"In 1996, I pined for a boy with a bowl haircut named Bill " Idle chit-chat with Sara Barron

More idle chit-chat, this time with American-Brit comedian Sara Barron. Fresh, well a few years ago, from hosting live TV in her native USA, Sara's now living the life of a Brit in the UK. She's written a couple of books, so we asked her about those, any regrets, what comedians she recommends and a very specific question about Lou Sanders.

Hey Sara, how the devil are you?

Max, I am well, thank you for asking, as I am very nearly drunk on the joy that comes part and parcel with our atypically warm summer.

What have you been up to today?

I have so far treated myself to a pain au chocolate and chatted aloud in my kitchen (to no one other than myself) about last night’s episode of Love Island.

Your bio is pretty light on your website, who are you?

That’s a choice, the light bio. I have a thing about long bios, but I will spare you my largely incoherent and probably entirely unjustified Long Bio Rant. (LBR). I am:

A woman of 39 with a 2-year-old son and a 45-year-old husband, an American writer turned stand up living in London. While Stateside - while I was still writing full-time - I landed the role of host for this U.S. storytelling show, The Moth. This, in turn, gave me the bug for live performance. It also introduced me to my (British) husband, which prompted my eventual move to the UK.

I’ve since gotten married, birthed a baby, started standup, and now I plan to birth a debut standup hour that could very nearly double as my impending midlife crisis. My husband is SUPER excited, and yes: the front half of this sentence is meant to convey that, in point of fact, Americans do understand sarcasm.

Describe your comedy style.

Artfully aggressive.

Tell us what you can about your show for the Fringe in two sentences?

I take another woman’s happy ending – “I’m engaged!!!!” – as the start of a story that tracks the misery of compromise and weighs the value of the ticket price of a lifetime of companionship. Served up is the underbelly of domestic life, i.e. it’s not life as we like to present it; it’s life as it actually is.

How many times have you been to the Fringe, and what’s your best memory?

I have never been up for the full month before. I went for a weekend, both in 2014 and 2015. In 2016 I was in the throes of dealing with a newborn and skipped the festival entirely, and then in 2017 I went up for a week sans baby and husband. As any mother of any one-year-old will tell you, all that time to myself... it was just one, long, beautiful, euphoric, well-rested, self-indulgent high.

What do you do when you’re up at the Fringe? (Other than your shows obvs.)

Binge-watch as much comedy as I can. Good stuff, bad stuff, all stuff.

I I talked to Cariad Lloyd about the Griefcast, I’ve not heard your episode yet (sorry…), how did you find the experience?

Cariad is utterly bizarre in her skillset, and by “bizarre” what I mean, really, is incomprehensibly talented at such a wide breadth of stuff that it feels actually bizarre. I have known her as a world-class improvisor and top-of-line character actor, and doing her podcast I observed a woman so nimble and intuitive with her interviewing - and this is to say nothing of the compassion and humor she brings to her craft - that I struggled to understand it… I struggled to understand her. She’s a maestro, and so I unsurprisingly enjoyed myself tremendously. And that’s really saying something when you consider that the bulk of what we talked about was fertility struggles and miscarriages, and miscarriages in movie theatres, and also frozen yogurt.

You’ve written a book (collection of essays?) called ‘The Harm In Asking’. What’s a question you regret asking?

In 1996, I pined for a boy with a bowl haircut named Bill (what alliteration!), and I asked if it might be okay for me to kiss him and he said “no”. Back then, I was not such an elegant gazelle, and the sting of that rejection will go away ANY DAY NOW.  

A few years removed now, is there anything that you put in ‘People Are Unappealing’ that you regret?

Loads. Including (but not limited to!) thinly-veiled celebrity stories.

What’s the story you’ve had in the years since you’d want to add now?

My brother and I failed to recognize each other on this one random occasion, and nearly wound up flirting. It was super disgusting, but not un-funny.

Where’s the weirdest place you’ve gigged?

Well, I’ve not gigged anywhere espesh bizarre, BUT: I did go to a gig that Jake Bugg did in a bathroom, and that was quite something.

What other comedian is worth checking out?

Steen Raskopoulos. My comedy intuition is telling me that he’s in the throes of creating something epic.

Lou Sanders named you as her choice, what have you got to say to Lou?

Thank you and I love you, which she knows.

What I’d like to say about Lou rather than to Lou is that in terms of actual, real belly laughs at an Edinburgh show, no one will get you going harder. She’s always been the purely, gut-bustingly funniest, and this year she’s continuing in that realm, but also tackling bigger subjects too. It’s ambitious in the best possible way, and very exciting.

What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?

How often do you shower?

Finally, how do you take your coffee?

Milk, no sugar, thank you.

Catch Sara's Edinburgh Fringe show 'For Worse', at The Tron 2nd to 26th August at 3:40pm

To find out more about Sara you can visit her website, be amused by her on Twitter, like her on Facebook, or virtually stalk her on Instagram.

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