Sara Pascoe: LadsLadsLads (2019) – Full Transcript

Exploring love, sex and doing both alone, Sara shares her wisdom and positivity, and overshares about her imaginary brother Stephen.


Thank you so much! Thank you so much! Thank you! Thank you so much! Thank you so much! Hello, my name is Sara Pascoe. I never want you to stop clapping. Now, what’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me? Oh, God, I miss it. Now it’s my turn. Thank you so much for having me. I’m going to tell you the worst thing first, the bad thing. I’m 35 years old. That’s not the bad thing, unless you’re trying to get me pregnant. I’m 35, which is the oldest I’ve ever been, and, look, I’m enjoying ageing. We’re supposed to hate ourselves, but I don’t. I’m really enjoying it. I feel more confident and I know myself better, but what’s been happening is I’ve started remembering things – memories from adolescence, things I’ve completely forgotten – they’re dropping back into my brain fully formed and I remember something about a year and a half ago. I’m going to tell you this as the first thing cos it’s going to make you not like me and then I’m going to try and win you back. Doesn’t always work!

So basically what I’d forgotten, but then I remembered… So when I was 18, I didn’t have very much money, but I did have a best friend called Shelley and she didn’t have very much money, either, so what we would do, we went to parties, we had a system whereby Shelley would give somebody a blow job in exchange for a gram of cocaine… ..which we would then both take! And I had completely forgotten about this and, looking back, I cannot believe that I did that. It is such an unethical drug. It ruins lives all over the world. Also, obviously, of course, I don’t think that that was an appropriate system. I don’t think that system is OK, but when I was 18, I felt very grown up and autonomous and I thought that I could make my own decisions and so could Shelley and now I’m 35, I feel incredibly protective over teenage girls. They’re so young, it’s such a formative stage.

I look back and I see I was a terrible friend. I never told her to do that, but I also never told her not to so I started to feel really guilty and I wanted to apologise to Shelley, but we’re not really in touch any more because people don’t tend to invite their pimp to their wedding. So I had to kind of write her a message and the beginning of the message was what I’ve just said to you. “Oh, I’ve forgotten, “but then I remembered how when we used to go to parties, “you’d give oral sex in exchange for narcotics and, looking back, “I should have dissuaded you “or suggested we got part-time work “and I feel really sorry about this now,” and I said, “Shelley, I hope wherever you are in your life, you’re really happy,” and then I sat back and I waited for her to reply to me cos I thought she would say it was fine and then I could feel better and I was waiting and waiting and she was not replying so I started to get paranoid, like, “Maybe she does hate me now,” and then I checked back about a week later and she’d deleted it off her wall. So there’s just no way of knowing.

And I feel really bad about this and the thing is, this is the thing, this is the point I’m trying to make – I want to be a good person. I want to be on the right team, I want to be one of the good guys, but the more I think about anything, the more complicated it becomes in terms of knowing whether you’re a good person or not and also the terms “bad” and “good”, they’re subjective. They mean different things to different people. Most people agree Stalin, “Oh, very bad,” but if you were a gulag maker…’d be into him. Oh, Mother Theresa, most people agree, “Oh, very good.” If you were Princess Diana, bitch is your competition so…

So, like, all the recent stuff with Brexit, I find it so confusing because the whole thing with Europe, like, it seems like there’s sensible arguments on both sides and I don’t think we talk enough about that now. I don’t really understand it. Everyone I know from comedy’s really intelligent and they know their own minds and half of my friends, they’re all talking about how the EU are creating our laws and we hadn’t elected them and that’s undemocratic and then the other half are saying, “But if we actually leave, “our economy is going to get even weaker, “the vulnerable in society will become even more vulnerable,” and I’m thinking, “How can you be making a decision “between the economy and democracy?” It’s like they said to us all, “Guys, your house is on fire, “but if you put it out, gravity will stop working.” Good luck! What?! The whole thing feels like a game of Would You Rather. You know when you were little, you would go to sleepovers and play this game called Would You Rather, but it was always two things you didn’t want. You just had to choose which one you didn’t want the least. “Would you rather have massive hands “but they’re not attached to your body “or tiny hands but they’re strangling you? “Oh, and, by the way, one of them means you’re racist.” What?! It’s too hard. Why are you asking us?

