Chatting with Isy Suttie (AKA Dobby from Peep Show).
Interview by: Caroline Foran
UPDATE: Isy Suttie's Sugar Club gig has regrettably been cancelled. Sad face.
It's not every day I get to speak to a genuinely funny, female comedian. Before the bra burners hunt me down and gut me like a fish, let me be be clear one thing: It's not that I think women can't be funny, there's just not that many of them working as successful, let alone professional stand ups. Not when compared to the number of men gracing the comedy club stages the length and breadth of both the UK and Ireland. That's not an opinion, it's a fact.
Anyhoo, they do exist and when they're good, they're really good. Isy Suttie is one such woman. The Peep Show fans among us will know her better as Dobby, the eccentric, IT obsessed cheese enthusiast who falls victim to the charms of fellow misfit, Mark. As she takes her third Edinburgh show - Pearl and Dave - on tour, Dublin stop-off included, the Dobster takes time out to chat about her time on Skins, her affinity for derelict buildings and erm, the time she pissed her pants on the bus. By accident.
You were toying with music for a long time before you went down the stand up comedy route, is that right?
Yeah, I was more doing music with a comedy slant. I still didn't necessarily think I'd do stand up. Songs were always just something I had with me and also when times were hard, I've always gone to pick up the guitar, it's sort of always been my friend I supopse.
Well to combine comedy with your love for music then mustn't really feel like work?
No you're right, it doesn't really feel like work. Apart from when you do a preview in front of 300 people and they're all Bulgarian and then it does feel a bit weird, not that I've anything against Bulgarians.
Bulgarians, can't stand them! (We joke) Can you recall your first on stage experience?
The first time I did stand up in a club was in a pub in Greenwich in 2002. There weren't many people watching but I LOVED it. I was so nervous and I had had about six or seven Tequilas so I can't remember that much about it but yeah, I just got addicted. That's the thing that happens with stand up, you either get addicted immediately, even if it goes really badly - that's irrelevant - or you just don't take to it for whatever reason, maybe you just don't want to jack in your social life. I didn't actually get too many laughs but I knew I loved it.
You reveal a lot about yourself in your material, did it take long to find your own style?
I remember when I started out, I immediately went off the script. I've got a form of Arthritis and I've got Scoliosis, and I think in one bit I started talking about that and it sort of shows them more about me, how my back's wonky and all that. I hadn't planned to do that, I'd planned to talk about Big Brother and other such edgy topics. I always do reveal a lot about myself in my material, but it always happens quite naturally. For the first while you're trying really hard to find the right thing for you so I tried being topical and doing observational stuff, like 'isn't it hard when you leave the hot tap on' or whatever, (glad you jacked that joke in, love) but I think the thing that comes most naturally to me is experiences that I've had or things that I've witnessed and then turning that into a story.
How do you feel about the Victoria Wood comparisions?
I haven't watched very much of her stuff at all. I think the comparison just started because we're both Northeners who do songs. I deliberately avoided all of her stuff because I didn't want to feel like I had copied her, ya know what I mean? Obviously she's fantastic and a national treasure so it's a great joy to be compared to her but no, I was more into Steve Coogan's Alan Partridge, Chris Morris, Brass Eye, and as I got a bit older I just loved sitcoms and sketch shows.
What was it that made you fall in love with comedy?
I used to go to Edinburgh a lot because my dad was Scottish, and I saw Johnny Vegas in 1997 and that was the first sort of time that I'd felt like 'OH MY GOD this is the most incredible thing' - Live in Edinburgh - and it was like opera or something, it was just amazing, so moving and fantastic but I was just at college, I stil didn't think I'd end up doing this.
And now to Peep Show, how much of Dobby is in you?
There are some similarities, like I think she sort of goes for it, and I think I do too. I might dilly dally a bit more than she does but I think I do go for it when I have to. I try and not shy away from the bullet or responsibility or whatever. I try not to stick my head in the sand about stuff and I think she's like that too. She wears her heart on her sleeve, I do too. I think she's a bit more hardcore than I am though. I think she kind of drinks more than I do! And I don't wear as many flowery clothes as her, I tend to wear high top trainers and jeans. I probably wouldn't keep going back to Mark if he'd rejected me as many times as he's rejected Dobby, I'd maybe have a little bit more pride.
