'Existential questions about mortality... plus jokes about pizza' | Fringe comedian Sasha Ellen shares her Perfect Playlist.

'Existential questions about mortality... plus jokes about pizza'

Fringe comedian Sasha Ellen shares her Perfect Playlist.

Narrowing my comedy loves down to an all-time top six has been mighty hard, especially since my favourite things change from year to year.

I chose things that just made me happy, things that made me laugh while I was on my own, which I’ve been reliably informed isn’t actually a good sign. But it’s my metric for comedy and I’m sticking to it. 


Frasier is an absolutely classic sitcom. I watched it all the way through as a child and several times as an adult.

The older I get, the more reassuring I find it, like maybe the next decade of my life isn't the final one. Frasier makes it look like people are allowed career goals, and fun, and romance, and sex, and dumb mistakes in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond, which can’t possibly be right!

Over the last ten  years, my Frasier DVD box set has travelled with me from flat to flat - I’ve evaluated how long relationships will last based on which season we get to before my well-meaning boyfriends say, ‘Please make it stop!’ Frasier is a forever favourite of mine for so many reasons.

I can’t think of a 1990s sitcom that has aged better; Frasier is one of the only things from my childhood I can comfortably watch without wincing. It stands up today in ways that almost no television of that decade can.

The dynamics between the characters, all of whom are unique, lovable and perfectly flawed, are just delightful. The relationships are complex, recognisable and meaningful, without being try-hard. It deals with the themes of love, loss, grief, family, ageing, self-doubt - the big stuff - with levity and grace. From finding out that Martin is friends with the mother of the man who shot him because they both come to all of his parole hearings, to a balls-out ridiculous sword fight between Niles and his wife’s almost lover, it’s all pure joy.

And I am always here for Roz and Nile’s smack talk: 

The Children’s Orchestra playing Space Odyssey

To me, this is the pinnacle of making something so bad it’s good, and not for the reasons it’s supposed to be good.

This attempt at art fails so spectacularly, it’s such a glorious car crash, that very few things have ever made me this happy. I have shown this to every single person I know when they have needed cheering up. Sometimes, I save it for just that occasion. This is empirically hilarious.

Green Wing

Green Wing is a very silly show. It’s a surreal ensemble sitcom, which is set in a hospital but has absolutely nothing to do with medicine. Created by the team behind the sketch show Smack The Pony, Green Wing follows the bizarre personal lives of the hospital staff, intercut with dreamlike sketch scenes of hospital life.

From the literal cliffhanger at the end of season 1 to Mark Heap at his Mark Heapiest, absolutely everything about this sitcom is just for fun. Michelle Gomez is bordering on terrifyingly insane and it is beautiful. The detail in the background creates an outlandish world that nonetheless has its own internal logic.

In sixth form, when asked to write a course work essay on religious experience for philosophy class, I wrote about the scenes in Green Wing where Jesus appears to each other the characters and how they react to him. I have no idea why I was allowed to do that. I think my whole class and both of my philosophy teachers just really loved the show.

Green Wing did well in its time but I do feel it’s been a bit forgotten; I think it deserves more.

Mike Birbiglia

Mike Birbiglia is amazing when it comes to storytelling. His stories are real, raw, relatable and touching. His style is cinematic and every time I watch a show of his I feel like I’ve watched a coming-of-age movie.

He goes on the huge journey and delivers you gently to a satisfying, profound conclusion through the medium of whimsical humour. I saw his latest show, The Old Man and the Pool, at the Leicester Square Theatre last month. The show asks some existential questions about mortality with jokes about pizza. It was very on-brand and it was wonderful.

Dylan Moran

I have always loved Dylan Moran. The first time I watched his stand-up was when I was a teenager. It was his first stand-up DVD, Monster. I’ve rewatched that show several dozen times. I think there are still passages of Monster that I could quote from memory.

It would be years before I tried doing any comedy, but that show was one of the shows that made me want to do stand-up. I’ve watched pretty much everything Dylan Moran has done since and he never disappoints.

He is grumpy, drunk, eloquent, economical and lovable. He tackles world issues and small every day things with equal tenacity and vigour. He’s an absolute master.

• Sasha Ellen: Creeps and Geeks is at  Underbelly Bristo Square at 4.15pm  (not 16)

Published: 6 Aug 2022

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