Despite the political mayhem going an all over the UK, stand-up comic Suzi Ruffell is in a happy place and she wants to bring happiness and joy to her fans. We spoke to Suzi at the start of her current UK tour to find out what makes her happy.
1. Thanks for your time Suzi. It’s a busy time for you now the tour has just started. How’s the tour going so far?
“Yeah, it’s going really well thanks. I’ve done six shows now and I’ve got twenty-two to do before Christmas and twenty-two to do afterwards but I think the show has kind of found its rhythm now which is great. I did Edinburgh then had a bit of a break now I’m taking the show back out on the road so it’s nice to get a few under your belt. You kind of worry that you’ve written a show that will only work at the Fringe but it’s been really fun so far. I’m at stage in my career now where a lot of people come because they have seen me before or seen me on telly, or people who are bringing their friends along who might like me so I’ve started to develop this really nice audience who are really up for it and I feel really lucky because I know that’s what we’re all trying to get as comics so it’s really exciting that I’m now getting that.”
2. What can fans expect from this show ?
“It’s a show about happiness, a show about how I’m happier than I ever have been before but it’s also just a stand-up show. I’m not trying to take on a big world subject or an issue. It feels like, at the moment, the world is a bit grim a lot of the time. I really wanted to write a show this year that was joyous, that people can come to and just really laugh. The show, including the support, starts about eight and, including the interval, is done about ten and, for the whole time, you should really be laughing. In the past I’ve spoken about heartbreak or anxiety, lots of different things but, this year, I really wanted to write a happy show. I think you often write what you would like to see and that’s what I really want at the moment, I really want some relief from all this bleakness. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for political satire and I’ll do that when I do Mock The Week or The Now Show, there is always a place for that but, for this tour, I wanted to do something joyful and that is what has happened which is just great. People are tweeting me afterwards saying that’s just what they needed which is really lovely.”
3. We saw Angela Barnes the other night and we saw you appear in her final video. How did that come about ?
“[laughs] Yes, she’s lovely. Well, there is a show in Edinburgh called A Musical where comedians sing songs and because I tap Ange asked me if I would do a little tap thing and I agreed, she told me she was putting it in the show. I’m a pretty good dancer, I won’t win any awards or anything, comedy is the better career choice for me but it was something I did a lot growing up and something I still really love to do.”
4. You’ve mentioned Edinburgh Fringe which you played earlier in the year. How did that go and do you have any good stories you can tell us ?
“It was really good. One of my most successful times there. I’ve always had a pretty good time at the festival, it was one of the top 10 reviewed shows across the whole of the Fringe out of the hundreds of shows taking place. That was amazing but the whole thing was just brilliant. I was in the great situation that the run sold-out on the fifth day of the festival so I didn’t have to worry about numbers for the rest of the month. I had a load of great reviews come out really early and then the show was sold-out and that was that. You can just enjoy the show then, you don’t have to worry about numbers or whether it will be a sell-out which you do have to consider in Edinburgh because there are thousands of shows. Like if you come to the Courtyard where I am, there are like another twelve shows starting at the same time so it’s such a hard place to sell out. As soon as the reviews were in we knew the whole run would sell out. It was really fun, I loved the whole month and working with lovely people, my mates are up there. That’s one of the things about being a stand-up, it can be quite a solitary place especially on the road but up there, my mates were there so that was really lovely.”
5. You’ve talked about your happiness earlier on, what is it that makes you happy ?
“I think one of the things is that I’ve stopped trying to see the world through rose-tinted glasses. I think that is something I was definitely guilty of in my twenties and when I was thirty. I’m thirty-three now and I think I was desperate for everything to be perfect and I don’t think that ever happens. I don’t know if perfect exists. I think you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth. As soon as I realised that I had to take the rough with the smooth, everything got a bit easier. I’m happily settled down, my career is going better than it has ever done before and it’s lovely to be able to play to full rooms. I’ve been doing stand-up for ten years and I’ve been on tour opening for so many of the guys – Josh Widdicombe, Romesh Ranganathan, Alan Carr, Katherine Ryan, Joe Lycett – I’ve been all over the country as the support act, which is a great thing to do and I wouldn’t have changed it for the world I absolutely loved it, but it is wonderful to be at a stage where people are coming just for me and I’d be lying if I said that part of my happiness wasn’t down to that.”
