Sweet and shocking Lucy Roche was very excited to secure her well-deserved title as the Raw Quest Winner 2016 last Saturday night. The Wellington-based comic was in Auckland for the long-awaited Raw Quest Final in the last weekend of the New Zealand International Comedy Festival. The heats for the annual rookie competition started all the way back in February with over a hundred participants throughout the country.
Lucy’s style of comedy is hilariously unexpected. Donning an adorable pink dress on stage, her rosy cheeks and sweet smile give no indication of the bold, crude, and undoubtedly funny things that she will say. It caught me off guard on Saturday and I was beside myself with laughter.
“Most of my jokes are just based on my life. I try to be very honest in my comedy – relatable.”
Lucy did a few gigs when she was 17 years old but returned to the stage more permanently just last year. She established her comedy style when she was a teenager and realised that her sweet appearance could balance out her material. Lucy smiles and nods enthusiastically when I mention her excellent fashion choices– even for our interview she is looking lovely in a dress and lilac eyeshadow. She has made a point to continue her adorable but scandalous persona when on stage and it’s clearly working in her favour.
“I did Class Comedians back in 2012 which was cool, a lot of comics start that way. James Malcolm, Rose Matafeo… Obviously, when you are 17 you can’t go to bars and stuff so I dropped off the radar but I got back into it last year… A lot of the stuff I said when I was 17 was very offensive but because I was so young – younger and cuter, sort of – I was able to get away with it.”
Despite her daring content, Lucy puts a lot of thought into her presentation on stage. She speaks openly and is very self-aware about being a comic with unconventional material.
“I think that personal responsibility is really important when you’re talking about delicate issues.”
“A lot of [amateur] comics go into it thinking you just say whatever you want, but things you say to your friends aren’t necessarily things you should say on stage… I’m quite shocking but I’d rather do that in a way I feel comfortable with.”
Lucy confesses writing can be difficult at times but finds sticking to a schedule can make it easier. She likes to create her sets by expanding on ideas and inspirations from her life, and developing these over time.
“Writing comedy is hard, especially with no deadline. I just did a half hour [show] down in Wellington with Savanna Calton, who won Raw Quest last year… It’s just coming up with ideas and jotting them down – I’m not a storytelling comedian – it’s just expanding and building on jokes. I’ll have a one-liner and six months later it will be a whole paragraph.”
“Having a deadline motivates you to write a lot more material. When no one is pushing you, you have to push yourself.”
So what’s next for the promising young comic? I ask if she sees this as her career and she answers modestly about her goals.
“I’d love to do a solo show. I think I might try out for Billy T, maybe do a solo show, or not. That’s a whole year away but it’s good, I have time to think about it. After Raw Quest I want to start taking it more seriously. I’m not like, “This has to be my career forever”, but maybe it could be.”
It’s clear Lucy loves comedy and has a gift for it. She may be back home in Wellington to perform now, but everyone should keep an eye out for this rising star – her unexpected humour will catch you off guard in the most hilarious way.