Over the last decade, Sara Pascoe has become one of the most in-demand and hardest working stand-ups in the country. Ten years ago she was a struggling actor. These days she’s a panel show regular – on Mock theWeek, QI, Have I Got News For You and more – and has hugely bumped up her acting CV with roles in The Thick of It, W1A and Twenty Twelve
‘Animal’, at the Key Theatre on 23 June, is your biggest tour yet, and coincides with the publication of your first book of the same name. What can we expect from these two beastly creations?
They’re sort of two halves. The book came first and deals with evolution and humans beings as animals – particularly female humans as animals – but after writing it I realised there were lots of other areas that I hadn’t been able to touch in the book that I have now mined for the show.
You also talk about veganism in the show – you’ve been vegan since 2009. Was there a catalyst for that?
I did [comedian] Josie Long’s project: One Hundred Days To Make Me A Better Person. My two things were a prison letter writing scheme and becoming vegan.
You describe yourself as a ‘rubbish vegan’. What does that mean?
I still have struggles with it. I talk about being a ‘rubbish vegan’ because I think trying to be better is good, and sometimes that makes you feel like a failure. People shouldn’t feel bad if they slip up. Everyone has had struggles or accidentally ate chocolate or ate a whole lump of cheese when they were drunk; those things happen and I think it’s all right to talk about it. But there are a very small number of vegans who would have us killed. They would have us killed and wear our skin.
Is it a difficult subject to talk about on stage?
As a comedian, if you sound like you’re about to be superior – and that’s what people think about veganism; that you feel that you’re morally better – you have to undercut yourself, and then it’s fine. Talking about being a rubbish vegan is funny. Talking about being an amazing vegan is not. No one wants to hear, “I have far reduced rates of the likelihood of having lung cancer!”
And are you still keeping up the prison letter writing?
No. But I’ve started again. One of the guys wrote back with very, very sexual letters, so I’ve spent about eight years working on my reply to him [laughs].
Sara Pascoe – Animal
23 June, 8pm
Key Theatre, Peterborough