First Gig Worst Gig

Lindsey Santoro

Lindsey Santoro

It was the first of times, it was the worst of times - but now it's time for a winner.

Lindsey Santoro waltzed off with NextUp's Biggest Award in Comedy at last year's Edinburgh Fringe, as well as a coveted Best Newcomer nomination in the Edinburgh Comedy Awards. Quite a debut. It must have been carefully crafted to press all the key critical buttons, presumably?

"Pink Tinge is a show I have written for my own entertainment really," the Brummie stand-up admits. "Non-stop comedy nonsense. I have such a joyful time performing it."

Over the next few months she'll be performing it at various spots around the UK, including London's Soho Theatre from 25-27 January. So has life changed in the months since the Fringe breakthrough?

"My life is exactly the same as it was before! Although I seem to be getting more emails. If anything, since the nomination and Biggest Prize in Comedy win my admin has increased."

Lindsey Santoro. Credit: Next Up Comedy

It's an occupational hazard. But how did Lindsey get here?

First gig?

My first gig was quite a pleasant one because it was part of a comedy course and, at the end of it, you got to do five minutes in front of a load of friendly, happy people who wanted you to succeed.

What a shock it was to the system to go and do an open mic night in a pub the next week and have an old man called Steve call me a cheeky cow. I don't know why people would carry on with comedy if that was your first gig.

Favourite show, ever?

I was absolutely thrilled to bits to be able to do Pink Tinge at the Birmingham Glee. I used to work there in my youth so I felt like I had gone full circle. I must stress that I really didn't like stand-up comedy when I was working there and even now I find most comedians very annoying. I almost had a feeling at the end of my show I would just ascend to the sky, because it wouldn't get any better than that.

Worst gig?

That was in a hotel at a service station on the M6. I had to compete with round tables and people eating chicken out of a basket.

50% of the audiences' backs were turned to me whilst I was on stage, which wasn't actually a stage - it was a flat dancefloor, the DJ was setting up directly behind me and kept testing his mic going "Testing 1, 2, 3." I literally wanted to explode but I couldn't.

Also if you parked there for more than two hours you got fined. I didn't even get paid for that gig and I got fined 50 quid. What a thrill.

Lindsey Santoro

Which one person influenced your comedy life most significantly?

My husband, although inadvertently. Sometimes he just does things and will give me a look as if to say please don't make this into a joke, but it's too late.

And who's the most disagreeable person you've come across in the business?

I really don't know, nobody springs to mind. I just hate everybody. I feel like I wouldn't get on with Bernard Manning but he's dead now.

Is there one routine/gag you loved, that audiences inexplicably didn't?

I tried to write a joke about how I do this thing where I find contestants on quiz shows on Challenge TV and then message them on Facebook with their wrong answers. I found it funny and some other people did too, but sometimes I had people coming up to me after the show saying it was mean so I just stopped doing it.

I mean I stopped doing the joke, I still message people. I can't stop myself.

Any reviews, heckles or post-gig reactions stick in the mind?

My favourite was a man that came up to me after a gig and he said "you were good and I don't normally like women" and I said "What's wrong with women comedians?" and he said "No, not women comedians, I don't like women, I hate all women".

Lindsey Santoro

Is Birmingham underrated as a British comedy hotspot? Do you reckon it's directly influenced your outlook?

Oh yes. The comedy course I did is run by James Cook and he's just created a conveyor belt of baby comedians. There's also loads of little nights popping up as well as big regular nights at The Glee.

I co-host a lovely night on a Sunday at the Hare and Hounds called Hare of the Dog which is where we try to make it a bit different and lady friendly and inclusive. We've got our comedy festival in October too! Also we've got so many fabulous people from here; look at our Joe Lycett, he's doing pretty well!

I'd say Birmingham has directly influenced my accent more than anything else.

How do you feel about where your career is at, right now?

I'm surprised I've got a career. I feel grand with it. I never thought I'd have a job so this is an absolute hoot. If I can just get on Celebrity Pointless, that's all I ask for in this life.

Lindsey Santoro: Pink Tinge is at London's Soho Theatre from 25-27 February.

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