Sarah Pascoe, whose sold out solo show is just one of the many examples of how great she is, is the first international act. I have said it before and I will say it again for emphasis: she is one incredibly funny comic. I hate to point out her gender but she is a shining example to all female comics about how there is so much more to poke fun about in the uniquely female experience that is relatable to all audiences. She is self-deprecating (a sure way to get in with a kiwi audience) and intelligent. She manages to be politically relevant, comparing herself to Kim Jong Il, and at the same time enchantingly fantastical as she pretends her boyfriend's belly is their unborn child.
Pascoe must be the only comedian who can talk about the female anatomy without making anyone cringe. It is not only her jokes themselves, which are a fluid mix of anecdotal and observational, but her delivery is so charmingly casual and chatty that you feel like you're catching up for a drink and she is telling you about her day. Simply brilliant.
To continue the dream run is the inimitable James Acaster who has quickly made a name for himself here with his return to the Comedy Festival. Acaster opens with his trademark teen awkwardness and continues his non-threatening, intense yet casual tone throughout, delivering a masterclass in comedy. He flows with grace and ease between ideas with such smooth links that we move miles from his original topic without even realising it.
His concerns about the world are wholly original – such as turf wars in conga lines and mathematical catchphrases – and incredibly refreshing. Having had the pleasure of watching Acaster before, it is a real pleasure to see him break his character and crack up at people's reactions to him. I cannot gush over Acaster enough. A standout performance from a true comic genius.