And another thing where the right and wrong is unclear to me, sometimes it can be… Basically, Uber. Now, most of you will know what Uber is, but just in case you don’t, it’s a taxi but with judgment. Oh, you get a review at the end. I’ve only got four stars on Uber. I’ve lost one and I don’t know how, but I sat there quietly, I was wearing my seat belt and deodorant, which is more than I can say for you, Nicolai. But they have a really aggressive business model. Lots of these companies do now and so it’s that thing of the short term vs the long term. In the long term, basically, they under-price taxi drivers and cab drivers in this country. Uber don’t pay tax here. In the long run, Uber is terrible for everyone, but in the short term, it’s brilliant for the individual because it is cheaper and also it’s marketed, especially at women, to make us feel safer – the fact that more people are getting cabs home, the fact the driver comes to where you’re standing cos of the phone signal and then they put a little picture of the Uber driver on there to kind of reassure you about who’s coming to pick you up and the Uber drivers, as a funny prank, have taken the scariest photographs that they can. There must be a competition in the office. They’re always on their phone from below with eyes like they hate you and you’re only ever asking for one because you’re scared cos it’s half-two in the morning and you’re pissed and you’re thinking, “Oh, no, it’s really very dodgy round here. I’m going to be a sensible lady and get myself an Uber,” and then you press it and it goes, “Arnab’s on his way.” “Shit.” Cos this guy’s definitely coming to kill me. And you can see where he is cos there’s a little map. You can see him in his tiny car. He’s only a minute away, he’s just turning around from the knife shop. You know you’ve only got 60 seconds to get out of there. So you’re fretting, like, “Oh, no, what shall I do? “Shall I flag down a stranger’s car and ask him to rescue me? “What if that guy is a murderer? “At least with Arnab, there’s a paper trail. “If I go missing, he’ll be the first person they’ll check with. “I better wait.” And by then, he’s arrived and then to check that it’s him, because of the angle he’s taken the photo at, to check that it’s him, you have to bend down and look upwards. You had to kind of get in the passenger side footwell. “Arnab?” And often, by then, it’s too late.

I’m being very naughty. I shouldn’t be scaremongering about Uber. I only actually know one person who says that they were murdered by an Uber driver. That was my sister and she’s lied about this kind of thing before. No, this sounds like it’s bad on her. Everyone in my family, we’re all liars. We’re the worst kind of liar cos we really believe ourselves and we never, ever admit that something’s not true, no matter what evidence you have. So I’ll give you an example and to be fair to them, I’ll give you a me example cos they’re angry with me with how much I talk about them. “Rub that bit out!” So, to be fair to them, I’ll give you a me example. About 14 years ago, 15, maybe, at Christmas time, I had too much to drink and I was very emotionally involved with an EastEnders storyline and I told my sister that I was her real mum. She still doesn’t know that I’m not and I’ll never let her find out and I’m only 18 months older than her so I’ve had to tell quite a lot of other lies to make it seem believable.

Now, the one place that I will not lie is in my relationship because I’ve found that the truth hurts more. My entire relationship is built on beautiful honesty, apart from there’s one lie that I told him, but it was accidental. So when we first got together, I told him that before we’d met, I had joined the Mile High Club because I thought that I had. Back story – I watched a film when I was about eight and a character in that film mentioned the Mile High Club. Now, at the time, I was in the Burger King Kids Club. That was working out brilliantly and I was keen to join more clubs and so my ears pricked up at this mention and I didn’t even watch the end of the film, I just ran through my house looking for an adult that I could ask about it. The first one I find was my Uncle Trevor. Now, looking back, I don’t know why he was in my house. I’m really suspicious about it, but it’s, like, too late to do anything about it now, like, “Repress it! “Stop thinking about it! Why didn’t he have a shirt on? I don’t know! “I don’t know!” Everyone’s divorced now, it’s fine. It doesn’t matter. So, Uncle Trevor, I was like, “Oh, Uncle Trevor, Uncle Trevor, “how does one get membership to this Mile High Club?” And he was obviously a little bit thrown cos he thought about it for a second and he was like, “Oh… “Oh, yeah, that’s when you’re on an aeroplane “and you go to the toilet for a long time.” Yes, so I thought it was doing a poo on an aeroplane and no-one disabused me of that notion for 25 years, which means that every time I’ve been asked in my life, which is probably about seven or eight times, “Oh, Sara, have you joined the Mile High Club?” I’ve always answered in the same way by going, “Yes, every time I fly! “I think it’s the nerves!”

