Brian Donaldson talks to comedian Suzi Ruffell.
Fresh from a totally sold-out, critically acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Fringe, Suzi Ruffell hits the road with another show that proves she’s a stand-up rapidly becoming a household name. With Dance Like Everyone’s Watching, this self-titled ‘natural worrier’ is delighted to shout her newfound happiness from the rooftops.
In the last year alone, she’s worked her socks off with a whole heap of excellent new TV credits on her CV: she’s appeared in Comedians Giving Lectures on Dave and The Comedy Bus for Comedy Central, recorded episodes for Richard Osman’s House Of Games, and made her mark on Live At The Apollo, while her own Live From The BBC stand-up special is back on the iPlayer.
As if this wasn’t enough, Suzi was recently named as the Chortle Best Club Act, recorded a special for Radio 4 entitled Suzi Ruffell’s Postcards To Portsmouth and is co-writing a sitcom entitled Hatch about a non-nuclear family. Now she is all set to launch herself onto a second solo national tour.
“I’m now definitely happier than I have been for a long time. I’ve met someone, and that’s all very exciting, but I can’t stop being who I am. So my worries now might be about starting a family and what that will mean and what that child’s life might be like in this world . . .
“I don’t stop being me, so for the kind of comic I am that does confessional stuff and talks on stage about her overactive brain, I’m still a worrier..”
The last year has been especially busy and successful for Suzi, with her having completed a first UK tour, Nocturnal, and taken her act to Australia. But now she’s back, hitting British stages again with the intriguingly titled Dance Like Everyone’s Watching.
“My mum has a sign in our house that says ‘dance like no one’s watching’: the rest of my family are the least likely people to dance while nobody’s watching. We are a family of show-offs, so we dance like everyone’s watching. Everyone does show off a little bit. People who are super-smart show off by being able to do a crossword really quickly. We all do it in our own way.”
When she was growing up, the entertainer/show-off gene rather than the academic one seemed to be dominant in Suzi. She happily admits this herself, and it seemed to be recognised within the Ruffell family.
“I’m not super academic. I remember talking to my mum about me going to university and she said ‘Your brother’s the clever one; you can tap dance’. And that’s been the mantra of my life. When you’re a kid, it’s rubbish doing stuff that you’re not very good at, and maths and English were really hard for me at school. But when I was able to go to an am-dram society and put old-lady make-up on and walk with a stick and pretend to be someone‘s granny, I had the time of my life.”
And now British audiences are about to have a great time as Suzi brings them her new show.
“Part of it is about the expectations of what you want and what you get. There are bits about the idea of the perfect relationship and what I thought having a career like this would be like. I romanticise being recognised by people for my stand-up and it happened a little while ago while I was in an Uber pool crying.
“I had hurt my back and had to get to an osteopath and so called a cab where people share. I just burst into tears and the other person said ‘Were you on Mock the Week?’ I am very lucky doing the job I do but you have those ideas of what something is going to look like against the reality of what it is like.”
The reality now is that Suzi Ruffell is having a lot of fun finding her audience (those who have’t got on boad yet are in for a treat), and is happier with herself and her life. That all adds up to an exciting period ahead as she takes Dance Like Everyone’s Watching on the road.
“I had a tour last year which completely sold out and we had to add extra dates. For me, that’s what it’s all about it. In the last six months I’ve really found my audience which has been the best; I absolutely love that.”
Suzi Ruffell plays the Glee Club, Birmingham on Wednesday, 20th November.