Sarah Pascoe was born in Dagenham in 1981 and raised in Romford. Sarah Pascoe is one of the UK’s leading comedians. Known for weaving quirky comedy into routines about science and politics, she got her start as a comedy circus in 2007 and was nominated for an Edinburgh Award in 2014. Pascoe later became a TV staple on shows like QI and 8 Out of 10 Cats, and starred in In her own series Last Woman on Earth in 2020. She has written two books, Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body (2016) and Sex Power Money (2019). Touring from November to 2023.
This is a picture from the first time on stage He played Glinda the Good Witch in The Wiz. Behind me is Sophie, a member of the theater troupe. There was a lot of talk about weight behind the scenes and I remember looking fat, which is really tragic. Other than that, I was just excited to get my hands on some frosted lipstick—Rimmel was a ’90s classic. We were performing in a small stage, but we still wore the orange foundation and thick eyeliner so the people in the background could see our features; Like we’re Lawrence Oliver or something.
appearance theater box At Romford it was crucial to me, even if it started as a punishment from my mother. A few weeks before I got there she had gone out for the night and I ended up hosting this house party – a lot of kids showed up and ruined the place. Mom came home the next morning, took one look at the trash bags full of empty bottles, smelled lingering cigarettes and knew what had happened. There was a woman who ran a theater troupe who lived down the street, so my mom decided that we should banish me to the stage and take me off the street would be an appropriate form of revenge. Unfortunately, it backfired when Lee released the juggernaut of his ego. I thought, “I’m going to be an actor now!”
Before I joined this group, I had no good friends. Everyone in my school year thought I was weird – I was the type to ask teachers if they could hold poetry meetings. When I was in the theatrical troupe, I was seen as more of a weirdo and funny than a weird kid in the wrong sneakers. It also helped that the people running it made it seem like being on stage was a possible future career. Their encouragement clearly paid off – CBBC’s Andy Day was part of the group, and Russell died in the same circles. Even though we come from Romford and working class backgrounds, we were told that anything is possible.
Around this time, fame started thinking in my head. My dad was in a band – pop band Flintlock in the ’70s – but he didn’t enjoy it and quit after a few years. When I told him I was going to be famous, he was really against it. Not in Billy Elliott’s way – he never said I couldn’t – but because he was a real musician, he was afraid I’d be on a TV talent show. He didn’t really want me to become famous for the sake of fame and wanted me to have a real job. Unfortunately, I didn’t care: I auditioned for Michael Barrymore’s TV show My Kind of People, which is set in a mall. I got there, did a short interview with Barrymore, started singing a song, and then forgot the lyrics, so I just cried. To motivate me, the audience joined. I was so ashamed of what happened and didn’t talk about it for a long time. But when I had the opportunity to participate in the All Together Now singing competition a few years ago, I took the opportunity to make up. Gemma Collins and some other athletes also competed. My agent said, “I think you’re over that.” I said, “I don’t think you understand, I need to do this for my teenage self! Imagine if I could sing!” So I did: I went upstage, had a hard time, and finally got up, and Geri Halliwell said I was bad at singing. Suddenly I’m back in Barrymore!
Nobody saw my comedic career coming. My mom loves to tell people how unfunny I grew up and how amazing it has become my profession. I also hated comedy. If you asked me at uni if I liked standing, I would say why is someone laughing? Have you seen the world take myself seriously and decide that the only way I can act anymore is to do the kinds of plays that can help improve people’s lives: political theater, Brecht agitation, thought provoking things and maybe also saving the environment. Eventually I realized that it’s a lot easier to get people to listen if you try to make them laugh too.
It took me a while to find confidence. My voice. When I was young, one of the things I did to give myself a boost was pretend I looked like that girl in school who had a huge chest, olive skin, and curly brown hair—the opposite of what I do. I felt the same way when I started standing up – I really enjoyed being on stage, but what I didn’t like was the uncertainty of, “Oh my God, they’re looking at me.” I wish I was on the radio, just a disembodied voice. So I made myself pretend to be someone else. The problem with this is that you are still undermining yourself. This separation – although it gave me false confidence – did not give me deep confidence.
What did you say on stage? It was very important and I enjoyed it a lot, but when I saw a picture from the party I was suddenly disappointed and said, “What! She looked like that!” I would wear a raincoat or an all-black dress. There was a time when I was like, “Fuck, I don’t have time to change before the party. The audience will see my knees!” Then, when I saw Andy Osho on stage, everything changed: She was the first British comedian to dress like she was glamorous and beautiful—as If only it should have been noticed on her too. Kathryn Ryan took this approach to another level. Whenever I’m in the mood to look stylish these days, I do. I often tell myself that the uglier I look, the funnier I am. If I think I’m having a bad day, that’s great because it means I’m going to put in a great performance.
I’m 41 looking back on this skinny girl With her really long hair, beautiful 14-year-old skin, and think about how terrible those negative thoughts are. Since becoming a mother and giving birth to a young child, it has become clear how strong we are on ourselves. When it comes to my baby and my success, all I want is health and longevity. Kindness and trust. He thinks it’s enough. Because my 14-year-old self has been really cool. I got my job today. She had bad makeup, rejection, bad vibes, and she still thought, “There’s something at the end.” She had real rudeness – and I owe her a lot.