Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Sara Barron appearing soon in Cambridge
Comedian Sara Barron, an Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee who has also appeared on Live at the Apollo, is coming soon to a city venue near you.
The energetic live performer started the tour of her new-ish show Enemies Close on Saturday (October 2) in Bath and will also take in six nights at London’s Soho Theatre before stopping off at the Cambridge Junction later this month. Then, on November 19, Sara will be appearing as part of Custard Comedy at Storey’s Field Centre.
In Enemies Closer, Sara, who made her debut at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2018, examines kindness, meanness, ex-boyfriends, current husbands, all four of her remaining friends and two of her 12 enemies.
Speaking to the Cambridge Independent from her home in northeast London, Sara says she now feels more British than American (she is married to an Englishman and has lived here for nine years). “I think there is a negativity that was always living inside me that perhaps is more suited to British culture than American culture,” she observes.
“Or maybe it’s not even negativity, so much as it is that I find it uncomfortable when people just talk about how great everything is... I’d rather talk about how terrible everything is.”
On Enemies Closer, Sara says: “It was a show that I wrote a couple of years ago and the intention had been to tour it about a year and a half ago, then I don’t know if you heard but a pandemic happened – so it’s been unpaused.
“The origin story of it was that I was sat in a café trying to get some work done at my computer and this friend of mine texted me... and without giving too much away because it’s all baked into the content of the show, the point of the message was that something really bad had happened to someone that I actively disliked.
“I thought, ‘Oh, that’s such an interesting, terrible but very human and very understandable response – rejoicing in the misery of someone you’ve always actively disliked’. That bit of human behaviour, I started picking apart and wrote a show around it.”
Despite television appearances on programmes such as Live at the Apollo, Would I Lie to You?, 8 Out of 10 Cats, and Frankie Boyle’s New World Order – and nominations for Best Newcomer at both the Edinburgh Comedy Awards and the Chortle Awards in 2018 – this is Sara’s very first UK tour. She is understandably excited.
“I’m not someone who does stand-up because I want to use it as a jumping off point to be a presenter or an actor,” she says. “I just love stand-up so getting to tour and go around the country with my hour-plus of material is, and this will be a very American thing to say, but very much a dream come true.”
The show was mainly written before the pandemic. Has it changed at all to include more about what has happened in the last 18 months? “I feel like I want to leave that at the door,” replies Sara. “First of all, the truth is I don’t think I came up with any particularly brilliant Covid material.
“Some comedians really did but I didn’t necessarily... so I just feel like at this point I like hearing about non-coronavirus related stuff, so this will very much be that. You want to see life reflected and you want stuff that really resonates and feels true – or at least I do...
“But then at the same time, all comedians went through the same thing so they’re now all doing material on the same topic. I think you do kind of just want to hear something that takes you out of that world a little bit – for now.”
Sara first did stand-up at the age of 22 for about nine months when she was living in New York City – she originally hails from Chicago – but says she suffered from “horrible anxiety” and eventually gave up. She later told her husband how she had always wanted to do stand-up and how it was her favourite art form.
“Over the course of a couple of years of living in the UK, he eventually sort of nudged me toward it,” recalls Sara, “so I did it when I was 22 and then I did it again when I was 35. Something changed and when I tried it that second time, it was like you’d given me a drug. Instead of trying to find the will to do it, it was like you couldn’t stop me from doing it – and that was seven years ago.”
As a writer, Sara has published two essay collections, People are Unappealing and The Harm in Asking. Her writing has also featured in Vanity Fair and on This American Life. She would also like to do more TV.
“You get to have your hair and make-up done – it’s very fun,” she says, “and you get to meet all these brilliant people who are more famous than you are, so that is always a very exciting perk and I’m very keen to do more of it.”
Sara will be at the Junction’s J3 on Saturday, October 23, but this is not a family-friendly production. “It is a negative show, it is a sweary show, there are dirty components to it,” she notes, “so I think that kind of stuff has to really appeal to you, and if it does, then I will say, with a glimmer in my eye, I’m a fantastic live performer and I will do everything I can to make sure that people get their money’s worth.”