Comedian and writer Lynn Ferguson tells us about 10 things that changed her life...

1 Tea

I DRINK loads of tea. I’m a tea drinker. I’m not even halfway through my first cup so I’m technically still in bed.

People buy it for me because they know how much I love it. There’s a competition between friends as to how big a cup they can get me. I think the biggest must be about a pint.

The National: A cup of tea with milk is stirred..

My mum and granny used to drink a lot of tea and I thought it was boring but as I’ve got older I’m into being boring. We go to these events over here – in Los Angeles – and eventually I want to get home into pyjamas and have my tea.

I was really sick for a little while and had to prepare for stuff, give up food and I was meant to give up tea but I refused – I’d have one cup a day.

2 Finding Mark

I MET him in London one night after a stand-up gig and I told him I was a dentist because I figured nobody is interested in them, no offence, and I didn’t want a relationship with anybody. It was just going to be me and my tea.

Then we ended up married and having kids and all that stuff. I do genuinely believe if you have one other person in the world who gives a shit that you’re here then everything is much easier. I had it with my family but I’m in a partnership, we make all decisions together.

We’ve done a lot of crazy shit in the time we’ve been together, stuff I wouldn’t have done had I not met him.

3 America

AMERICA changed everything in that we arrived here in 2008 and my plan was I would stay for six months. We arrived in the country and had two children under the age of six and eight suitcases and nothing else.

We moved into a house that was supposedly part-furnished on the Sunday and I was starting at CBS on Monday. When I got offered the job over here I said no, and they felt it would be a mistake.

I called up Mark and said, “these crazy guys have offered me a job” but he told me to take it. I said we couldn’t move from London to LA in six weeks and he just went “yeah we can”.

The thing I wish more people in Scotland knew about America is how much people here respect people in Scotland.

If you say you’re Scottish, people love it. It’s like saying I’m from Narnia. I meet people that say they’re Scottish and everything about them says you’re evidently not, but it’ll be because of their lineage.

4 Motherhood

HAVING kids is even more important than tea. Just. I need more tea in the morning before I deal with my kids.

Motherhood really changed me in that I didn’t expect to do it, I hadn’t planned on it before I met Mark.

It changed not just the way of thinking but practically. I used to do a lot of stand-up and late-night shows but then as soon as I had Fergus, my eldest, I thought, I’m not having a kid and not being around.

Part of the reason I’m coming back to Edinburgh is my youngest kid is now 16 and people have Zoom and can message each other in different ways. I’d only ever thought about things I wanted to do or perform but once I had my kids, I thought, this shit stops.

When I came to LA, I was writing for CBS and Pixar but with Pixar I was writing at home and didn’t have to go anywhere.

It changed me in a very practical way which was putting other people first.

5 Bobby Brewster’s Balloon Race

IT’S a book by HE Todd. I won that book when I was seven or eight for writing a poem about fox hunting. It was some big competition that I didn’t know anything about. The teacher had put it in for me, I didn’t know anything about it. I got this book and everybody made a big deal.

I didn’t grow up writing – my dad was a postman; my mum was a schoolteacher. It was the first time I understood that people could write and you could get things by doing that. I remember saying to the teacher I was pleased I’d won because if I hadn’t I would have “given this writing thing up”.

I remember the look on her face. I mean kids pick stuff up from wherever, I must have seen it on TV. It was such a weird thing for a kid that age to think – that their whole career might not take off because they weren’t recognised in a competition to win Bobby Brewster’s Balloon Race.

The poem was about fox hunting and it was from the point of view of the fox. It started: “The hounds, the hounds, they’re coming now with a bark and a woof and a bow wow.”

6 Gilded Balloon

THIS venue has shaped my life hugely. I met Karen Koren (artistic director) when I was doing a double act. She came into a room and shouted something and I shouted back at her and a friendship was bonded. If you know Karen, shouting is part of the friendship.

The National: Karen Koren of the Gilded Balloon pictured in Edinburgh ;16/7/15.

So much of everything I’ve done has been down to her and the Gilded and if it hadn’t existed, things would have been really different for me I think.

Through her encouragement, I started doing stand-up and Karen said she would produce an hour at the Gilded. I tried to write an hour and just couldn’t so I wrote a play instead and it won awards and went on to Channel 4 and toured and got stuff for it.

Every time I write a new project or there’s something I’ve not done before, I know if I call Karen and ask to do it at the Gilded Balloon she’ll let me.

7 Wheat

MY mother and my grandmother suffered really badly from rheumatoid arthritis, really badly. My granny had her kneecap taken out and her leg straightened. My mother had all the hand things and I thought I might have it too because I was in a lot of pain.

My husband was editing a video. It was a medical company talking about tests for gluten intolerance for celiac disease. Because he was editing, he was doing it over and over and this woman was talking about all the signs.

I just thought it was an entitled disease or something I don’t know. I listened and thought, I have that, and f**k, I’ve got that as well. I said no to a test initially but I decided to stop eating wheat and within 24 hours I felt better.

The National: A photograph shows a wheat field at a farm in southern Ukraines Mykolaiv region, on June 11, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Genya SAVILOV / AFP) (Photo by GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images).

Within 48 hours I was in no pain at all. I wish I had gone for a test because you have to go back on it to test for it but if I ate a pie or something I’d be unconscious.

If I was in an Agatha Christie novel, I’d be the one murdered by the sandwich. So wheat hugely changed my life.

8 My dog Arthur and my 10 chickens

I WAS sick and I got better. During that time we moved to a new house and it had only had one family in it from 1942. We had to rebuild it and once it was rebuilt my youngest son wanted a dog and we went and got Arthur.

It changed everything in that dogs are just magic and Arthur is a rescue dog so he was very clingy but he’s lovely.

We have quite a big yard – and it all became about life. The dog seemed to bring in life.

He was such a part of the family we decided to get chickens and before that we started growing vegetables. My husband got bees as well and it all started with this one dog.

9 The Moth

THE Moth is a storytelling group out of New York. It’s people telling stories about their lives and I had one about the birth of my eldest son.

I had worked with Kemp Powers – an Oscar-nominated screenwriter – and we had an argument about The Moth because I said I wasn’t doing it and we had a discussion about it all.

I ended up working with The Moth and hosting with them, I brought it to London. What I learned is that the truth has a sound and that when you tell the truth it sounds different and an audience hear it.

You just go out and talk about your story and it’s 3000 folk listening to you talk about your life. In terms of performing, just tell the truth. You can do a play and do acting but if you’re going to be yourself, turn up, show up and don’t make shit up. I learned that through The Moth.

10 Shish Mahal

THIS is a great Indian restaurant in Glasgow and sadly there’s not a lot of them in LA. I’ve got this cooking book and use it when I really crave a curry. I’ve got this thing with cooking where I make it once the way the recipe says and then the next time do it differently.

I’ve done business meetings over curries; we have people come over rather than going out for dinner and that’s what we make. I got to the point in my life where I realised you could pay people in food.

Lynn Ferguson's Fringe show - Storyland - is on from August 14-28. Tickets are available HERE