry in the room about me. [Laughs] Nobody really shouted anything too mean at me, because you’re not going to bully a child. But, people shout things at me now. They think I can handle it now…

 

Catch Tom (and try not to heckle him) at Birmingham Glee Club on Friday 21st June 2019. 

Tickets available via this link: www.glee.co.uk/birmingham

 Visit Tom's website at: www.tomlucy.com

Follow Tom on Twitter: @tomlucy

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