“I just have to be careful with over-sharing about my partner.” | Sam Lake talks equal marriage, event planning and Eurovision for his show Cake

Tell us about the show you’re bringing to the Vault Festival, Cake.

Cake is the story of how I met my partner, David, and what it’s like to plan a wedding, a big GAY wedding, in 2020. It’s quite a lighthearted show, but it’s also very personal. It’s about my family, the stress of event planning, dealing with people’s attitudes and perceptions to equal marriage. But it’s also about Eurovision, the Sugababes, and there’s quite a bit of filth in there too. I’m hoping that makes this a show with something for everyone.

What made you want to write a comedy show about your relationship?

I’m currently planning my wedding now, so all these thoughts and observations about marriage and how it makes you feel very adult all came quite easily. And when I pieced them together with what I usually talk about, like LGBT+ culture, it seemed like I had a decent show (in theory). It’s also my debut hour, and I think with a debut show, it’s good to talk about something personal because it helps people understand you and what you’re all about.

Did you ever find it difficult putting such an important part of your personal life on stage?

For the relationship stuff, I just have to be careful with over-sharing about my partner. Though he does love being the main subject of my comedy. 

The first couple of times I tried out some of the show’s content on an audience, I found it a bit challenging as there’s some heavy topics in there I’ve never spoken about before. But I wouldn’t be talking about something on stage if I wasn’t comfortable discussing it in real life. I think it’s more difficult bringing up challenging topics in a way that doesn’t totally alienate an audience or make them feel uncomfortable. But I feel like the show is so silly and jolly, that there’s a good balance there.

This isn’t the first time you’ve talked about your relationships, sexuality and masculinity in your act. How do you think comedy opens up discussions around topics like this?

Well I talk about those topics because they all impact me in everyday life, so the jokes come naturally. I think it’s great to see sexuality become more talked about, especially with more LGBT+ acts from all kinds of backgrounds gain more notoriety, and I hope with our current political climate that that doesn’t stop.

I don’t like the idea of comedians getting preachy or getting on their soapbox, because I don’t believe my opinions are better than someone else. But I do think it’s so much easier to educate people about something they might not be aware of, for example Section 28 and its effects on the LGBT+ community, if you can do it in a way that makes them laugh. 

You’ve had consistent praise from comedy competitions over the past few years. What do you have planned to top your past achievements in 2020?

Firstly, thank you for mentioning my many awards so I don’t have to myself.

Secondly, I hope this show is my big 2020 achievement. It’s my debut hour and a show I’m becoming quite proud of so I hope it opens some doors to be able to do bigger things with it, tour it around the country. And a side-goal of mine is to make this show as sustainable as possible, so I’m doing my best to follow Staging Change’s guides on how to do that. 

I’d love to do more radio and TV this year too. The end goal is to host the Eurovision Song Contest and that’s not even a joke. Lord Graham Norton, if you’re reading this, let me know if you fancy a break one year. I’m ready. I am so ready.

I also have my eye on a Wedgewood commemorative plate on eBay.

What do you hope people take away from your show?

I hope audiences leave with a warm fuzzy feeling, I want them to feel uplifted and like they just spent an hour having a lovely chat (but they should be quiet and I will provide all the chat). Most of all, I hope people laugh their holes off, it’s COMEDY people! 

Are there any other shows you’re looking forward to at the Vault Festival?

Oh gosh, so many. I did a show with the joyous Chloe Petts last year, and her show Alpha will be a storm. And you should check out The LOL Word for a night of fabulous queer comedy. Olga Koch is sensational, Richard Stott is hilarious, Beth Vyse as Olive Hands is bonkers and brilliant. There, go book those shows. Unless they clash with mine, then come to mine instead. And bring two friends. Thanks, luv u.

Do you have any advice for anyone looking to break into comedy?

Stay patient and enjoy it. There’s no rush to achieve everything all at once. Ignore unsolicited advice from anyone with a sexually explicit nickname like “Shagger”. Just do things on stage that make you laugh and keep your fingers crossed people agree with you.

Sam is performing Cake on 15th February and 8th March.

Book your ticket here.

Find out more about Vault Festival here.

You can keep up with Sam’s work by checking out his website and following him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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