When looking at her cv, it would be somewhat easier to describe what Isy Suttie isn’t rather than what she is. Writer, director, comedian, actor, musician and songwriter are all terms which have been used to describe her unique talent. Yet arguably her remarkable career has swerved into so many different worlds that the above descriptions don’t seem to do her justice. Probably best known for her portrayal as the quirky Dobby in the Channel Four sitcom Peep Show, Isy Suttie has been a recognisable face in British comedy for the best part of two decades, becoming one of the most exciting talents on the scene.
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Making her Edinburgh debut in 2005 in the stand up showcase The Comedy Zone. Isy was quick to become accustomed to the live entertainment scene. Starting with open mic nights in her local area, she slowly extended her audience. Having written songs as a childhood hobby, Isy started performing her own repertoire of material which proved popular. Inspired by versatile entertainers like Victoria Wood, it didn’t take Isy long to realise that she had the ability to create a comedic patter in between her songs which the audience seemed to like. This patter grew increasingly prominent within her sets and forced Isy to realise that stand up comedy might be a viable option.
Being welcomed into the comedy fraternity during the post millennium boom of superstar comedians was a surreal experience for the young writer and musician. Yet stadiums and theatres seemed like a long way from the cold face of the live scene which Isy was now a part of. Coming to comedy at the same time as fellow comedians Bridget Christie and Josie Long made it feel like times were changing. Climbing the Stand Up comedy ranks, Isy served her comedy apprenticeship in clubs and pubs before gradually performing larger venues. Inspired by her musical roots, Isy realised that she was able to offer something a little different from traditional stand up which made her stand out from her peers.
In 2007, following in the footsteps of comedy greats such as Billy Connolly, Ross Noble and Spike Milligan, Isy embarked on her acclaimed Stand Up tour Love Lost in the British Retail Industry to Melbourne Australia. It was here that she learned the subtle differences between the language of these two closely related nations. Despite possibly changing some of the slang words or quintessential English vocabulary, Isy realised that our humour is very similar. This proved an invaluable experience for the young stand up and spurred her on to widening her entertainment horizons.
Just a year later Isy secured arguably her most celebrated television role when she was cast as the geeky IT technician Dobby in the fourth series of the cult flat-based Channel Four sitcom Peep Show alongside David Mitchell and Robert Webb. Joining such a popular show was a daunting prospect for the comedian but as soon as Isy understood the role of Dobby, it was like she had always been there. Such a forward thinking sitcom adopted film techniques never seen on a situation comedy set. The use of point of view cameras required actors to perform solely to a camera for ultimate television effect. As a trained actor, this discipline went against everything which Isy had been taught and occasionally meant that she would don a camera by way of a mask to achieve an intimate angle on a scene. Such a revolutionary approach to programme-making helped to make Peep Show one of Channel Four’s best loved sitcoms and in turn transformed Isy Suttie into a star.
Another sitcom came calling for Isy in 2016 when she secured the role of Nat in Jo Brand’s bittersweet sitcom Damned. Sitcom had always shyed away from tackling issues of mental health and social care as its bleak undertones doesn’t lend itself to overt comedy. Yet with Jo Brand’s renowned roots as a psychological nurse, she was able to create a cleverly observed series surrounding the various bizarre goings on at a fictional social services department. For Isy, this required careful and thorough research and understanding of the world of social services in order to do justice to the role. Although surviving for just one series, Damned proved both a challenging and rewarding role for Isy and the show was able to capture the attitudes towards healthcare in post millennial Britain.
Being associated with such a beloved sitcom earned Isy a brand new audience and made her into one of Britain’s most exciting comedians. This gave Isy the incentive to extend her repertoire into other forms and in 2016 released her debut novel Glass Full followed by the comedic memoir The Actual One: How I tried, and failed, to remain twenty-something for ever. With her third book Jane Is Trying released on , there seems to be no end to Isy’s creative output. To purchase a copy of Jane Is Trying please click the link below and I wish Isy well for the sale of the book. http://hyperurl.co/JaneisTrying
Since doing this podcast, I have met some supremely talented figures who are right at the top of their craft. Yet whether it’s stand up comedy, music, acting or literature, Isy Suttie remains one of Britain’s most versatile and exciting stars of the current era and it’s fascinating to learn where entertainment shall take her next. It was a great pleasure to interview the fabulous Isy Suttie and wish her all the very best of luck for the next chapter in her remarkable career.