How Isy made her mark in the tough world of comedy
REMIND ME, IN A NUTSHELL, WHO IS SHE? A multi-talented performer whether it be comedy, acting or music who comes from Derbyshire. She is best known for her portrayal of IT geek Dobby, in TV comedy Peep Show, now in its eighth series. She works on the live comedy circuit and on radio as well as TV.
TELL ME MORE ABOUT HER Her former school is Highfields, in Matlock. She was a member of Bakewell Youth Theatre. She says: "I had a job when I was at school working at Somerfield's supermarket. I think I had the slowest scan rate at the checkouts because I was always chatting to everyone."
WAS IT A HARD SLOG ON THE COMEDY CIRCUIT IN THE EARLY DAYS? Yes, she learned her trade the hard way. Isy says: "I remember doing a five-minute stand-up slot with an audience of three, including two Bulgarians. There is no way of learning how to do stand-up other than just doing it. You also have to do it for no money when you start, and you have to give up your social life. I did plenty of gigs for free in London. You could open at one venue and close at another. I used to be nervous all day beforehand."
SHE WORKS SONGS INTO HER LIVE COMEDY SHOWS, DOESN'T SHE? Yes, it is a talent she developed as a girl and, perhaps, owes to her mum. "She's very musical," says Isy. "She is an organist and piano teacher." Isy began playing the guitar and writing songs when she was 12, though complains that her earliest song-writing efforts did not work out too well. "There were two lads at Anthony Gell School we really fancied. I wrote some songs for them, put them on cassette and sneaked into their school in assembly to give it to them. They hated it."
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HOW DID SHE GET INTO SHOWBUSINESS? Isy says: "I left school at 18. I didn't do very well in my A-levels. At that point I wanted to act and write. My parents were very supportive but felt I should get some good qualifications. I took a year out and, during that time, took a part in By The Baseball Ground (The Community Theatre show at Derby Playhouse)." After graduating from the Guildford School of Acting in 2000, the hard battle to make her mark began. She cut her comedy teeth on the London circuit and did the Edinburgh Festival.
HAS SHE STILL GOT LINKS WITH DERBYSHIRE? Her parents, Viv and Andrew, still live in Matlock, though her sister Caroline has moved to London which is where Isy is now based. She says it was a case of having to: "The capital is awash with live comedy venues offering slots to anyone brave enough to step up to the mic."
WHAT'S SHE DOING NOW? She's on tour and can be seen at Nottingham Playhouse tonight.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT? Her live shows are a mixture of songs, comedy and characters. "It takes me five or six months to develop a really good hour-long show," she says. "I start with a song and work outwards developing a storyline, comedy and characters. It's how I communicate. This is who I am."
AND MATLOCK HAS PROVIDED PLENTY OF INSPIRATION? "There are quite a few eccentric people around there –and lots of tourists," says Isy. Matlock Bath is close to her heart, too. "It's like Blackpool without the sea. I used to like playing in the arcades. I like Matlock Bath Pavilion too. I don't think I appreciated the beauty of the area when I was a kid."
WHAT: Isy Suttie's 2012 Pearl and Dave tour
WHERE: Nottingham Playhouse
WHEN: Tonight, 8pm,
BOX OFFICE: 0115 941 9419.