15 Aug CE IN CONVERSATION WITH SUSIE YOUSSEF
it’s not often I want to air punch in the cinema but it was a sore temptation this summer when I watched Ghostbusters. It wasn’t until I watched the film that I became truly aware of the many female stereotypes that I’d been fed throughout my years of film-watching. Up until the 21st century comedy was largely a playground for the guys but that’s changed with comedians such as Kristin Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler not only starring in comedy but writing it too. Now female audiences don’t just have to be the brunt of jokes but they can relate to the stories told by the woman on stage and laugh with her. Anyone who has the chance to see the brilliant Susie Youssef show, “Check Youssef before you wreck Youssef” will have that same experience. Not only laughing at her jokes but also relating to many of her experiences.
We met up with Susie at the Fringe and asked her 5 questions,
Susie, I’ve been on stage in front of 150 people and completely forgot what I was supposed to say, it was a defining moment in my life! How do you manage to do that again and again? And what drove you to do it in the first place?
It is terrifying. My hands shake and I feel ill before I get on stage – every time. But once I’m on stage it only takes a minute and the nerves fade. It’s totally normal to feel nervous before performing or speaking in front of people. It’s also normal to make mistakes, forget lines, blank – but if that happens I think you have to get back up as soon as you can and prove to yourself that you’re better than what your nervous brain tells you.
I don’t know what first drove me to perform only that I have always wanted to make people laugh. For the record, my sister Marie literally drove me to my high school drama performances and my first improv comedy course – thank you Marie! 🙂
Your show is a magical combination of belly-aching laughter and inspiration based on real-life experiences. How do you decide what material you’re going to use in your show to get that balance?
I’m never sure if I get that balance right but I try to give the show colour through the sketches and weight through the stories. Stand up is the newest element of this beast for me and I have a long way to go there. The show changes slightly every night because the audience reacts differently and the improviser in me tries to tweak on the fly. Which is another way of saying, I’m an undisciplined performer.
You talk in your show of going to the iO Theater in Chicago which is where Amy Poehler and Tina Fey both learned much about comedy too – is there anything that you learned about comedy there that can be used in day to day life?
The biggest lesson was if you’re going to fail, fail hard and fail often – which really means don’t be scared to fail, celebrate it. It means you dared to stand up and be heard.
Colour Elements is about accepting ourselves for who we are and being happy to wear colours that make us look good – what’s your instant fixer-upper?
I wear a lot of black but my show shoes are a pair of red heels and I love them.
Thank you so much Susie for taking time out of your schedule to chat. We really look forward to seeing what you do next. Are there any podcasts or blogs that we can access to keep the laughs going after your Fringe shows are over?
I’ll be back in the UK soon I hope! In the meantime I’m always trying out jokes on Facebook and Twitter and I have a website www.susieyoussef.com (which reminds me I need to update it
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