Sara Pascoe's inclined to lecture, if you listen to her version of herself. ‘I’m a fun lady!’ She means it sarcastically but she is a fun lady.
Pascoe is intelligent and accessible, and if she’s self-deprecating it’s about her social skills, not about her appearance. She manages to be charming and mainstream; no-one could possibly take umbrage at her or her jokes, and at the same time she is relentlessly feminist. The points she makes on stage will travel far.
Pascoe opens her show by disarming the audience with a voice-over asking everyone to clap and cheer as though the performer they’re about to see is needy and requires an awful lot of reassurance. At the show we saw, she had notes written on her hand and made a joke about referring to them. Nice honesty. Pascoe’s a terrific story teller and employs that old saw about good writing – God lives in the details.
We like her because she addresses important and sad things like the permanent state of vigilance women are obliged to inhabit when out and about and drunk (or not) at night (how come my Uber driver looks like a murderer?) and the endemic lack of self-esteem in women, and she makes funny observations on these topics, for example: Why don’t the drag queens of Ru Paul’s Drag Race pass for real girls? Cos they know how damn fabulous they are and not only do they know it, they show it .
Pascoe's new show Animal for MICF ranges loosely around the idea of humans preferring to forget the fact that we’re mammals while touching on the difficulties of maintaining empathy and being a good person. Pascoe’s a sly comic, she will tell an apparently random tale that doesn’t sound as though it could have any sort of punch-line and then delivers a quite bonkers left-of-field finale.
The wider world of comedy appreciates Pascoe’s brand of smarter-than-average humour: she was nominated for best show at the 2014 Fosters Edinburgh Comedy Awards and is the winner of the 2014 Chortle Breakthrough Award. Pascoe has recently written a book, also called Animal, about the female body. As a stand-up she's always a good choice.
2016 Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Venue: Melbourne Town Hall (Powder Room) | Cnr Swanston & Collins Sts, Melbourne
Dates: 24 March – 17 April 2016
Tickets: $25.50 – $35