I’m going to say something in about 30 seconds and it’s, erm, sexist. I’m about to say something that’s quite sexist, but you have to understand that I know that it’s sexist so it’s OK cos that is the system. So, I earn more money than my boyfriend does, which is fine, and that means that I have to pay for everything that we do, which I don’t mind and he’s all right with it, but in the olden days, in the ’80s, there used to be this system where, like, a man would buy dinner and a woman would put out. Now, I’m not saying that I agree with that. The idea that a woman is economically dependent on a man is disgusting. The idea that a man expects sex just because he’s paid is awful, but what is worse is that it doesn’t work the other way round. Well, what I’ve found is if it is the woman that’s paid for dinner and the weekly shop and the electricity bill, oh, then he never puts out because apparently you’ve emasculated him by asking for a thank-you dance. Double standards!

It’s not fair and so this is true, I don’t think me and my boyfriend have enough sex. He says that me talking about it on stage is not helping. 1-0. And so I’m trying to… I’m trying to spice things up. I’m trying to seduce him, that’s what I want to do. What I do when I’m in the mood for lovemaking, I want to try and entice him, I shave my entire body – head to toe. No, it’s too high! This is seduction, not a ’90s pop star breakdown. I shave from my chin down to my big toe and then, in order to let him know in a subtle way, I don’t rinse the bath. Yeah! He knows what I’m saying!

Erm, if you are sitting there thinking, “Wow, that woman just told us a really gross thing about herself,” wait till you hear this next thing. At Christmas, we got presents for each other. I don’t know why I’m explaining. “You know, Christmas presents…” “Ever heard of Christmas presents?” Well, we did it one year. We’re crazy. Now, he opened my present first. I had bought us a holiday to Barbados and it was all-inclusive and I’d never been on that kind of holiday before, I’d never spent that kind of money before and I was thrilled to give it to him and then he gave me my present and I opened it and it was an electric toothbrush. Hmm. And then there was this tension in the house, like I could tell that he was sadder than usual during the gratitude boogie. I waited for him to finish and then I was like, “Oh, are you all right?” And he was like, “No, I’m really embarrassed “about the discrepancy in our presents. “Just please promise me you’ll never tell anyone about this.” But I am telling anyone and the reason is I thought about it and my initial response was wrong. So you think my present is a better or bigger present cos it’s more expensive, but, no, a holiday, that is a finite thing. Seven days, even if they are amazing days, seven days – done, gone forever. An electric toothbrush, that is something that I use every single day to masturbate. Guys! It’s a great present! I don’t use it as a toothbrush any more. I’m not disgusting. I just don’t brush my teeth. I don’t need to, I’m too happy. I’m happy all of the time.

I’m telling you all my secrets. Another thing, I went away for about a month. About nine months ago, for a month, I went away for work. When I came back, my boyfriend had got my life insured. Oh, yeah, he’d taken out a life insurance policy on me and he’s behaving like this is a normal thing people do in relationships, like it’s a stage that you get to. “Oh, Sara, how’s it going with John?” I’m like, “Oh, yes, pretty good, very serious. “We’re at that bit where you make sure you financially benefit “if the other one dies.” I want him to cancel it. Also, I don’t think I need it. I can’t… I just don’t think I’m going to die. It just doesn’t feel like the kind of thing I’d do. It’s a waste of money, I want him to cancel this direct debit. “Stop it, it’s creepy,” and he’s, like, being all defensive, like, “No, Sara, think about it – if something was to happen to you, “I wouldn’t be able to afford the mortgage on my own,” right, which does sound sensible. Callous, but sensible, until I tell you that we don’t own a property. We rent a flat like everybody else. That mortgage is something he’s getting later on with his winnings if something was to happen to me, but this is the thing about falling in love, which is something that obviously every single person does.

We fall in love. We don’t wait until we know everything about someone and then decide, “That’s it, you deserve my heart.” No, you learn a few things about someone and then you fall in love and then you continue to learn new things and some of those things are great. They’re like cute faces and funny noises and… Oh, look, my boyfriend, he collects Nectar points like it’s a computer game, like deadly serious, and he never spends them cos he thinks that Nectar points can outlast sterling as currency, which might not be mad, but other of the things that you find out are just like, “Oh, no! It’s too late, I love you now!”

My boyfriend doesn’t like dogs.


Thank you for that appropriate reaction. He doesn’t like dogs, I found out about eight months in. He doesn’t think that they’re handsome or want to pet them and won’t let me get one. My ambition my entire life has just been to work really, really hard, make enough money to give a dog an incredible life and that would be a life well lived and now, essentially, I am waiting for him to die. Obviously, it will be sad. It is going to be a really sad day. “Oh, no, the love of my life has drowned. Oh, gosh, this is…” But it’s bittersweet, like… “I can get a dog now.” So what I’m trying to say is I do understand the life insurance thing, I get it, it’s just that money is his dogs.

