Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Isy Suttie interview

Isy Suttie talks to about her upcoming performance at That Comedy Thing:

When you see Isy Suttie's name in print, it is often followed, in brackets, by the explanatory words, (Dobby from Peep Show). While it is undeniable that this is the role she is best-known for, in truth, there are plenty more strings to her bow than being the anti-Sophie in Channel Four's fantastic sitcom. Indeed, Suttie spends her time balancing being a writer, actor, musician and stand-up comic. However, far from this being a case of her hedging her bets until she figures out exactly which direction she wishes to tread, Suttie excels in all of these creative endeavours and seems to relish being interminably busy. "I really like it," she beams. "There are new challenges and things to learn from each of them. I always wanted to write and perform. I wanted to act and went to drama school, but I wrote songs from a young age and was in a lot of bands. I like having my fingers in a few pies so the current state of affairs is nice - a bit of everything."

But, as award nominations increasingly land on her doorstep and her star ascends at pace, will one path eventually have to take precedence over the others? "I can't see myself ever stopping live stuff, so I think even if acting went well and I filmed something for a while or was in a play or something, I'd be itching to do some stand-up after. I like the teamwork of acting and (often, depending on what I'm writing) writing, but I like the control and raw nature of stand-up."

Excitingly for residents of sleepy seaside settlement Eastbourne in the South East of England, Isy Suttie is bringing her unique brand of stand-up there on June 7th for an intimate gig at The Lamb Inn as part of the monthly That Comedy Thing. It won't be her first visit to the south coast town either. "It was lovely," she recalls of her previous, and only, visit. "I saw some old people drinking tea and I thought, 'I would love to live here.'"

If old people drinking tea floats your boat, then Eastbourne certainly ticks all the right boxes. Conversely, if a stand-up set from one of Britain's most exciting comics is your thing, then it's also the place to be on June 7th. And what can punters who brave the cold to head to The Lamb expect from Suttie's turn? "I do a mixture of songs and stories and read out some stuff from my diaries and things my Mum has sent me," she explains. "Some of the songs are set in medieval times and others are set in the present. Absolutely none are set in the future."

Talking of music, what will be on Suttie's ipod as she makes the journey south? "I am bad at listening to new music," she admits. "At the moment I listen mostly to Nick Drake, Tom Waits, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci and The Stone Roses. In terms of music that came out more recently than three years ago or longer, I really like Dizzee Rascal, Chris Wood and Rufus Wainwright to name a few. There's a Cardiff-based folky musician called Ratatosk who I'd really recommend."

Anyone who is either unlucky enough to not snap up a ticket before they inevitably sell-out, or that lives too far away to make a Tuesday night journey to Eastbourne will be happy to learn that Suttie will more than likely be making her way to every corner of the UK during 2011, while, of course, continuing to multi-task. "I'm gigging around the country and I'm working on a new show about a couple tentatively falling for each other, called Pearl and Dave. I might have the poster font in the Pearl and Dean typeset but that's not the only reason I called it that."

And the long-term future promises to see equally exciting projects coming from the ambitious and hugely affable Suttie. "I'd like to write, and be in, a musical sitcom. I'd like to do a bit more serious acting. Basically I'd like to play a housewife in a 60's epic where I'd get to fight, eat bacon sandwiches and chain smoke, if anyone out there's writing something like that. Maybe she bursts into song every few days, but that's not as important as the fighting, the meat and the fags. What the hell is?"

And of course, there is unfinished business between Dobby and Mark for us to look forward to. The seventh series of Peep Show proved to be one of the best for some time - not so much a return to form as the raising of an already high bar - with the Dobster playing an increasingly large role. "I think a lot of it's down to the writers, Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong," she says when I ask her why she thinks people have taken her character to their hearts. "She came along at the right time and Mark is well-loved and some people see similar qualities in the two of them."

And how much of Dobby is there in Isy Suttie? "I really love playing Dobby as there are certain aspects which remind me of me, but she's more kick-ass than me."

Catch Isy Suttie at The Lamb Inn perform on the same bill as the legendary Jim Bob in Eastbourne's Old Town on Tuesday 7th June. For ticket info, email or book now at

Interview by Rob Townsend. Follow on Facebook


Anonymous said...

Great interview. I love her!

Jem said...

Wish I lived in Eastbourne. I never thought I'd be saying that.

Dan said...

Lovely interview