Sara Schaefer – Going Up

By Lisa Clark

So you wanna be a Real Comedian eh? American comedian Sara Schaefer is here to teach us her patented theory of Comediocity, and how to climb the ladder of the comedy industry to success. She somehow covers the entire live comedy world and does not paint a pretty picture.

Set up like a direct marketing sales seminar which may or may not be an induction into a cult, Going Up is a sharp satire full of corporate speak and non-stop acronyms (RC = Real Comedian),  but in contrast to that concept there is a cute softer side too. Sara is obsessed with miniatures and doll houses, so her show is stuffed full of references to them and also appearances by them. It adds charm and a little magic to what might otherwise be another well written spoof-seminar type show.

This is definitely a show for comedy nerds, who will be immediately on board, but in Melbourne with our own comedy festival, most audiences will be familiar with the comedy world she is lampooning, from lowly open mic nights to the heights of having a sitcom with your name in the title. You will learn how to Hang with other comedians back stage and how to give and take cruel jokes at each other’s expense, how to build your Brand and the all-important Likability Factor.

At the centre of the performance is her impression of EVERY KIND OF COMEDY YOU CAN THINK OF and some you’d not thought of before. Sara impressively uses her theme of Miniatures to present routines in many the comedic forms such as, misdirect, edgy, impro, storytelling, blue and the inevitable musical comedy. Of course she couldn’t cover EVERY style of comedy and I can think of a couple she missed that might describe Going Up; whimsy (cute handmade dollies and tiny programs) and understated vicious satire.

There is a surprising amount of audience participation, but she is good at it, polite about it and luckily the one punter who she encouraged up on stage was a Real Comedian (she probably had no idea who Dan Ilic is – sorry Dan). Underneath it all is some deeply disturbing lived shit. Also on the surface of it. It’s not as raw or outwardly angry as a Hannah Gadsby’s work with similar themes, but it’s clear, by the end, that Sara has been through the wars and has some war stories to share, in her own quirky style.

Going Up is clearly a new show that Sara doesn’t quite have under her belt at the beginning of her run. She deftly uses a laptop to remind her of some passages, but it’s such a densely wordy show, that it does affect her timing and flow somewhat. There are laughs throughout but they are sporadic rather than constant. Still, Sara is a force to be reckoned with and non-stop entertaining, with her tenacity and talent the show will only improve as the run goes on.

Sara Schaefer –Going Up is on at Melbourne Town Hall Cloak Room