Isy Suttie may be best-known for her work as Dobby in Peep Show, but visitors to Kings Place in North London during February will see a whole other side to her
Tell me about your book, The Actual One?
The book is about growing up and life in my 20s. It’s about that moment when I realised that all my mates were settling down and about thinking that they should be waiting for me! I feel like now I have settled down and I’ve had a baby I’m revisiting that part of my life and reassessing. Was I being a bit of a dick, or was that just normal? It’s nice to have that distance and I write better about it now that my 20s have gone by.
What made you want to reflect on your 20s?
Even though the book was commissioned before I was pregnant, having a baby definitely made me reflect on who I was more. I didn’t realise how long it would take – I thought I’d just lock myself away in a shed drinking black coffee and smoking rollies and get it written, but it turns out it doesn’t work like that. But it’s been a good thing that it took so long because by the time I was redrafting I’d had a baby and that made me think about things differently.
How have you changed since your 20s?
I’m a bit more anxious. It’s a bit like when you put a kid on skis they’ll go for it, but adults get nervous, so they’re more likely to fall over. And I’m nervier about my health too. But I’ve learned how to do things for myself, which is good. We own a flat now, so I can’t ring a landlord to change a light bulb. It’s all these little things that just make you realise that you’ve changed from who you were in your 20s.
And you’re doing a book tour across the country?
I’ve written a book with the same name, and the show mixes reading from the book and songs. When I was growing up I knew I wanted to be an actress, but I always wrote music and wrote sketches, so it’s great to be able to involve all of those different things in one show. I really wanted to do live work again after I had a baby last year. It’s going to be really nice to get out there again.
The Actual One is a one-woman show. What’s the challenge of doing the show alone?
Mostly that if it doesn’t work you’ve only got yourself to blame! But then when it goes well you’ve only got yourself to congratulate. The travel can be hard and really lonely. For most of this tour I’m supported by Harriet Kemsley, which makes it much more fun, but it can still be hard.
What would you say to someone who wanted to work in comedy?
If you want to do comedy, it’s important to get as much experience as possible, even if that’s just in front of three people above a pub. It doesn’t matter where it is, but it is important to get the exposure. The Internet wasn’t a thing when I was starting out, but that’s a great way to get yourself out there now. Just try new things – don’t worry about how things are developing, just explore.
Is it different now that you’re a parent?
No, it’s much the same. You have to be organised, but if anything I think I’m more focused now. When I’m working I want to get it done so I can go home and be with my baby. But having a baby hasn’t changed me fundamentally. You don’t become a different person – I loved working then and I love it now. My partner and I both work and we share the childcare 50/50, which helps a lot.
How was saying goodbye to Peep Show?
I thought it was my last day on Peep Show so I cried – everyone was asking why I was so upset and then I realised I had another day! It’s really weird that it’s ending, but Robert [Webb] and David [Mitchell] are in their early 40s and a show about two blokes in their 40s sharing a flat is a different thing. I think they’ve been wise to stop it now, even though we’re all really sad about it.
You don’t ever want it to get to a point where you say, ‘Maybe we didn’t need to do that last series’. It’s been an amazing experience, mostly the same crew and directors since early on. Our lives have changed so much over the time we’ve been doing it, and David and I both have babies now. We don’t have any cool anecdotes from the set – at this stage we were just talking about how to get babies to sleep!
The Actual One is coming to the Kings Place. What are your favourite parts of North London?
I used to live on Tottenham Road in Dalston. I loved the Wellington Pub. My favourite part of North London is Hampstead just because it’s so beautiful.
WORDS Rebecca Reid
The Actual One is at Kings Place on the 15 February 2016. See more at kingsplace.co.uk