Published on October 27th, 2015 | by Biz Books
The Biz Interview: Sara Bynoe
In her own words, Sara Bynoe likes to have fun. In Vancouver’s comedy scene and creative circle, her idea of fun is more often than not her own live events, with “Say Wha?! Readings of Deliciously Rotten Writing” being her signature creation and others like “Teen Angst Night” and “Novelty Act” also entertaining the masses.
Between live events, performing, and creating material, Sara Bynoe is a very busy lady, but she spoke to us about the method behind her madness and what live comedy shows need to be effective.
Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit more about you and what you’re up to these days?
Every day I’m hustlin’.
I’m auditioning for commercials, running my shows, and writing when I can.
I have a monthly show, “Novelty Act”, at The Emerald on the last Tuesday of the month. “Say Wha?!” and “Teen Angst Night” are shows I run which happen on an irregular schedule now.
One of your signature events is “Say Wha?! Readings of Deliciously Rotten Writing”. What was your inspiration for creating it?
I was living in London, England when I went on a weekend trip to Bath with some friends. We stayed in a hostel and after we dropped off our bags we sat down in the lounge to make a plan about what to do first.
On the couch next to me was a beat up Harlequin Mills and Boon romance novel called Dark Avenger. Over the weekend I would entertain my friends by reading aloud from this terrible book. They loved it and when we got back to London they found more terrible books for me to read from. The idea grew from there.
When I moved back to Vancouver in 2010 I organized the first “Say Wha?!” show and invited a bunch of funny people to read from terrible books. It’s been going ever since and will likely continue until we’ve run out of books.
From your experience, what are the most important ingredients for creating an effective live comedy show?
Affordable ticket prices, a venue with booze, a welcoming host, and performers that are having fun.
You’re involved with writing, acting, and live performance to name a few things. What rewards do you get from each of these mediums and is there one you enjoy the most?
Live performance is instantly gratifying and it’s hard to forget the buzz one gets from making an audience laugh.
Writing is internally rewarding when all the words are put together the way I’m most pleased with. Then finally seeing something I’ve written in print is satisfying but the process can be lonely and frustrating, and you never know if anyone has actually read your words.
Getting lost in a character or a scene and forgetting about the rest of the world is one of the most rewarding parts of acting, for me.
Do I enjoy one the most? Probably live performance because it involves all of the things I love to do.
Where do you get your creative inspiration from?
I have lots of thoughts and ideas for shows, stories, characters etc. and if I share it with someone else and they think it’s a good idea I’ll usually find a way to run with it. I like making things happen.
What have been some of your most memorable career highlights so far?
Oooh, so many!
My book launch of “Teen Angst: A Celebration of REALLY BAD POETRY” at the KGB Bar in NYC in 2005.
Doing the High Performance Rodeo in 2006 to a sold out crowd and then being told that I couldn’t get into “Sara Bynoe’s Bad Grad Dance Party” at The Ship and Anchor after the show because they were at capacity.
Getting my MA from Goldsmiths, University of London.
Hosting the PuSh Festival’s Roast for the 10 year anniversary and having two drag queens tell me that I nailed it.
Working as a story producer on Sex Sent Me To The ER. It was one of the most fun gigs I’ve ever had!
What is the biggest challenge that you’ve faced in your career so far and how have you overcome it?
I have never had much support from external sources ( i.e. I wasn’t a favourite at school, I don’t have casting directors that want to see me, and I don’t have a rich family to support me.). Most of what I’ve done I’ve started and created completely on my own, on my dime, with my time.
How have I overcome this lack of support? I kept doing it and I made my own name for myself. When I started “Teen Angst Night” in 2000, so many people didn’t understand the concept, now there are people all over the world doing their own take on it.
Over time I’ve learned to believe in myself and my crazy ideas.
What books and authors have been influential in your career?
Besides all the terrible books I’ve read at “Say Wha?!” I’m not sure which books have been influential in my career, but A Heart Breaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers is the one book I keep coming back to. I love its humour. I love that it doesn’t follow any rules of what a memoir is supposed to be like.
I’m also a huge fan of Miranda July and David Sedaris.
What would your advice be to new performers who want to get into comedy?
Do what makes you laugh, don’t be afraid to be different, and if you’re not having fun, get out.
Where can we find out more about you and your shows?
Oh so many ways: