Tomorrow night at The Unity Theatre, Sara Pascoe will be performing a preview of her new show, Sara Pascoe vs History, before she heads up to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and embarks on a UK wide tour. You might recognise Sara from her numerous TV appearances, including roles in Twenty Twelve and The Thick of It, as well as popular panel shows like QI and Mock the Week. But it’s as a live stand up that Sara really shines, delighting audiences with intelligent silliness and an electric stage presence. We chatted to Sara about what to expect from the show, her advice to new acts and what really makes her laugh out loud…
What can we expect from your latest show, Sara Pascoe vs. History?
The show is a little talk and think about all the ‘past’ that affects our relationships. We have our own failed relationships weighing upon us, our parents way of doing things and then our evolutionary history. The mechanics and instincts that surround pair bonding.
Your last show dealt with some philosophical issues… how important do you think it is that comedy conveys a message?
I don’t have an all out agenda. I do tell jokes that are silly and abstract as well as politicised, but I also really, really want to be a good person and a fine, upstanding part of my society. I don’t want to pump sewage into the world, I don’t want to bully or denigrate the vulnerable or easy targets, I want to be good. And sometimes, oh happy day, I am able to be funny while also discussing something moral or interesting. That is when I am at my best I think.
How far is your material based on your real life?
I would say 85% exactly true, but you often need a bit of wiggle room in order to find more comedy. An example would be talking about a really bad date I went on, but actually I would combine two things that happened on different dates. Or something that happened to my friend once, I will say it happened to me. I used to be a pathological liar and that is now what I get paid to do at work. But the platform is usually true.
How far is your comedy persona true to you offstage?
I think I am very similar off stage as on. Although I am much quieter without a microphone. And less scripted. When I first started I was a bigger, cartoon-ier version of myself, now I am plonking on stage as me.
What’s your best memory from the Fringe?
Dancing. It always involves a night out, Hot Dub [Time Machine] or something. I am in love with lots of comics, like Aisling Bea and Celia Paquola and Shappi Korsandi and Cariad Lloyd and Claudia O’Doherty and Josie Long. When I get to see those ladies on a dance floor I feel very, very privileged to have such a fun and varied life.
Which show (other than your own) would you recommend this year at the Fringe?
John Robins ‘This Tornado Loves You’. He is my favourite male comedian.
What’s the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
For Brett Goldstein’s (male comedian, star of Derek) birthday, I got him a card that said ‘Congratulations on Your Baby’ and then I laughed and laughed at my own stupid joke.
What advice would you give to young people looking to get into stand up?
Jump in, both feet. Give it a try. It doesn’t mean it will have to be your job but it’s a wonderful way to express yourself. Don’t get tied down with punchlines if that’s not how you write, being interesting is as important as being funny, you can always gag things up later. Be sweet and grateful to the audience. No matter how small or terrifying they might be. Just be glad that they are there and that also will relax you. But just try it little fishes!
Why should people come and see the show in one sentence?
You will learn a lot about sperm, and it will be something to talk about at work the next day.
Sara Pascoe will be performing at The Unity Theatre on Wednesday 23rd July. A few tickets are still available on The Unity website here, or call the box office on 0844 873 2888.
Read our preview of the show here.
You catch Sara in Edinburgh throughout August at Assembly George Square Studios, 8.15pm. Full dates and tickets here.