Susan Riddell: 'I aspire to be the Scottish Tina Fey: dead rich and respected but still under the radar'
- Brian Donaldson
- 2 November 2018
The Scottish stand-up and writer talks hecklers and comedy legends
A regular on Radio Scotland panel show Breaking the News, and with writing credits on Mock the Week and Scot Squad, Susan Riddell is a rising star of the Scottish comedy scene. In this Q&A, she tells us about a current fondness for funny Australian folk and why a red light made her comedy debut something of a challenge …
Can you tell us about the moment when you thought: 'stand-up is for me'?
I don't think I've ever thought that. I just look at it as another string to my many, many, many bows (please include a wee 'lol' or 'haha' so people don't think I'm a dick).
Do you have any pre-show rituals you can tell us about?
I sacrifice one or two chickens. If there aren't any around I just eat a banana and remind myself that the planet is dying and there won't be any trace of us soon.
How do you handle hecklers?
If I'm on an elevated stage I take a runny and elbow drop them from a great height. If not, then I just take them down verbally.
Where do you draw the line when it comes to 'offensive comedy'?
I don't like it when people are trying to be offensive. I don't mind offensive material or jokes but if that's the whole thing, it just bores me to be honest.
What's the one thing you remember about your very first stand-up gig?
I took a notepad on stage the first time I did stand-up. I wrote out my entire set in red pen and when I got on stage they had red lighting so it made the writing invisible. So I was fucked but it still went good.
What's the best piece of advice you've received from another comedian so far?
'Go up with nothing to say and see what happens.'
You're curating your own 'legends of comedy' line-up. Tell us the bill's top three acts
This would change all the time but at the moment I'm going through a right Australian phase so it'd be Sam Simmons, Chris Lilley, and Gina Riley and Jane Turner of Kath & Kim. I know that's four folk but double acts count as one. I love daft, over the top nonsensical stuff.
Which comedian's memoir would you recommend to someone?
Tina Fey's Bossypants was probably the last one I read. I aspire to be the Scottish Tina Fey. Just dead rich and respected but still under the radar.
Susan Riddell is on the bill at Minted Comedy Festival, Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh, Sunday 4 November. Minted also features Phill Jupitus, Gary Meikle, and Rachel Jackson.