Balls Etc

From Viral Klopp to a Virtual Tour: Laura Lexx Shoots and Scores

Laura Lexx. Copyright: Karla Gowlett

It's funny how things turn out. One minute Laura Lexx was sitting in a pre-gig hotel room panicking about the impending pandemic, the next she'd written a series of semi-sexy tweets about Jurgen Klopp, gone viral, and got a book out.

That book is Klopp Actually, the perfect Valentine's gift, ja? Ja. It came about when Lexx chanced upon the Liverpool gaffer fielding lockdown questions in a refreshingly sensible fashion: that pragmatism fuelled her tweet thread, then the book. It's saucy fun, with thoughtful foundations.

Lexx's long-form live work often tackles challenging themes, notably chronic anxiety in the acclaimed 2018 show Trying. With a zillion new followers she should be packing the nation's theatres now; instead her Knee Jerk tour has gone virtual, including a special show-plus-reading on Feb 17th for the Leicester Comedy Festival.

That's in cahoots with NextUp, who are doing a nifty fest-pass/annual subscription combo, offering access to every Leicester event and their own comedy trove, including Lexx's shows Trying and Tyrannosaurus Lexx. Nice. So let's start with the remote revelry.

How did this virtual tour come about Laura?

It came about because we just thought, let's stop pushing everything forward and being on pause and let's turn right now into a time when things are happening, instead of an abyss. Even if this isn't normal, it's still turning out to be a huge chunk of our lives and I'm tired of being on pause: I want to see how we can turn this online portion of our lives into something lovely.

And how is it working so far?

I absolutely loved the first date - there was such a crackle of gladness to be making a community, any way we could. It was also very fun to see people's homes and their pets wandering through and stuff: on a selfish note that was so lovely, I got such a reminder of how a 'crowd' is individuals, and how lucky I am to have all these families and people interested in hanging out with me.

Klopp Actually

Speaking of communities, it feels like comedy people are really pleased that your Klopp stuff happened.

Yeah it's nice. I think the comedy industry, when you've done the years and flogged it out on the circuit, people do get behind you when something gives you a bit of momentum.

And it shows that success can come from random places...

It's worth persevering with the internet!

Klopp Actually was the first book I saw that mentioned lockdown, too, in the intro.

I wanted to give it a bit of context. It was literally the last weekend of proper gigs, I was up in Glasgow thinking to myself, 'ohhhh everything feels weird. Should I be here, raking in as much cash as I possibly can before lockdown?' It was grim wasn't it? So confusing. And so I was just messing about on the internet...

A lot of the book reminded me of your live shows - the version of you in it has those familiar hang-ups.

When they said 'how do we want to do the book' we started having all those chats, do we give it a storyline? There was talk about 50 Shades of Klopp and I was like, 'I don't want it to be about objectifying him.'

But I did want to look at my anxiety, the ways I'm insecure, which I do talk about in my comedy a lot, and to have Klopp almost like this fairy godmother therapist. He's saying all the things that you know, but if you've got an anxious brain, you don't necessarily let yourself believe.

So I wanted it to have an element of being a funny self-help book too: 'think like this, not like this.'

It's certainly timely - now the whole world's anxious.

That's exactly how I feel, everyone was going 'are you okay?'[when Covid hit] but actually I felt calm, because I'm always this anxious; it's just other people have joined me at my level. People are like, 'what if it's the end of the world' - I feel like that when the world's normal. Welcome to my life.

You mention in the book's intro that Piers Morgan criticised your tweets?

Oh yeah, he was cross about it. He was like 'oh imagine if this was a man doing this about a woman, objectifying' and I was like 'you don't understand the word objectifying, because nowhere in this do I make him behave like an object.' It's about behaviour and personality, so it's the opposite of objectifying.

Laura Lexx. Copyright: Karla Gowlett

Klopp would probably be fine with it - he's quite liberal apparently, compared to the nasty image of some football managers.

I think to be that dedicated to have got to the top, you have to be quite single-minded. But then I suppose that ethos of his success with the team is that it is about the team, and fostering such a lovely environment...

