“I’m so glad to be here in Manchester, this festival is amazing. I’ve been having a look through the program and you’ve got some great people coming from all over… London.”
The words above are the ones Sara Pascoe opened her show with, and it only got sassier from there. Performing at 53two on 9th July she had the intimate club in stitches from the very first sketches. Sara brought something entirely fresh to the renowned Manchester International Festival with her exciting new comedic take on things.
Her brilliant observational humour is largely centred around sex, womanhood and taking the mick out of everyone—including herself. She is rare among comedians, though, for not being offensive. Outspoken, certainly, but she doesn’t target minorities, she isn’t mean and she laughs at herself as much as anyone. A pleasant change from what I’ve come to expect.
It can be difficult to laugh at comedy when every other joke seems to end with the punchline ‘classic women, am I right?’ Laughing at yourself is one thing, but targeted jokes that undermine femininity are getting old. Seriously old. When Sara makes jokes, everyone is included. Admittedly, I noticed this particularly as a woman, but only because I am so used to feeling excluded from the punchline.
When she started talking about overlapping relationships, I waited for the self-deprecating humour I’d assumed would follow. It didn’t. She subverted my expectations by saying: “I haven’t been single since 2001… I’ve just been overlapping relationships […] like a genius.” And she is a genius: a genius at turning things round and using her comedy to make you see things in an entirely new way. It’s hard to paraphrase her lines without butchering them, but I’d seriously encourage you to go to her shows for the full effect of her magic.
Clearly, not everyone likes her style of humour. One audience member apparently described her comedy as ‘tampony’ to his girlfriend. ‘Tampony’ being used as an insult, evidently. Because periods are obviously the most disgusting thing in the world, so what worse insult could there be? Classic women, am I right?
I loved that she worked this into her sketch, and past such a ridiculous insult. Tampons, periods, being a woman… nothing to be ashamed of! Sara brilliantly captured these moments and wove them together in a well-rehearsed sketch. Frequently, she will bring back an earlier joke you’d almost forgotten about and thread it back into the story, leaving you in tears once more.
She is, undoubtedly, one of our best comedians so get yourself to one of her shows as soon as you can. Whether you’re based in London, or will be at the Edinburgh Fringe, keep an eye out for her tour this summer. Easily the most ‘tampony’ comedian I’ve ever seen.