Mae Martin has been in the stand-up game since she was 13. She was one-third of Canada’s youngest sketch troupe, The Young And The Useless, whose first slot on stage was well past their bedtime.

“I’ve never wanted to do anything else,” explains Martin, who has recently moved to England.

“Somebody made the foolish mistake of taking me to a comedy club when I was 11.

“I don’t know how they let me in. I sat in the front row of this late-night dingy club in Toronto and I was completely in awe of all these comics.

“I hadn’t realised you could be a comedian. I didn’t know it was even a job.”

Within two years she was semi pro. She dropped out of school aged 15 to tell gags full-time.

“My parents were not pleased but I didn’t give them much of an option. I was out three or four nights a week doing it. Hopefully over time I will prove to them it was a wise choice.

“Although,” she adds, “ for my birthday they sent me a lab coat with a note saying if comedy doesn’t work out I could be doctor.”

She’s now 25 – though she looks as if that first show at Second City in Toronto in 2002 was only last week.

Back then, the girl trio talked about school, teachers and parents.

Her first line on British TV on Russell Howard’s Good News late last year was: “Hi guys! I’m Justin Bieber.”

The boyish barnet and self-deprecating style are complemented by a refreshing honesty.

Her new material reveals that the pain of adolescence is hanging around.

“I know I’m barely out of it and a bit young to be feeling nostalgic about youth,” she says, talking from her bed, chatting on the phone and drinking a coffee, “but my new show is mostly about the adolescent drama of being a teenager, how life feels and how nostalgic you feel for those years of drama and intensity.”

Spots and greasy hair are bad enough for most at school. Martin went though braces, puberty and indecision about her sexuality on stage.

“I’m only just realising how lucky I was to grow up in this liberal utopia.

“I brought girls and boys home. I never came out to my parents. I never felt the need to put a label on my sexuality.

“Throughout my whole childhood they said you will fall in love with a human being. They were always so open-minded. It’s only now I’m realising that it is an issue.

“People, especially if you are in the public eye, need to quickly label you so they can wrap their heads around it.”

Her father is the former musician and actor turned food critic and author, James Chatto. The Englishman starred as Annas and Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar in the West End in the 1980s. He met Mae’s mother, Wendy Martin, when in Canada. They settled in North America after a spell in Corfu.

Reconnecting with her British roots is one reason Martin came to the UK. There is the fact that the comedy circuit here is matched only by New York’s. Though perhaps most important is her fandom for the nation’s great cultural exports.

“I am fairly devoted to the Spice Girls. I love Scary Spice. My gaydar is going crazy for her. I have been looking and I will find her. I went to try to find Sporty Spice in the West End when she was doing a show. We waited at the stage door but didn’t get to meet her.”

As yet, the Spice Girls have not made it into her latest show, Slumber Party. That might change given it is a work-in-progress for Edinburgh Fringe.

The good and bad of England and Europe are regularly in her material. There is the accent, the stress of living, even Harry Potter: “I’m jealous of people with a quest, with clear purposes in life.”

She was on BBC Radio 3 debriefing the 50 Best Moments of the Olympics and on Radio 4’s Fresh From the Fringe.

She’s also working on a show for the BBC about Eurovision.

“I still don’t know it if it is a joke or not. It looks like it was filmed 20 years ago. I had to watch hours and hours and I felt a bit mad. It was like being on Prozac.”

Despite having appeared on Canadian TV regularly as a teenager and oozing confidence on stage, Martin admits she still gets stage fright.

“I should be way better than I am, considering I’ve been doing it for so long. I feel like it’s only recently I’ve found my voice.

“You have to figure out who you are and though I enjoy one-liners, I am honest and personal and confessional – it’s more affecting if it rings true.”

  • The Dukebox Theatre, The Iron Duke, Waterloo Street, Hove, Friday, April 26. Doors 7.45pm, £6. For tickets, visit