Fresh back from a shark diving holiday off the coast of Mexico, Zoe Lyons is enjoying a blustery walk in her hometown of Brighton when we call for a chat about her forthcoming visit to Bedford as part of her new tour.
The comedian is heading out on the road for the first time since 2019 and said that touring ‘post-pandemic’ feels like a whole new world.
“The pandemic was a very hard time for comedians,” said Zoe.
“I put my own spin on it by deciding to have a massive midlife crisis – which brought its own unique flavour to the situation. There’s nothing like a global catastrophe to throw the wheels off your life.”
Her new show is based around everything that happened to Zoe throughout that time, not least splitting up with her wife for a year (they’re happily back together again now), which saw her living on her own for the first time in 30 years.
And then she lost all her hair.
“It might not sound like fertile ground for comedy but…”
Zoe had suffered from alopecia as a child but says it was not to this extent. “This time, I lost about 80% of my hair which was very depressing, but humour does come out of it,” she said.
“If I make fun of it, I’m in control of it. Talking about it can be very cathartic.”
She says she’s been astonished by the number of people she’s met that are affected by the condition and feels that sharing her experiences will break the stigma around female hair loss.
In true mid-life crisis style, turning 50 saw Zoe leave her wife, buy a sports car, run an ultramarathon and adopt a combover (“It was quite a blokey mid-life crisis”), but says she’s come out the other side so much happier.
“I don’t think my mid-life crisis would have been quite so ‘in crisis’ if it hadn’t been for the incident in Wuhan,” she says. “But it’s been an opportunity to look at what’s not working and I wouldn’t swap it for anything.”
As well as preparing for her tour and swimming with sharks, Zoe recently filmed an episode of The World’s Most Dangerous Roads, travelling to Turkey with Joe Wilkinson. It will be aired on Dave in February and also features Stephen Mangan, Maisie Adams and Phil Wang.
Zoe Lyons is bringing her Bald Ambition tour to Bedford’s Quarry Theatre on Saturday 18 March and there are just a handful of tickets left here.