She comes out with a joke a second in her stand up making your sides split, she’s got a lovely scottish accent that she says can sound quite threatening and she’s the reason I now get called a lesbitarian. I was very excited to interview Susan Calman for the website. And although I would have preferred to have met her in person, possibly showered her with compliments and cakes, I was stuck in Wales. And to get some peace and quiet for the phonecall with the amazing comedienne I was sitting cross legged on the towels in the airing cupboard. Not that she knew that. Until now.
Susan has appeared in various TV shows including Have I got News For you and has performed standup all over the UK. We were lucky enough to see her in Endinburgh a few years back where she talked of giving herself the nickname the Calamanator (she even had a badge) and how at four foot eleven she had the expensive hobbie of standing up in the back of black cabs. I talked to her about her Doctor Who fashion, her box set love and standing up for gay marriage.
What can you tell us about your Edinburgh show?
What can I say, well after a show last year where I talked about politics and what had influenced me, I found that I really enjoyed talking about politics. I said if I come back I would do something on that. I got civil partnered this year and I was upset not to be able to get married. I’ve read a lot of nonsense in the press and I thought I have my right to reply.
Yeah if we don’t make a fuss people won’t think it’s important. I grew up in a time where you had to fight for what you believed in.
Do you talk about your girlfriend, wife now, in your stand up?
All the time. I talk about how difficult a person I am to be with.
She doesn’t mind?
I don’t think she really has a choice! So she’s in every show and she doesn’t mind. She’s a very funny woman.
So who else will you be seeing at the fringe?
So many! I want to catch Hannah Gatsby, Mary Burke who’s a lovely Irish comic. I want to also see Miriam Margolyes, she’s performing in the Dickens play? The thought of seeing her live on stage is mouth watering. The first two weeks will be very busy but in the last week I should be able to see some performances.
Did you always want to do stand-up?
Yeah. I grew up watching the Young Ones and seeing some of the new channel four shows and it just looked amazing. I Remember thinking ‘That’s the coolest job in the world!’ Then a few years ago I actually plucked up the courage to do it.
If you had all the money in the world what would you be doing?
I’d be writing my Magnum opus. It would be the ultimate comedy drama cop show and I’d have Helen Mirran, Jill Gascoine and Meryl Streep and then me as the rogue cop. All of us detectives in Glasgow.
Probably the most original answer we’ve ever had.
It is actually what I’d do!
Have you enjoyed being on Television? I thought you were brilliant on Have I got News for You.
It was great. I’ve recently filmed QI too and a couple of other things. It helps me get a big audience and different people can see my comedy. The writing before hand on Have I got news for you was a lot of fun, I love writing and to be on a show that I’ve been watching all my life was great.
When people see me on the telly and then see me live I sometimes think it’s not what they’re expecting. What I do find odd is people recognising me. It’s lovely but strange. The other day someone asked me for my autograph on the train.
It’s very strange, but very nice too. I do feel like I have to look better though, have to actually get dressed and not wonder around in my pyjamas.
People love the way you dress! How would you describe your style?
I dress like I’m auditioning to be the new female Doctor Who. So a lot of tweed and waistcoats. I’m sending the BBC subliminal messages. They’ll come round to it.
A lesbian Doctor Who, amazing.
Yeah my companion would be a cat.
Do you have any crazy fans yet?
People have said a few things on twitter. But as I do radio four and people tend to be fairly sensible . I’ve had a couple of marriage proposals, that’s nice. As long as they don’t come near me or hurt me.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened on stage?
I’ll be talking about this in my show actually. I was doing a show, and it was my own show, it had my name on it and everything. I walked in and said ‘Hi I’m Susan Calman’ and this man put his coat on and left. I don’t know why!
Who would you most like to work with?
I was lucky enough to work with Jennifer Saunders in Dead Boss. I think working with French and Saunders would be wonderful.
How did you get the role in Dead Boss?
I know Holly Walsh who wrote it. Two and a half years ago we did the pilot for it and I didn’t really think anything would come of it. But then she said she had a series and I was fortunate enough that they kept me in it.
Do you have a favourite place to perform?
The Stand Comedy Club. There’s one in Edinburgh and Glasgow and a new one in Newcastle. It’s a really good club to perform in.
What makes you laugh?
I laugh a lot. You’ve been framed that always has me laughing. Watching Funny animals. I think that’s what people sometimes think the internet is for. When I’ve got insomnia I just watch some clips of funny animals. I like traditional sitcoms like the Good Life, I find that very funny indeed. A huge amount of things. I think some comedians forget how to laugh and they’ve got dead eyes when they’re performing.
What’s your favourite thing to do?
I love radio four. Even if I’m not on it I’ll still listen to it. I just like other people doing comedy.
I’m a huge box set addict. I’m working my way through the Good Wife at the moment. That sounds terrible when I say it like that.
It does a bit!
I spend so much time working that when I get free Friday night I like going down to the pub and playing on the quiz machines. I’m a bit of a quiz machine addict now.
Do you do the quizzes where everyone sits around hiding their answers from the other teams?
I used to. I used to go on a Monday night and I enjoyed that. Sometimes they can get too mathematical. There’s one in Glasgow where all the Uni Professors go and that one is just too difficult. When I was a lawyer we used to go to a few of them but now I just make do with the machine.
You used to be a lawyer?
Yeah, for seven years. And I gave it all up to do comedy!
What’s next for this year?
I’m writing several scripts, a sitcom and I have a few shows coming up at the end of the year. I just need to get through Edinburgh alive!
Find out more and read Susan’s blog at www.susancalman.com
Follow on twitter @SusanCalman