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Review: Sara Pascoe

Sunday, 4 May, 2014

Ever since our parents banned us from watching The Simpsons as six-year-olds, we’ve accepted the fact that you don’t learn anything from laughing.

Sara Pascoe would disagree with that. And she would also like to tell you that there are no such things as facts, just in case Nietzsche hadn’t told you yet.

Playing the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with her show Sara Pascoe Versus The Truth, this English comedian is laughably funny even in conversation. Still, I don’t call jest when she tells me she wouldn’t mind being Prime Minister.

She does seem to have an uncanny, if unorthodox, method of problem solving, suggesting that the Melbourne Town Hall’s cockroach problem could be overcome by a few sticks of dynamite, and that a solution for domestic violence might involve some Aldous Huxley-flavoured eugenics. Though she claims her start-up days in comedy weren’t as polemically posited, she now firmly believes that comedy has a role to play in social change, telling me,

“You’re talking to people and you get to say your opinion…You’re the loudest person in the room because you have a microphone.”

In her tone, she has all the tongue-in-cheek cynicism of an Arts Student looking for a post-graduate job, but also the same strange optimism.

“There must be an answer!” she says, discussing her thought process, “I am the one who could crack this if only I had the relevant expertise!”

She has even considered going back to university to get said expertise, claiming she writes her comedy routines much like a student would a dissertation.

She asks herself, “What’s my central argument? What do I want my conclusion to be? Systematically, does that link?”

And the argument is convincing; amongst the wit and sparkle lie veritable truth-bombs that wouldn’t be out of place in a tutorial room.

“We live in a society that gives you everything,” she says, “And then oppresses you by saying, ‘Well, none of it matters unless everyone wants to sleep with you.’”

You won’t even have to feel guilty taking a night off to see her show: with the volume of facts she endeavours to wrestle, it’s practically studying anyway.