I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about stand-up comedy.
Don’t get me wrong – I love a laugh as much as the next person. But there’s a difference between clever, outlandish comedic storytelling and being controversial for controversy’s sake. It’s similar to the dislike I feel towards Katie Hopkins or Piers Morgan, people I feel like care so much more about being recognised that what they’re recognised for.
Sara Pascoe, I believe, has truly mastered the art of stand-up comedy. She manages to be outrageously funny without offending a whole host of people before she even gets to the punch-line.
On a hungover post-Halloween Thursday evening, my pal and I made our way down to the Tyne Theatre & Opera House (a hidden gem of the toon) to see Sara Pascoe’s LadsLadsLads. We somehow wrangled our way into one of the theatre boxes. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of sitting in a box, I implore you to do it if ever given the chance. We had our own personal toilet which, when you’re as hungover as I was, is quite a necessary precautionary measure. With our top-notch seats secured and theatre snacks in hand, we sat down to enjoy the show.[pullquote]Pascoe’s sex positivity and celebration of independent women was incredibly empowering[/pullquote]
The name LadsLadsLads was a reference to Pascoe’s recent break-up, after which she said she wanted to follow her streak of 8 boyfriends in 10 years (“How did I fit them all in you ask? Overlap”) with a year of celibacy, part of a larger quest to learn to love herself by herself. We’ve all had a bit of a shit break-up at some point, and Pascoe’s show was brilliantly relatable. It spoke to post-break-up feelings a lot of us have had. Of wanting to better yourself, then realising such task is harder than you bargained for.
Pascoe did bits about everything from incest to pornography, she managed to make some sincerely valuable points about self-love and independence without her show feeling like some sort or philosophical self-help lecture, but I did get something like that out of it. As I was sat there splitting my sides over a bit about the weird world of blowjobs, I thought to myself ‘hang on, she has got a point here’.
Pascoe managed to do some pretty outlandish bits which some people would deem ‘too rude’ like impersonating a penis going in and out of a vagina, looking at a photo of a dead animal carcass every time it went in. But everything she did had a point. This time, for instance, she was doing a bit about boyfriends and veganism.
The show was a feminist masterpiece. Pascoe’s sex positivity and celebration of independent women was incredibly empowering. The buzz from the audience was tangible. Right off the bat, Pascoe emphasised the informality of the show. ‘Go on your phone if you like’ she said, encouraging people to also go get a pint or pop to the loo if they ever wanted to. She remarked multiple times on her dislike of ‘art’ and ‘culture’, claiming it takes itself too seriously.[pullquote]It spoke to post-break-up feelings a lot of us have had of wanting to better yourself, then realising such task is harder than you bargained for.[/pullquote]
Her show dismantled the stuffy serious atmosphere expected at a lot of events that take place in theatres. Especially, in ones as decadent as the Opera House. This definitely played to her benefit over the course of the show, as some of the funniest moments came from her interaction with the audience and the complete willingness to respond. Although there was a bizarre heckle roughly 20 seconds away from the end of the show, at which point someone shouted ‘Dolores’. No context, no reference to anything else that had happened in the show, just ‘Dolores’. Although obscure, it provided us all with quite a few laughs.
I’ve been a fan of Pascoe for a few years now. She’s always a refreshing face on TV comedy panel shows and her book Animal: The Autobiography of the Female Body is a work of art. It is rare that I go to comedy shows with much knowledge of the comedian that I am seeing beforehand, so having a chance to see Pascoe was pretty special.
If you get the chance to see LadsLadsLads, take it. It’s a great and honest piece of comedy which celebrates the virtues of break-ups and gives you an insight into the unique mind of Sara Pascoe.