Suzi Ruffell

Suzi Ruffell on Her ‘Nocturnal’ Tour

5 February 2019 | Rosa Johnston-Flint

Suzi Ruffell is best know for her chipper stand up, but like most of us, she worries about things - be it politics, finding love, her cat's happiness, online trolls, or FOMO - that timeless yet somehow only recently named 'Fear Of Missing Out'. Well, fear not dear reader! All you need to worry about now is getting a ticket. Before it sells out...

What’s your show, Nocturnal, like?
It’s a stand-up show, partly about anxiety, partly about identity. I talk about going to India, and travelling, and how I felt seeing a gay person in a country a where homosexuality has just been re-criminalised. So parts are socio-political, but more than anything it’s a funny show about my anxieties – from “argh, remember that time I made a prick of myself at that party and I hate myself so much for it” to “oh god, global warming, is the world about to explode” – it’s pretty vast.
Well, it’s a very normal reaction to some very normal but also serious and scary stuff.
Yeah, I think the thing that’s interesting is, you don’t have any control about what you worry about. I’m someone who has a lot of generalised anxiety, and there’s no measuring stick for how much you worry about one thing or another. Whilst writing and previewing this show, I found it reassuring how many people came up to me and said “oh I’m exactly like you, and my brain’s like that too”. That’s something I love about stand-up: it’s really connecting and it’s really human, what we all laugh at. So this year I thought I’d take a slightly bigger subject, like anxiety and mental health, and find something funny in it. That’s how I deal with everything.
How do you swerve anxiety?
I quite like going to the gym, although I appreciate it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. I spend a lot of time with my mates, going to gigs, the cinema – 'self-care', I guess. That’s a new phrase I’ve picked up.
Any conclusions on anxiety – is it inevitable in this super-connected and highly opinionated world?
Yeah I think so, I mean that’s what’s happened to me and you can only ever really talk about yourself, can’t you. The first story I wrote was about a troll on Twitter. I’ve found that as your profile rises – I’m lucky I do bits of TV and things like that now – it does mean more people get in touch to tell you they hate you, which is a very bizarre thing to want to do. It’s a true story; there’s this guy who keeps getting in touch with me. It was just this one guy, commenting on my social media, setting up new profiles to keep doing it. It wasn’t really about my stand up, it was about me being gay – he just wanted me to know that he thought I was awful, and he hoped I’d burn in hell... I guess that’s the downside to stuff like Twitter – it gives people the platform to be keyboard warriors. It’s crazy that you can just be in bed, looking at your phone and get messages saying “I hate you” and I think people really revel in that. I appreciate that all the stuff I’ve just said makes it sound like the show isn’t funny at all – it is! I ended up finding it quite funny. There was one interaction with a guy who Tweeted me a bunch of times asking me to “think of the children” – I call it my ‘3am press conference’.
Is there an upside to your profile too?
Oh yeah. It’s an exciting time to be heard as a woman. More people are listening than ever before. As much as there are things that feel a bit icky, on the whole I love having this platform, and getting to have an opinion. I’m not very academic; I didn’t go to university. It’s only in the past couple of years in my stand up that I feel like I’ve had a voice to talk about bigger things.
'Nocturnal' runs until 25 May; for tickets and full tour listings, visit Suzi’s website.

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