Interview: Susan Riddell

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There’s a lot of buzz around Susan Riddell right now and understandably so as recently after winning a place in BBC Writer’s Room Fast and Funny she went on to write, create and star in several on-line comedy sketches for BBC Short Stuff which have garnered nearly 3 million views and counting. But it’s also due to her performing stand up at both CKP’s Lunchtime Special and the BBC Presents Comedy Tent at last year’s Edinburgh festival, writing a humorous weekly column for The Daily Record newspaper for around two years, and acting in the BBC spoof cop show Scot Squad. Here she tells us about her Edinburgh show Duvet Day and how she loves being lazy, the time she got drunk before performing on stage, the big budget live sketch show she wishes she could make with her pal and comedy partner Rachel Jackson, and much more.

Comedy To Watch: How would you describe your comedy to someone who wasn’t previously aware of your good self?

Susan: It’s pretty relaxed and conversational. I talk about my personal experiences but always in a funny way. I like it when me and the audience are on the same wave length and they’re up for a bit of interaction and a laugh.

CTW: And what can you tell us about your Edinburgh show?

Susan: My show is called Duvet Day. It’s about me loving being lazy and trying to find out if this is the general consensus. There’s such a stigma about laziness. We all have to seem like we’re so busy and productive or there’s this guilt foisted on you. There should be more places to just lie down – no questions asked. A hammock retreat – something like that.

CTW: What are your favourite things about the festival?

Susan: I like that I don’t need to travel and I have an actual routine for a few weeks. Doing the same show in the same place for almost a month is an eye opener and so helpful in honing material. I like people watching when I’m off duty. And I like that it feels like a holiday vibe even though it’s work.

CTW: And are there any aspects you don’t like?

Susan: When you’re in a rush to get somewhere and you’re caught in a crowd. There’s a lot of running about in a sweaty mess. It can be gruelling as most folk only have one day off for the entire month.

CTW: When it comes to stand up, how do you feel you’ve evolved since your first ever gig?

Susan: I think you evolve after every single gig and it’s not something that can be rushed. Obviously the more you do anything it becomes more normal and second nature. If you don’t do a gig for ages you really go back to square one. You’ve got to keep gigging regularly to keep the momentum going.

CTW: What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you since you started performing?

Susan: I got drunk for the first time before going on stager about 6 months into my stand up career. It was at the Fringe and the audience loved it. I just hit the giggles and couldn’t get my words out. It was like watching a live action blooper. I think the audience liked it because it was genuine, it wasn’t contrived.

CTW: If you could change any element of the stand up scene, what would it be?

Susan: The thing I hate most about stand up is the time I need to leave the house at night. I’ll be in my pyjamas all day then I’ve got to get ready to do the gig when everyone else is just getting in from work. Bring back the matinee! That would be amazing – a gig at 1pm.

CTW: If money were no object, what would you like to create?

Susan: I’d love to put on an amazing big budget live sketch show with my pal and comedy partner Rachel Jackson. We’ve did on-line sketches for BBC Short Stuff and we work really well together. If we could tour a show like that I’d die happy. Stand up can be lonely – it would be nice to have someone on stage with you.

CTW: And finally, if you could interview yourself, what question would you most like to ask? And what would the answer be?

Susan: Why do you never charge your phone? Even when the phone is right next to the charger. Why don’t you just plug it in instead of letting it run out? And the answer is I don’t know.

Alex Finch. Photograph (c) Mark Liddell.
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Related Links:
Susan Riddell brings her show Duvet Day to Monkey Barrel as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 2nd – 25th August (not 12th) at 7.30pm. Further information and tickets can be found here.
You can follow Susan on Twitter here.

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