Sara Pascoe: 'It's about having fun, trying new things to be braver and more self-reliant.'

Sara Pascoe

Matt Crockett

The comedian and writer returns with her acclaimed show about a breakup

Western civilisation may seem like a hostile place at the moment, but Sara Pascoe considers the world of stand-up to be a rather different story. 'Comedy used to be a crueller place, and while there is still lots of that kind of stuff, there is a lot more diversity now. And 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.'

It's that kind of optimistic outlook that Pascoe harnessed for her latest touring show LadsLadsLads, an acclaimed set that focused on her break-up with fellow comic John Robins. 'It's sometimes hard to summarise what a show is about,' Pascoe insists. 'I wanted to give people the sense that it is fun and celebratory, but rather than about being about to get married, it's the exact opposite. It's about having fun, trying new things to be braver and more self-reliant. Some of my shows in the past have had serious aspects, theories and research and this one is lighter.'

Since she started stand-up in 2007, Pascoe has made a name for herself with probing, intellectually themed shows which are loaded with gags. No surprise then that she branched out into book writing too. First with 2016's Animal and the forthcoming Sex Power Money.

'It's about porn and sex work from a historical and evolutionary perspective,' says Pascoe. '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 with jokes! Talking about serious, important stuff, but keeping it accessible and stimulating rather than hectoring.'

Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling, Sat 20 Oct; Tramway, Glasgow, Sun 21 Oct.

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