So what we’re doing at the moment – and I find this kind of embarrassing to talk about – me and my boyfriend are currently, or have been for a while, trying to make a baby, get pregnant. Now, I hate all of the language around this. Essentially, all it means you’re having sex without a condom on, like it’s the ’90s, but we’ve been trying for about 2½ years, which is quite a long time. It turns out that getting pregnant is a lot like learning a language in that it is much easier when you are a child. When I was 15, I was pregnant all the time. I was the girl you heard about in rumours. I got pregnant from a toilet seat. I got pregnant from borrowing a boy’s towel and now it’s so much more difficult and there’s all this stuff that you’re supposed to do if you’re trying to get pregnant. If you’re the woman, you’re not supposed to drink alcohol. If you’re a woman over 30 who normally drinks every day and you turn up to see your friends and be like, “Oh, no, I’m not drinking tonight,” they assume you’re already pregnant. It’s going to be awkward in three months – everyone’s giving you knowing glances and stretchy trousers. It’s so much easier just to go straight in, have a sambuca, no conversation. Also, you’re not supposed to drink caffeine. You’re not allowed to have coffee. How am I going to get pregnant if I’m angry or asleep?

And I’ve had to buy all of these ovulation testing kits and they look like pregnancy tests. They cost nine quid each, they’re so expensive and it looks like a pregnancy test. You take the lid off to wake it up and then it has a little screen in its belly, which then flashes up a picture of itself, like, “I can get myself pregnant. “What’s your problem?” Then you have to wee on it, which is hard when something’s that expensive. You have to wee on it and also for ages, like, much longer than you think – like, 13 minutes. You wee on it and then you put the lid back on. It’s supposed to think for two minutes and then come up with where you are in your ovulatory cycle so you don’t waste the one sex you have a month and all that happens when I’ve done it is it just comes up with a picture of a book, which means that I’ve done it wrong and I need to reread the instructions, and then I break it cos I’m angry and I’m sitting there holding broken bits of plastic, hands covered in my own piss, no trousers on, thinking, “Could I really keep another human alive?” And I have an espresso Martini to cheer myself up.

So I’ve got this fun thing. I’ve got polycystic ovaries or PCOS and that’s very, very common and lots of women have it. What is means is that your ovaries make an egg and then rather than going anywhere, just forms a cyst to decorate you beautifully. What this means is you have a higher than you should have level of testosterone in your system, which does mean that you have an increased sex drive, but it also means that no-one will have sex with you because of your fine beard and moustache. Nature is amazing!

And this is the thing – the longer you go without having children, the older you get, the more people start to ask you about it and I’m aware they always mean really well. It comes from a really good place. My younger sisters and my friends are having kids. They’re all having this wonderful time, they don’t want anyone to miss out on this experience, but my problem with that is the experience they are having is subjective. It’s personal to them. I have had my own wonderful personal subjective experiences, like I’ve been on QI. I have never, ever said to anybody, like, “Oh, have you been on QI? “Awww! “You should go on QI! “No, I didn’t think that I wanted to be on QI until I was ON QI “and then it was like I looked back “and my entire life had been leading up to me being on QI. “When I saw Stephen Fry’s face for the first time, “I was filled with so much love. “Yes, it’s very tiring being on QI, “but it’s so worth it and I just wouldn’t want you “to leave it too late and they’ll have stopped making it.”

This is the thing, it’s true – me and my boyfriend, we have sex about once a month and I would like to have more of it and what I blame it on, I blame it on pornography. I think it’s because pornography exists and I can’t compete with it. Now, he denies this, but he has a lockable study and in there, there’s a computer where he could put in a couple of search terms and then he can watch all of these men and women enthusiastically pretending to like doing stuff that I’m not going to pretend to like doing and I’m not going to do. I don’t like doing anything. I like having three things done to me very gently while I lie there. That’s my sex style. I’m saying that to all of you, I’m warning you in case any of us ever get together. That’s open to people of all genders. I’m trying to have more sex with women since I found out lesbians are very good at the three things I like. Oh, the thing is with pornography, I think when you start going out with someone, this is how I’m going to solve it – when you start going out with someone, you should be able to scan your picture into their computer and then whenever they look at pornography, as is their right, all of the banner ads have got your face on them. Fun! We could customise them, like, “Women waiting for you to put the bins out in your area!” Fun!

