Comedian Chloe Petts: ‘I thought I had all that masculinity stuff figured out’ | Comedy

“I“I am a radical and queer feminist,” says Chloe Petts. “But also a top footballer who wants to go to darts all the time.” So her new stand-up set, Transience, has gags about being a die-hard Crystal Palace fan and a darts routine that she says “could be the key to the whole show, but I could also be delusional”.

Petts hadn’t exactly planned to cover the genre and her presentation (she had already done that in her debut, Alpha) but as Covid-19 restrictions eased and she went out in public more, the comedian decided to explore it again. She is, for example, sometimes read as male when wearing a face mask. “I thought I had solved all this stuff about masculinity and how people respond to me. But I hadn’t. I was just stuck at home and everyone else who had been problematic had also been locked up at inside.

The show, she says, includes the recall of a man who – thinking she was a man – pushed her, and a woman who kicked her out of the women’s restroom. Through this, she hopes audience members will “discover something a little outside of their experience, or be affirmed because they’ve never heard anyone talk about their experience in this way before.”

‘A moral person and a laugh’… Chloe Petts. Photography: Matt Crockett

Throughout our chat, Petts is laid-back, smart, and funny — just like she is on stage. When asked what she loves about her job, the 28-year-old actress replies, “I love doing comedy because I’ve always dreamed of a retired life.” What? “You can hang out and watch a movie in the middle of the day, then go out in the evening and go to concerts,” she explains. Petts is highly respected among her industry peers; Catherine Bohart, a stand-up colleague, calls him “a moral person and a laugh. Do you know how difficult it is to find that right balance? She’s an amazing, kind and loyal friend. Unless it’s game day, she’s unbearable.

Born and raised in Sittingbourne, Kent, Petts moved to London aged 18 to study English Literature at UCL, and branched out into comedy after first trying out acting in the drama department of the University. “I realized what I was doing all the time was just one version of myself for each character,” she laughs. While performing on the London circuit, she met other LGBTQ+ comedians and, in 2016, co-founded the word LOLa collective of queer, non-binary comedians, with friends Jodie Mitchell, Chloe Green and comedy duo Shelf (Rachel Watkeys-Dowie and Ruby Clyde).

The band proved successful, with a recurrent night at the Soho Theater. In early 2020, Petts was preparing for Alpha, which explored his masculinity. But, of course, Covid-19 happened, and so that was canceled, although Petts incorporated it into a Penguin audiobook. During the pandemic, she worked in a cafe, performing concerts whenever restrictions permitted and becoming a full-time comedian last August.

As we speak, she is halfway through her support for Ed Gamble on the UK tour of his show, Electric. “It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my career, for sure,” she said. Obviously, the couple struck up a friendship. Gamble says of Petts, “She has an ease on stage that took me a lot longer to crack and she can sell huge subjects to a wide audience in an approachable way that I’m very jealous of.” Still, he jokes, “As a supporting act, though – a nightmare. She insists on sitting in the back of the car because it makes her “feel like an underage royal”. And if we don’t listen to her sets in the car, she threatens to get sick in the back of the tour manager’s head.

After his tour, Petts will take Transience to the outskirts of Edinburgh. She’s also working on a few things with the LOL Word that she can’t talk about (“which is very showbiz,” she jokes), and writing something with her friend and comedienne Ania Magliano. What does the future hold? As always, Petts is relaxed — demure, even. “You just do what’s in your control and write for fun, and if anything comes of those things then great”.

Ultimately, she says, her goal with Transience is to “talk about my experience in a fun and accessible way.” She concludes: “So maybe next time, if they see someone who doesn’t look like ‘a boy’ or doesn’t look like ‘a girl’, they’ll be like, ‘Oh, that’s okay. I don’t need an answer. This person wants to look like her.

About Ronda Reed

Check Also

Yummy Mummy oozes Oomph in casual clothes

Kareena Kapoor Khan, the gorgeous mom of two handsome boys, is still one of our …