Sara Barron: Enemies Closer Q&A

Sara Barron, the Chortle 2019 and Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Newcomer 2018 nominee, returns to the Edinburgh Fringe this year to the Pleasance Courtyard with her new show Enemies Closer. Her critically acclaimed award nominated debut hour For Worse sold out the entire run and went on to have two sell-out shows at London’s Soho Theatre. We caught up with Sara to talk about making the leap from writing to stand up and why her nominations have both given her confidence and added pressure… 

Funny Women: Tell us about your show Enemies Closer.

Sara Barron: Well, my fancy and moderately articulate pitch of it is this: a sermon preaching self-awareness and, also, a cost-benefit analysis of the nature of being judgmental. I’ve tried to sneak those ideas in rather than yammer on explicitly about them in much the same way a middle-class mum might sneak pureed beetroot into her homemade brownies. The goal is that it (the show) looks like no-frills standup, and – and this is the real dream for performer and audience alike – feels like 40 minutes instead of the 60 it is. 

FW: Last year your fantastic show For Worse was nominated for Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Newcomer. Has this given you confidence in your new show or has it added pressure?

SB: Firstly, thank you for your kind use of the word fantastic! That’s lovely. Secondly, the answer to your question is: probably a little bit of both. There’s less pressure the second time around because doing anything the second time is inherently less terrifying; you understand the nature of the beast a little better.  On the other hand, yes: there’s simultaneously more pressure because, while careers aren’t made off the back of newcomer nominations, they create a nice wave for you to ride, and it’d be nice to keep riding. Also, no one likes a sophomore slump.

FW: You started out as an essayist. Jon Ronson called you the “reigning queen of New York’s live storytelling scene”. What prompted your move from writer to stand up?

SB: This honest answer is either self-aware, sad or arrogant, I’m not sure which. (Probably all three.) Anyway, the reason I switched it up was that I knew – and this is the self-aware part – that I wasn’t good enough at writing. And I felt – and this is the arrogant part – that I was “meant for the stage”. I felt stand-up would be a better way of expressing the ideas I was interested in, which is, of course, the sad part, because the suggestion that I have ideas worth expressing is probably, entirely delusional.

FW: Have you got any tips for comedians coming to Edinburgh for the first time?

SB: Yes, loads. However, plenty of them will prove unrealistic, e.g. STAY OFF ALL SOCIAL MEDIA FOR THE WHOLE ENTIRE MONTH. So, with the knowledge that most of us won’t manage that sort of lofty goal, here are the two bottom-lines I’d suggest:

  1. Don’t read reviews. Just don’t. Huge mistake, even when they’re good.
  2. Avoid the information of who will be seeing your show that day. By this I mean both industry people and/or reviewers. If you really need to know who’s “been in”, as they say, find out afterwards. There’s not a comedian alive who’s done better because they knew they were being judged.

FW: Which funny women are you looking forward to seeing this Edinburgh Fringe?

Again, my answer is “loads!”. In no particular order:

Jess Fostekew

Sarah Kendall

Sofie Hagen

Jenny Bede

Suzi Ruffell

Cally Beaton

Lou Sanders

Janine Harouni

Helen Bauer

Esther Manito

Yuriko Kotani

Sara Barron’s new stand up show ‘Enemies Closer’ will be at the Pleasance Courtyard Upstairs 8.30pm 1st – 31st August (not 13th), for tickets and more information click here! 

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