This is such a hack observation, it’s been made so many times, but I do think gay people are having much better quality sex than straight people and it makes sense to me because I just think that they understand the machinery, the mechanics a lot more. I think a lot of the reason that I’ll be with my boyfriend until the end of his life in a horrible drowning accident… I’m just covered with dogs! I think a lot of the reason is I can’t be bothered to train a new man not to hurt me. You know when you’ve fancied someone for weeks and months and you feel electric and alert and incredible around them and then you finally get to go to bed with them and it should be so great and it’s… Ow! Ow! Ow! Who was your ex-girlfriend, a hole that you dug? Just be careful! We’re so precious, just be careful.

I know now it sounds like I’m kind of ragging on straight men. I’m not. Of course it works both ways. I give a terrible hand job. Oh, so bad. I’ve been ashamed my entire life of the quality and I realise it’s a form of empathy failure and I realise this because my friend, she’s so clever and she was talking about misogyny, misogynists, and she said something so succinct. She was like, “Oh, Sara, “the problem with misogynists is they treat women “like we’re broken men, “as if our differences mean we’re flawed “or we’re less good in some way.” I was like, “That’s it, that’s everything. You’ve just described it so perfectly.”

And then I realised I’ve been doing the same thing the opposite way round. My entire life, I’ve been treating men like they’re just very, very aggressive women and that if I can be calm around them and just move slowly, then maybe one day they’ll heal. What this means is when I touch a man’s body in a sexual way, I touch him how I like to be touched and I do not believe him when he says that that is not enjoyable. So this means that my technique for a hand job… I’ll show you. I’ll just show you! And then I just do some round-and-rounds. And then I just blow it some kisses from a distance. And they hate it. They’re like yelling out at me, like, “Grip it! “Grip it and move it up and down!” “I don’t want to! “I don’t want to make this situation any worse. “It already looks angry.”

I’ve got a tattoo. I’m not changing the subject. I’ve got a tattoo that I keep hidden all of the time, but I will show to you. This tattoo ages me more than anything that will ever happen to my face. I have got a Japanese symbol on the bottom of my spine. That means I was alive when the Spice Girls came out and I was excited. Now, I keep it covered at all times and it’s not cos I’m ashamed of it, but because if anyone ever sees it, they go, “What’s your tramp stamp mean?” Cos apparently we’ve started calling them tramp stamps and I don’t know what kind of tramp that’s referring to, if it’s a loose woman or a vagrant man. Either way, it’s a compliment, but it’s a difficult question to answer so I just say that it means “fuck me harder” in Japanese. It saves me a lot of time when I’m over there! I’ve never been.

I really want to go to Japan and I’ll tell you why. I was researching on the internet about how our different cultures respect female genitals because I can, I’ve got nothing to do in the day, and I found out about a nightclub, there’s only one like this in the world, it’s in Japan, and it’s on two floors and women get in for free if they go into the top floor if they’re wearing a skirt with no underwear because the dance floor’s see-through. It’s made of glass and men pay a huge amount of money to go to the floor underneath, where they buy overpriced drinks and sip them, looking upwards at women on the dance floor. Now, I was describing this the next day to my friend cos I thought I was going to get some material out of this. I was planning to do a routine about how maybe women don’t want to rise above the glass ceiling if we have to dance with our fannies out. Yeah, so I thought I could do this feminist light-hearted thing so I was describing it to my friend and I didn’t even get through it cos she kind of covered her eyes and was like… And I was like, “Oh, no, no, don’t get upset, don’t get angry. “I can’t work out if the men who go there… “I don’t know if they are disgusting creeps, “but maybe there could be something beautiful going on “cos they are, after all, just admiring the female form,” and then she was like, “Oh, no, that isn’t even what I was thinking. “I was just thinking that you could not do that the other way round “cos you’d keep thinking people were waving at you.”

And now that’s what I think about whenever I’m sad. Whenever I need cheering up… You know, you’re a Western world person. You don’t have any right to be sad about anything, ever. I just imagine that I look upwards and there’s an entire dance floor full of men and they’ve got no trousers or pants on and they’re just dancing. They’re just really going for it to Taylor Swift – Shake It Off and I’m just waving, just waving back at them. “The world is full of pain and death is meaningless, “but it’s all going to be OK. How do we know? “Because Sara Pascoe told us “just before we gave her a big round of applause.”



Thank you so much for having me. Good night, bye-bye! Thank you so much, bye-bye!


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