6. With Donald and Boris and Brexit, there is plenty to be unhappy about. Will you be glad when all this political upheaval is over ?
“I talk about politics on stage a little bit but more as a social commentary thing. I feel very scared at the moment, I want Brexit not to happen. I think we’re in a very scary place and I think, because of things like Brexit, it’s giving people licence to be unkind to people and people seem to think that nowadays they can say that it’s just their opinion so if you don’t like it then you’re a racist. I find all that stuff really hard, I feel very scared for the country at the moment. I don’t know what’s going to happen but I feel that the people who voted for Brexit are the people who are going to suffer the most and I think that’s really sad because they’re going to be sold a story that wasn’t true.”
“I did the News Show this week for Radio 4 and it was tough because some of the stories are so unrelentingly bleak and it’s really hard to find funny in a lot of that stuff you know? Peoples lives are potentially going to get worse because of it and when you’re there trying to do political satire, it’s like there’s nothing left to laugh about. I can laugh about it from my media bubble in London but when more places close down and stuff happens abroad and more factories close, it’s not that much of a laughing matter really. That’s part of the reason I’ve chosen not to be hugely political in my show this year.”
7. The tour takes you into next year but there is also talks about a sitcom and an entertainment show. Can you tell us anything about those ?
“I’ve got a sitcom which I’m in talks with a few channels and I’m writing it with one of my friends who is a fellow stand-up comic called Jenny Bede and, at the moment we’re just waiting to see if any channel will take it. I’ve got some entertainment shows which, again, there are lots of great meetings happening and exciting chat but, at the moment, there is nothing signed on the dotted line. However, I can tell you that I’ve just recently shot something with Harry Hill for Harry Hills Club Night which will be going out in Autumn. It was an absolute joy to work with him because, not only is he a fantastic comic, he’s also one of the nicest people I have ever met. It’s always great when you meet people you’ve looked upto all your career and find they’re absolutely lovely. I’m also on a new show called There’s Something About Movies which is a TV show for Sky One hosted by Alan Carr and it’s with Michael Sheene and Jennifer Saunders and other brilliant people. I’m also on the new series of Don’t Hate The Player which is a comedy show about hip-hop. I’ve got lots of telly coming out and hopefully something that will be under my own name soon. I just feel enormously lucky to be working and on tour and that’s genuinely the most joyous part for me. I love the telly part but there is nothing quite like a live audience for a comic.”
8. On the subject of sitcoms, are you a big sitcom fan ?
“Ooh yes, I love a good sitcom. I really like a lot of the traditional British sitcoms. I’d love to have been in Gavin and Stacey and everyone in my industry wishes they’d written Fleabag. It’s a work of art!”
9. Curveball question time now, if you could speak to one animal what would it be and what would you ask them ?
“It would be my cat and I would ask why she keeps scratching the new chair. I love her dearly but she really knows how to annoy me.”
10. Finally, this year has been a happy year for you, what would make you happy over the next twelve months ?
“Well, me and my partner are getting married and going on honeymoon to Hawaii which I’m very excited about. Workwise I just feel like, if things keep going as they’re going, I’ll be over the moon. Everything seems to be going in the right direction, I’m excited for what will happen next even though I don’t quite know what will happen next. I’m pretty confident that, whatever happens next, it will be fun. Whatever it is, if you’re sort of willing to trust that you’ve worked really hard that is a very exciting place to be.”
You can find a full list of dates and tickets here.