My Comedy Career: Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is currently starring in Cat/Person, an audio sitcom by Chris Heath. Listeners are treated to a series of overheard conversations between broken man Matthew (Heath) and Hobson (Vincent), his sarcastic, selfish, sociopathic rescue cat.

Tell us what you do in your job.

I am an actress and writer. I am currently filming the 3rd series of The Madame Blanc Mysteries (Channel 5 & Acorn TV) in which I play Glorious Gloria (a mechanic with impeccable music tastes and the tidiest garage in France). I co-write the series with my writing partner, the brilliant Sally Lindsay who created the show, and it will be returning to Channel 5 later this year.

Other recent TV appearances include Blind Spot (Channel 5), The Full Monty (Disney +) and Significant Other (ITV).

I am also the voice of Hobson in the hilarious new audio sitcom Cat/Person by Chris Heath.

How did you first get involved in the comedy industry?

I have always known I have funny bones. Actually, it's more of a feeling. The feeling of holding the moment whilst everyone laughs at what you just said. I can clearly remember making my friends laugh in the playground when I was about 6/7 years old. When the exercise books were handed back by my teacher at the end of the day, the words 'see me' were written at the bottom of the page. I genuinely thought she had seen me slaying it in the playground and wanted to congratulate me on such a great gig. She didn't. It was about my spelling. I love my healthy young ego in that moment, unsullied and authentic.

During my time at drama school, comedy roles were always my favourite. For my graduation showcase I played Sadie from The Rise & Fall Of Little Voice. I had half a dozen words and a disco dance. The feeling of people crying with laughter whilst keeping in character was addictive. I went on to play Sadie at Derby Theatre and Bolton Octagon and had the honour of meeting Jim Cartwright (they say that meeting your heroes isn't always a good thing - a lot of the time it's better than you ever imagine).

I wrote my first play in 1999 and went on to perform character comedy as Bubbly Brenda (a miserable holiday host) on the London comedy circuit. I was also a member of The Comedy Project at Soho Theatre for several seasons.

Cat/Person. Image shows left to right: Chris Heath, Sue Vincent
Cat/Person. Image shows left to right: Chris Heath, Sue Vincent

What key skills do you need to be able to do your job well?

Kindness (to yourself and others).

Patience (persistence pays off).

Humility (learn to laugh with yourself).

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Co-writing and starring in your own series is literally like winning a competition. Seeing your name on a shooting script or call sheet as the writer for the first time is thrilling.

In 2021, when we were filming the first series of The Madame Blanc Mysteries, me and Sally had to quarantine next door to each other for two weeks in a hotel (we had outside terraces so worked over the wall on the scripts - like a literary Les Dawson and Roy Barraclough). Special times that just keep getting better.

The most important thing I have learnt is to keep letting go. In everything. Don't become too attached to a thought or word - there is always a better edit.

The Madame Blanc Mysteries

And what has been the biggest challenge/disappointment?

I had a period of a couple of years where my writing took a back seat. Life was taking a couple of sideswipes at me and my head didn't have the space to create. So, I got therapy and learned to be kind to myself. One of the finest decisions I have ever made.

Talk us through a typical day.

A typical day (if on a 'big write'):

Coffee in bed where I stare at the ever changing trees outside my window and the randy wood pigeons. I do voices for all of the wildlife outside my window (I say 'wildlife' - it's a couple of manky squirrels and next door's cat)

Meditate - There should be gyms on the high street for the mind as well as the body.

Spend the rest of the morning doing admin, house pottering etc.

Midday - to the desk to lose myself for hours. It's an immense feeling when you look at the clock and realise that you have lost time and it has become words on a page (listen to her).

At some point I will have a Nana nap to refuel, then wake up and go back to work.

10pm is my cut off time on a big write.

Bedtime - 11pm.

This all looks very regimented and can differ of course. On days where I am not a big write I will meet with friends and guffaw too loudly in cafes, or watch The British Sewing Bee and destroy an item of clothing in an attempt to 'customise' it. It should also be noted that I am child free.

The Madame Blanc Mysteries. Sue Vincent

Tell us a trick/secret/resource that you use to make your job quicker/easier.

I write every single day. It can be a word, a sentence, a paragraph, a 30 page first draft. It doesn't matter. One great sentence can fuel a stream of thought for the future. I think learning to be kind to yourself for what you do creates a better frequency, in life and work.

How are you paid?

I am regularly paid for creating. It's something I always wanted to achieve and I am very proud.

If you could change one thing about the comedy industry, what would it be?

The obsession with the idea that anything can ever 'kill' comedy. It's ever evolving.

What tips would you give for anyone looking to work in your area of the industry?

For almost all creatives, it's not a 'choice', it's a drive that is deeply rooted inside. Fuel your drive with kindness to yourself and others. It's easier. Keep creating, keep excited, keep going.

Cat/Person is available on podcast apps including iTunes, Spotify, Audible, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher and Pandora

Published: Monday 30th October 2023
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