He doesn't bang on about it though - he just gets angry about football.

He's not commenting on things he doesn't know about. A lot of people do. Look at politics, we currently have a journalist for our Prime Minister who is doing a terrible job, statistically speaking, and yet, there's no consensus of 'I might not be the best person for this.'

Whereas the impression you get from Klopp and I think the reason he sort of catches people's hearts, if it's not right for him to answer, he'll just say, 'No, I don't know, ask someone else.' And you just don't hear that very often.

I hadn't thought about him as a sex object before though - do people fantasise about Klopp?

When the thread went viral, there were lots of people saying, 'Oh, I'm so glad someone else shares my crush,' but also a lot were just, like, 'no, I didn't know who he was before...' which was probably one of the things that made the book seem really viable.

What are your favourite bits of the book?

I think my favourite one is the chapter where we're getting ready to go out for the evening, and Laura is trying to get ready and feeling incredible social anxiety and fear about going out. And it's probably one of the more sombre ones, but I really like it because I really struggle with social anxiety, especially at big events.

I really worry about being too personal and not being funny enough, but with that one, I just wanted to have a moment where it was a little bit more. I'm really proud to have found a funny way to talk about that.

Laura Lexx. Copyright: Karla Gowlett

There are anxieties in there that we don't read about in a book very often; the little things.

It's nice to normalise it. I think one of the only things that I can really do to help the world is to be very positive and candid about the difficult things that we haven't always been allowed as a society to talk about.

I just want to go 'so if you feel like this, don't worry, so do I, and I'm still alright.' I think it's helpful to know that people that struggle sometimes are still functioning, and if you admit to struggling, you're not going to suddenly get put in a box called 'not very well.'

I like that people that will read this book wouldn't necessarily read a self-help book about anxiety.

You've thrown in some football gags too - did you do much research?

No, but I did do quite a lot of leaning over to my husband, going 'what's a corner compared to a penalty?' and him rolling his eyes going 'how is it you writing this?' But that's partly why it's funny, that she doesn't know anything.

What's the sauciest bit?

Oooh - 'I'm marinating more than the thighs of a chicken' - that made my editor squeal a bit. And 'by the time the pizza arrived, my stomach is not the only empty growler.'

One of the things that really made my mum laugh, it was a line that went 'I may not think I look good in things, but I know what I look good on' - she'd gone to correct my grammar and started giggling to herself, 'oh you mean... oh I see!' It must be quite weird to read your daughter's thoughts.

It's not rude really though - all in people's imaginations.

No, I'm not really a graphic person. That's the game, coming up with different inferences, and if you pick up on it, well done you. It's like a little puzzle. A sex sudoku.


Klopp Actually is out now, and Laura Lexx's virtual tour dates are on lauralexx.co.uk

Klopp Actually

By Laura Lexx

A hilarious diary of married life with the sensible, no-nonsense man of all our dreams: Jürgen Klopp, from critically-acclaimed comedian and Twitter sensation Laura Lexx.

Inspired by the viral tweet: 'If I ever met Jürgen Klopp I'd say "omg if we have a baby we should call it Klipp" just so he'd raise an eyebrow at me and tell me I'm a moron and I'd be so naked by the time he'd finished doing that...'

In these uncertain times we all need a coping mechanism. And Laura Lexx has found the obvious one - imagining life married to the sensible, no-nonsense man of our dreams, Jürgen Klopp. She thinks maybe he has something to do with football? More importantly, he definitely knows how to efficiently stack a dishwasher and would tell you honestly if you were being unreasonable about a colleague.

From job interviews to furniture shopping in IKEA to making a birthday cake for their daughter, Klipp, Klopp Actually is a hilarious, warm and deeply silly diary of life with everyone's favourite baseball-cap-wearing, bespectacled German football manager.

'I shiver, my skin breaking out into tiny goosebumps. "Are you cold?" He whispers, his lips brushing my ear, making the fine hairs ripple. "A little." I grin, pressing against his thigh. He runs a hand down the curve of my spine... "You should put a jumper on."'

First published: Thursday 3rd September 2020

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