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Into the cringe: Lou Sanders on "What's That Lady Doing?"

At once surreal, down-to-earth-chatty, hapless and graceful, Lou Sanders’ brand of comedy is properly bonkers and also endearingly watchable. Sanders makes it look easy, yet her offbeat observations and monologues with endless footnotes and sidetracks just get funnier the longer you listen. It’s hard not to smile. It’s everyday and it’s all the weird stuff you always thought no one else was silly enough to process. It’s life-affirming without a single Instagram hashtag.

This week, Lou Sanders’ fifth solo show, What’s That Lady Doing? arrives at Soho Theatre from 12th to the 15th April. The hour of standup will see Lou unpack insights into a life of a completely ‘normal’ lady. We’re warned to expect terrible beat poetry alongside some tips for life, so perhaps normal isn’t the only thing on the cards.

Below, Sanders tells Run Riot about putting together the show, and why normal isn’t always as it seems. Take it away, Lou...

There is a specific event that the title of my show comes from, funny you should ask. I was doing an experimental gig dressed as a dragon and it really wasn’t coming together, there were jingles I hadn’t learnt, I was reading the jokes off a sheet of paper and I tripped over my tail - so really it was just a confused looking woman dressed as a dragon, laughing at herself. Terrible stuff really. My friend’s sister was looking at this scene and she said to him in an unsettled tone: “what’s that lady doing”. Erm, show business, I am doing show business.

With my work on What’s That Lady Doing, it’s been fun mixing more real bits with the silly stuff. I did the show a while ago now, so I’ve forgotten it all and will have to re-learn it. Maybe when I re-learn it I will be thinking ‘Oh well done, that was great when you said that thing.’

As far as the downsides of being normal go, I’m not so sure, but I think the pitfalls of anyone getting comfortable in their routine or lifestyle is a stagnancy – I think we all need to grow and to push ourselves. Actually it’s weird because I think in comedy, lots of acts worry about their style or label. I know brilliant, accessible comedians who worry they’re too mainstream – but mainstream just means lots of people like it. And I know lots of alternative acts who want to be more mainstream - life huh?!

I’ve known plenty of people that looked normal but turned out extra strange… I always think I am a really good judge of character, but sometimes, I really am not. I love being surprised by people: one very quiet friend had a coke addiction, one secretly made clay pots and one couldn’t stop looking up locally filmed gang bangs. Takes allsorts I guess.

I do a podcast on shame actually and talk about so many cringe things I’ve done: getting a happy ending from a masseuse, causing a fight on stage, blah blah blah. But my co-host (Amy Annette) is adorable and her shame is always spurned from quite sweet things – I mean sure – nice for Amy, but then I look even worse. One week she was very upset because she’d bought a homeless man a sandwich and some dog food for his pup. Only thing is he didn’t actually have a dog. That’s the level she’s batting at shame wise. Take more risks Amy and go get a massage!

Lou Sanders’ What’s That Lady Doing runs from Wednesday 12th to Saturday 15th April at 8.45pm at Soho Theatre.

Pick up tickets here and read the Run Riot listing for the shows here. Visit Lou Sander’s website here, follow Lou on Twitter at @LouSanders and YouTube here.