This month we had the opportunity to interview the fantastic comedian, Susan Calman, ahead of her UK Tour, 'The Calman before the Storm’

Following a total sell-out Fringe run before the Fringe had even started, swiftly followed by a sell-out two-week run at London’s Soho Theatre, one of Scotland’s and Radio 4’s most beloved comedians is ready to rip through all pre-conceptions of her, once and for all, as she tours her newest show 'The Calman Before the Storm'.


1.      You’re celebrating your 10th year in comedy? Tell me what to expect in your brand new show, ‘The Calman before the Storm’?

It’s fun, it’s funny and it’s brand new! If you’ve seen a show of mine before, it’s all new material mostly about expectations. After 10 years a lot of people think that they know what to expect from me and I like to surprise people occasionally. It’s got some politics in there but not too much, a few stories about cats and lots for people to enjoy (hopefully). 


2.      What made you first get into comedy? And when was it that you decided this is what I want to do as a career?

I’ve always wanted to be a comedian but I didn’t really know what that meant. So, I went to University and got a degree in law, qualified and then became a corporate lawyer for 7 years. After my thirtieth birthday I decided to give comedy a go and did an open spot at a local comedy club. Even though I don’t remember that night, and I was probably awful, I know from the moment I stepped on stage that it was the job for me. I haven’t looked back since. 


3.      Do you write your own routines?

I do. I think when people see the show and hear some of my stories it’s unlikely anyone else could come up with some of my nonsense. I like comedy that feels real and hopefully mine does.


4.      What inspires your material?

Things that happen around me. I take most of my inspiration from friends and family, and also from the world in general. My stand up is a mix of the political and personal. Growing up, I loved Billy Connolly and he could make a story about walking down the street hilarious. That’s what I aspire to do. 


5.      Tell me, how do you deal with hecklers? 

I don’t tend to get a lot of hecklers. My audiences tend to be lovely people who want a good night out. If there is a heckler I try to find out what they want and deal with it.  


6.      Do you have a memory of a time when you’ve been in front of an audience and they haven’t laughed or you haven’t had the reaction you were expecting? 

Absolutely. Comedy isn’t like you see it on the television where everyone laughs at everything. The reality is that a lot of stand up is hit or miss. The more you do it, the better you get of course and so some of my early gigs were horrific. I did a sold out show at the Fringe in 2010 where, for 55 minutes, the crowd decided to stay as quiet as possible. You just need to keep going. 


7.      Which comedians have had a big influence on you?

Victoria Wood is the biggest influence on my career. I adored everything that she did. I also love Jo Brand, French and Saunders, Linda Smith and Tina Fey. 


8.      On your travels, where is one of your favorite places that you have visited?

I love touring round the country and seeing new places. I don’t 'The Calman before the Storm’ is a favourite place because everywhere is so different and lovely in their own way. 


9.      In your spare time, and when not on stage, what do you enjoy doing? Any hobbies?

I’m obsessed with model trains, which surprises some people. And, I’ve just moved house and finally have a garden, so I’ve started going to garden centres. I might put a train in the garden and combine all my interests.


A few more interesting questions…

1.      What was your first job?

I worked on Death Row with serial killers. I know!


2.      Name one pet hate or thing that really annoys you?

I hate rudeness. In particular, people who don’t hold doors open or give up their seats on buses. It’s nice to be nice. 


3.      Who would be invited to your Christmas dinner party?

Family and friends. I’m away so much that I hardly get to see them, and so take any opportunity that I can to see them.


4.      I couldn’t live without…

Television and my coffee machine. They are life savers. 


5.      The best thing about my job is…

Making people laugh. It’s the best feeling in the world!

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