Who would Isy choose, Jeremy or Mark?
I think if I had to choose either, especially when I was in my 20s, it probably would have been Jeremy because he is more of a bad boy. More of the lads I liked were more like him than Mark.
Dobby has quite the cult following, especially among IT geeks. Have you experienced any strange fan encoubnters?
Not really strange ones, like a couple of guys have asked me to marry them but they tend to be about 18 anyway. (That's not strange at all) I tend to get geeks who make their own badges. And this other guy wanted a picture of my hands but underwater and in gloves, that's quite weird.
Did you fulfill his request?
No I haven't got a camera and I don't know how to connect it to the internet. Maybe if I had a camera I might have done it with someone elses hands and pretended they were mine.
Thank GOD you don't own a camera. How was it working as a comedy consultant on Skins, that must have been pretty cool?
It was really fun, the great thing about Skins is that they really take risks on people who haven't had that much experience writing for telly and when they hired me I had written a couple of pilots and sitcom scripts but hadn't been picked up. It's really collaborative on Skins and the way it's written is really cool. It's more like in America where people sit around a table, discussing all the story lines so everyone's really in tune.
OK. Now that we're better acquainted, let's get on to the more pressing questions. Describe yourself in three words.
Three words? Late, well-meaning.
That's two. What's the most romantic thing you've ever had done for you?
Oh my boyfriend took me to a derelict hotel because I really love derelict buildings, and that was literally the best Christmas present I could have gotten.
You're a cheap date then.
It was fantastic. It was in the snow in Wales and it took a really long time to get to it, it was a surprise, and we just went around the hotel for ages and he got really scared. It was freezing. I LOVE derelict buildings, I'll go in any one any day even in a thunder storm.
You're a strange egg, Suttie. Tell us your most embarrassing moment to date.
Emm I don't think that you can print this but probably when I pissed myself on a train by mistake.
There's little outside the realm of 'See You Next Tuesday' that we can't print.
Let me think of something cleaner, the most recent moment was when I was wearing a skirt that had a normal bit underneath and a net bit over the top and I went to the toilet and the normal bit stuck in my knickers and you could see the normal bit of my knickers covered with a net, it was really weird.
Nice. First record you ever bought?
This beat is Technotronic, by Technotronic. The first cassette tape I ever bought was Jive Bunnies album. That tape's probably still at home I should probably try and dig it out!
Favourite comedian ever?
When I went on a double date in Guilford when I was a student and I was drinking Stella with two Vodka shots in the top and I hadn't eaten and it just went really wrong. Yeah, I threw up and I started talking sh*t and then the dates just left.
Tell us something we'd never know.
I used to have a lump on my head and I can cook Thai food really well.
Thai Curry?! Jesus H Christ. And finally, what's next in store for you?
Well we're waiting to see if we can get Pearl and Dave on the radio, so that'd be a series with a half hour simple format chronicling the love story of Pearl and Dave, other people's stories and a bit out of me. Oh I almost forgot, I'm doing Peep Show again in August!
What can we expect for Dobby?
They always ask me what I want to happen to Dobby and then I just say 'oh can she go in a derelict house?' and they're like 'you just really want to do that, don't you' and I'm like 'yeah, pretty much'.
Couldn't Dobby just move into a derelict house?
Ooh that's a good idea, I'll suggest that. All I'd like to do is never have to eat carrots again.
We did a Christmas scene in the last series and I ate a carrot on the first shot and then forgot how many points of view they were doing so I had to eat about 30 or 40 different carrots that day and I was like 'oh my God I never want to eat a carrot again.'
Isy Suttie | Pearl and Dave | The Sugar Club | 18th May 2012
Tickets on sale now priced €17 from usual outlets nationwide.
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Friday 4th May 2012 | Comedy
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