I've known Suzy almost since I started blogging, and she is truly one of the funniest, kindest, and most interesting people I know. To help celebrate the launch of her new book, Celebrity sTalker, Suzy was gracious enough to be interviewed AND offer a signed copy of her book to one lucky reader!
1) Tell us a bit about how you got started doing comedy. Is this what you always wanted to do "when you grew up?"
One day I watched Bob Hope host the Academy Awards, which he did nineteen times over the course of his career, more than any other host, and my Dad told me Bob also went overseas and performed for the troops. I told Dad I wanted to do that so he asked what my talent was. My talent? There were so many to choose from: sneaking out at night to meet boys, forging my parents’ signatures on report cards, stealing Mars bars from People’s Drugstore.
I eventually wrote, starred in, directed, and produced my first sketch comedy show at the age of 14. It was about toilet paper. It was the beginning of my need to be funny in front of people. Later I would revise that to “My need to be funny in front of people who paid me.”
2) Hecklers: assuming you've had at least one, how do you handle them?
Hecklers are part of a stand-up comic’s world. The worst ones are drunken fools who mistakenly think they’re funnier than the comedian. I always let them yell out stupid stuff for a while and then say, “You sound funny; do you know a good joke?” (YES!) “Would you like to come up here and tell your joke?” (YES!)
The heckler makes their unwitting way to the stage. I ask their name, their occupation and hand over the mic. Then I walk to the back of the stage and stand behind them, where they can’t see me. As the audience silently stares at them, suddenly the heckler or hecklerette realizes how scary it is to face a room full of strangers. They tell their joke and I’ve never seen it fail, the audience doesn’t laugh. That’s when I walk up to them and say, “Looks easier than it is, doesn’t it?”
3) Tell us a comedy high and comedy low from your life.
I was performing in Macedonia during the Bosnian War. That morning, two flyboys had taken the comics up in a Blackhawk helicopter and flown us into no-fly zones over Serbia. At one point they deliberately dropped the helicopter straight down the side of a mountain and we were in freefall for about six seconds. When we eventually landed at one of the base camps I took the pilot aside and said I would murder him if he did it again, provided we survived, of course.
Later than night, during our show, I singled out the pilot and ripped him a new one. I tortured him for five minutes while the audience howled. When I finally got back to the barracks I found a sticky note on my door. It read, “Thank you, you made my day” and was signed “A soldier.”
It’s my most prized possession.
The comedy low I blame on my business partner, Leslie Norris. We toured the US for eight years doing our standup show, Single, Married & Divorced. There were three of us but the third girl always varied, depending on who was available. In one town, the third girl missed her flight and wouldn’t arrive until the next day so Leslie and I had to do the show alone. The first five minutes we sang and did sketch comedy. I’m not a great singer. People hire me to sing but seriously, don’t. Leslie is a great singer. She came in second in Star Search and with her talent as a singer, was first runner-up in two Miss America state pageants.
So in the town with no third girl, we sang one of the opening songs, just the two of us. There was a complicated note at the end and when it came time for that note, Leslie stopped singing. On purpose. I was so off-key public schools removed their music programs and Broadway went dark for a week.
4) I can't ask the dinner party question, because you've already been at dinner parties attended by some of the most hilarious, fascinating people ever. So name four people you wouldn't mind being trapped in an elevator with.
Bill Clinton, Cher, the un-dead Elvis, and MacGyver, so we could get out of that elevator.
5) What's your favorite recipe?
5) What's your favorite recipe?
My mom is a world class cook and baker. I grew up eating cheese soufflés, chocolate éclairs, artichoke hearts, Orzo, and her amazing Baked Alaska. I never had a hotdog until I went away to college.
For years I ordered Baked Alaska in every restaurant that offered it, only to be disappointed that they didn’t put ice cream in it. Then I would ask a waiter in the next restaurant if theirs had ice cream in it and he would reply, yes, theirs did. And it would show up like all the ones before it, with a side of ice cream. Eventually I stopped ordering it. I have no idea how to make it. And even if I did, I’m sure it would be a colossal failure and I’d have to serve it with a side of ice cream. Sorry Mom.