Caro Meets Comedy Interview

Susan Calman: The Calman Before The Storm

By | Published on Wednesday 31 May 2017

I doubt you lot need telling what a fabulously talented and lovely individual Susan Calman is, because even if you’re in the shameful position of never having seen her perform live, you will no doubt have enjoyed some of her myriad performances on screen and radio.
Luckily for those wallowing in that aforementioned shame, she has two London dates coming up, at which she performs edfringe hit ‘Calman Before The Storm’. I arranged a quick chat ahead of her first show in the capital.

CM: Tell us a bit about ‘The Calman Before The Storm’. Does it have a main theme? Lots of little themes? Any themes at all?
SC: It’s my tenth anniversary of becoming a stand up and the show is all about the expectations that people might have of me before they come to the shows – after ten years a lot of people think that they know what to expect from me and I like to surprise people occasionally. It’s a fun thing to be able to play with the stereotype of a Radio 4 comedian, or a feminist, or a Scottish person! It’s got some politics in there but not too much, a few stories about cats and lots for people to enjoy (hopefully).

CM: This is the show you performed in Edinburgh last summer, isn’t it? Is it still the same, or do you find your shows change as you continue to perform them?
SC: The show is quite different. For a start it’s almost twice as long as the Fringe show but also times have changed. I started writing this show in January 2016 and the world is quite different now! Also, shows evolve as you perform them and find out what parts audiences really enjoy.

CM: How long have you been touring it and how is that going? Do you love or loathe life on tour…?
SC: The tour is going great thanks. I’ve been on the road since February and most shows have sold out which is great. The only thing that I dislike about touring is being away from home and staying in budget hotels! I have woken up in the middle of the night in a panic not knowing where I am! It’s important to stay positive and focus on the fact that at some point I’ll get to go back to my house and my cats!

CM: I love hearing you on all those Radio 4 shows. Are they fun to record? Do you have a favourite?
SC: I love recording shows for Radio 4 and all of them are fun for different reasons. ‘The News Quiz’ is amazing to be part of, ‘Just a Minute’ is wonderful but terrifying and ‘ISIHAC’ is a chance to show my singing talents.

CM: How does the radio panel show experience compare to the TV panel show experience?
SC: I love doing radio and TV but nothing beats performing in front of a live audience. It’s what I started doing and what I’ll always go back to. It’s the feedback from the audience that makes it special, that connection with people.

CM: How did you come to be hosting ‘The Boss’ and how did you enjoy making the series? Would you like to do more of that sort of stuff in the future?
SC: I’d love to tell a convoluted story of getting the job but they simply emailed me and asked me to do it! I’d love to do more hosting in the future and acting. Some of my favourite times have been acting in sketch shows or sitcoms so fingers crossed I get to do more of that soon!

CM: Do you ever miss your old career in law?
SC: Only when I have no one to go on a Christmas night out with.

CM: What are you reading at the moment, and would you recommend it?
SC: I’m not reading anything just now to be honest. I travel so much by train and get rather travel sick. I prefer podcasts and devour anything audio I can. I’m currently enjoy ‘The Jackie and Laurie Show’ and ‘The West Wing Weekly’.

CM: Are you following the general election? Who do you think will win?
SC: I am following it, and I have no idea who will win. That’s the joy of democracy.

CM: What’s coming up next for you?
Lots. A new book, a new series of ‘The Boss’, a new series of ‘Top Class’ on CBBC, my Radio 4 sitcom, my Radio 4 solo show and some acting. Busy but happy.

Susan performs ‘Calman Before The Storm’ at ArtsDepot on 2 Jun and at Greenwich Theatre on 26 Jun. See this page here for a full list of tour dates.

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