Multi award-winning comedienne Sara Pascoe has been seen on television shows such as Have I Got News For You, QI and Travel Man to name a few, and filmed and co-starred in the most recent WIA series. Following on from her sold out Animal tour (based on her acclaimed book) her LadsLadsLads show will tour after a sell-out West End success. Sara is presently writing her second book, Sex Power Money. essence caught up with her to find out more.
Q Sara, what is your show LadsLadsLads about? Why is it described as a “thinking person’s stag do”?
A It’s sometimes hard to summarise what a show is about. I wanted to give people the sense that it’s fun and celebratory rather than about being about to get married, in fact the exact opposite: having fun, trying new things in a way of being braver and more self-reliant. Some of my past shows have had serious aspects, theories and research, and this one is lighter. It’s like a party, except only I get to talk and you have to sit there watching me.
Q Are you excited or daunted by going back on tour?
A I love going on tour, I love our nation, I love rainy days up north and cold evenings by the seaside. It’s a luxury to get to travel for one’s job and it’s still a novelty for me, but ask me again in 20 years!
Q You’re touring from September until the end of November. Do you see the show developing throughout the tour?
A As my comedy is personal, there are always updates. This show develops with recent escapades, my friends can persuade me to do anything by saying: “you’ll get five minutes out of it”. That’s how I was recently tricked into watching a West Ham football match and seeing the film IT. They were both equally scary and I got exactly zero minutes out of them.
Q Tell us about your new book Sex Power Money, published next spring.
A It’s about porn and sex work from a historical and evolutionary perspective. I am taking biology and the plasticity of human sexuality into account, and also laying out the whole spectrum of arguments in the debate about these aspects of our society. I’m also trying to explore power dynamics in sexual exchanges, which are not as clearly defined as paying for sex. Things like men paying for dinner, the abuse by powerful, rich men such as Weinstein and Trump, but all with jokes; similar to my last book, Animal, talking about serious and important matters and keeping it accessible and stimulating rather than hectoring.
Q Did the experience of writing a book change the way you approach comedy?
A Yes, writing a book has changed my stand up. I think I’m funnier now because I spend more time with ideas for the books, after a day’s writing doing a gig is a release. I only want to be silly and it doesn’t feel as selfish, if that makes sense? Comedy feels like a child’s job, you can’t believe you’re getting paid to do it. But there are huge things going on in the world and sometimes you feel a responsibility because you’ve a microphone in your hand. But now my responsible side that cares about the state of the world can go into book writing and stand up can be a distraction from that.
Q Tell us about your recent Radio 4 series Modern Monkey where you explore our modern social world. Did you enjoy the research involved?
A Yes. I wish it had been more scientific and I could’ve done more research – but I kept being reminded it was supposed to be a comedy show and I had to write jokes. We recorded the show at several museums and I was so interested to visit and learn, especially the Foundling Museum – something I knew nothing about. It was so tragic: mothers having to give their children away because they couldn’t afford to support them.
Q Do you think the world of comedy has changed much since you started?
A I think audiences are changing and that directly influences the acts. Comedy used to be a crueller place and while there is still lots of that kind of stuff (and lots of people who love it), there is more diversity now. I hope that continues; live comedy is flourishing within an economic downturn and that’s because the people making jokes are from a much wider spectrum. Their experiences are fresh and exciting and audiences want that. It’s not the individual, white, able-bodied man’s fault that historically comedy clubs were so reliant on stereotype and tropes, but only one type of person’s reality was being reflected and I’m glad that’s improving.
Q Do you have a career highlight? Is there a moment you stopped and thought, wow, this is just incredible?
A Getting to write books is a massive privilege. Whenever I do a book signing that, for me, is a ‘pinch myself’ moment. Also selling out a West End run, those theatres are an absolute joy to play and it felt like a victory lap. I felt so much love for every person in the audience and wanted to kiss and hug everyone. I am a failed actor, didn’t get into drama school, all of that malarkey. So getting to be in the West End was so special to me, a validation.
Q What’s next for you following the tour?
A I’d like to do some stand up in America, and hopefully some writing for television and another play. I want to get a dog and then have more adventures so I can write another show.
Sara Pascoe’s tour LadsLadsLads
Sunday 16 September to Wednesday 28 November 2018
Appearing at Richmond Theatre on Monday 1 October and The Capitol, Horsham on Thursday 18 October.Website: www.sarapascoe.com Twitter: @sarapascoe