Pippa Evans may be be better known to audiences as Loretta Maine, the angry, tempestuous rock star character that frequently appears in her show.
Luckily, it wasn’t Loretta Maine who recently had a chat with Pop Culture and Coke. Evans will be performing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and bringing Loretta Maine with her. There are plenty of questions to ask, but the first question Australians are clearly dying to know the answer to is this: with all the press on the royal wedding a while ago, does Pippa Evans feel overshadowed by Pippa Middleton?
Evans brushes it off, laughing, “I don’t think so…I think we’re in different institutes.”
Fair enough. Evans studied Drama and Theatre Arts at Birmingham University, and has always had a fondness for comedy. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be an actor,” she adds. All of her work is more or less comedy based, because, as she puts it, “I’m not very good at being serious. I do improvisation, musical stuff, where you don’t have to be serious and just make up funny rhymes.”
There are a few comedians from the UK coming over for the Festival, including Idiots of Ants (incidentally, three of them went to the same university as Evans). The UK comedy scene is quite tight knit, she says. “Yeah, we all know each other…it’s funny seeing the little cliques you get.”
Evans belongs to the musical comedy/improv clique. Considering her affinity for music, it’s no wonder that her most lauded character in her shows is Loretta Maine, a country and western rockstar who is frequently compared to Courtney Love, or a darker version of Dolly Parton.
“She’s a compilation of a lot of things,” Evans relates, adding, “She’s a compilation of me aged 19 and all teenage angst…and also people like Courtney Love and all those sorts of angry women.” Evans’ brother is also a musician, which adds a bit of truth to the character.
The question, of course, is how Loretta is going to die. A lot of rockstars die young (see: Kurt Cobain, Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Amy Winehouse. It’s even scientifically proven.)
However, Evans doesn’t think Loretta Maine will die young. “The interesting thing is what would happen if these people hadn’t died young. That’s a sort of tragedy. Because I guess if Lennon hadn’t died, would he be running around like Paul McCartney? Would he lose his kudos?” It seems like life, not death, will ruin Loretta. “She probably won’t die, because it’ll be a more interesting subject.”
This is Evans’ first time performing in Melbourne (and her first time in Australia, for that matter), and she’s excited to be here. “It’s brilliant,” she gushes. “I feel 100 times better.” She’s no stranger to comedy festivals though.
“I do the Edinburgh Festival every year, but there, you pay to go and do it. And you have to fly, and you have to get your audience and it’s not the same.” On the other hand, the MICF invites comedians to perform. “You instantly feel supported. Rather than fighting with the other acts, you’re in it together…whereas in Edinburgh, you’re kind of fighting your way through, trying to get people to come to your show.”
The show isn’t the only reason Evans is excited to be in Melbourne though. Asked about what she most wants to do or see in Melbourne, the answer is immediate. “Karl Kennedy, off Neighbours. When I was 19, I wrote him a song. I can’t remember it, but I’m going to try and remember. It’s weird, because I used to sing it almost every month, and I can’t remember how it goes! But I remember it was really great.”
“I’m an über Alan Fletcher fan.”