If you’re a regular visitor to Standard Issue, you won’t need telling that we’re lucky enough to have a cracking team of contributors who we love dearly. We thought it was about time we let them introduce themselves properly. Give a big wave to Sooz Kempner.
Name: Sooz Kempner
Official job title: Comedian/minimum wage admin twit/occasional animal handler for film/stage.
What was the first thing you wanted to be? A vet because my grandma said that would be a good job as I really got on with most cats.
When did you know you wanted to be what you are now? I was 14 and realised the main draw with being a vet was the idea of being a telly vet. The admin thing is a dream that has already been fulfilled and I’d like to give it up ASAP.
The animal handling is like a taster of what it would be like to be a vet but instead of healing sick animals, I just make them do what directors want them to do using chicken.
What’s your strongest memory from school/education? Making the flame on my Bunsen burner really really small and telling James Hardie that it was Mr Bradshaw’s knob. It turned out Mr Bradshaw was directly behind me. He told me to “grow up” which, frankly, was less punishment than I deserved. I should point out that I never found out the truth.
When you’re not working, what else do you like to do? Sit as still as possible and eat stuff I bought at Iceland.
What has been your proudest creative moment to date? Getting big love for my first Edinburgh show back in 2014. Not from everyone obviously; there was a guy who came to one show who just read a big map for the first 20 minutes then walked out.
What was your favourite day at work? As a comedian: ‘performing’ my very first hour in 2013 to a sold-out room of friends a week after I’d had my heart broken. It was also my least favourite but you know what I mean.
As admin twit: The time the head of archiving brought in Haribo to the office.
As an animal handler: working on The Danish Girl and telling Eddie Redmayne that I was an actor and having him pretend to listen for a full minute.
What would you like to erase from your past? Telling Eddie Redmayne, “I’m an actor too, actually!”
What brings you the most joy? Doing a really fucking good parallel park.
What makes you angry? People telling me which women they find funny and which they don’t, when I tell them I’m a comedian. Braying Tories (both in the House of Commons and online).
Professionally, who has been your biggest inspiration? Steve Coogan made me want to be a funny person for a living; Bridget Christie made me realise I could be totally myself while I did it and Robert De Niro made me want to act (I doubt he’d be proud of my efforts).
Have you ever met someone who made you go weak at the knees? Oh god, let’s not go there, it led to me performing my first hour to a sold-out room of friends and I looked like a sad little ghost.
What advice would you give a woman who wants a career like yours? Shop at Iceland because you will be POOR.
How do you define success? Being proud of your output and having people you like be proud of it too. Money has zero to do with it because I am very happy to always shop at Iceland.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever had? Everything that has ever happened turned out exactly as it was always going to. Basically it means ‘stop bloody worrying’.
Where did you go on your favourite holiday? Hastings 2001. My first holiday away from my parents! I was 16 and six of us shared a mobile home in a rainy grim holiday park. I didn’t drink a drop, I didn’t kiss a boy but I DID sing Maybe This Time at the park’s weekly talent show.
Who can’t you live without? My cat Freddie Mercury [see photo at top]. What a good job he’s never going to die!
What can’t you live without? EastEnders.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? In panto in 2011 I downed six pints of cider in the evening, got up the next day and performed three shows. I am a hero.
Who is your favourite person? It varies but at the moment it’s my mum, coz she’s out buying avocados for me.
Who’s your favourite animal? Freddie Mercury, my cat. I don’t even feel guilty about picking him over our other cat, Brian May, because she (yes, she) keeps weeing on the rug in Mum’s bedroom. She doesn’t give a shit, she’s a total sociopath.
Which song could be used to soundtrack your life so far? Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones. It always sounds great when Scorsese uses it and I figure it might make people think my life was pretty edgy and cool.
Which question would you have liked to have answered in this questionnaire, but weren’t asked? What’s your favourite biscuit? I’d have said: “Thanks for asking, it’s actually Fox’s Golden Crunch Creams (you can get them in Iceland).”1114 Views