How appropriate I should be watching Susan Calman’s first DVD recording the week of gay marriage legalization in the U.S. because she discusses at length what it was like when gay marriage became legal in the U.K. She and her civil partner went to get their partnership upgraded to marriage and it was like being at the DMV.
Now that gay people can marry, heterosexual marriage is dead.
Susan Calman is a 4’11”, Glasgowegian comic most recognizable off The News Quiz. Sometimes comics use their worst criticisms for comedic effect, whether it’s recounting heckles, scrolling through vicious tweets, or reading off letters of complaint. Robin Ince, for example, likes to read off listeners’ angry letters to The Infinite Monkey Cage. Calman read letters of complaint about The News Quiz and was devastated to find it was largely complaints about her weight and being a lesbian. The show gets a little dark here, and to be honest, I prefer a show that gets poignant and personal to a parade of light gags. She admits she doesn’t always like herself and struggles with depression. I applaud the honesty.
But there are also fairly mainstream stabs at regional differences and funny anecdotes if you’re into that sort of thing, too. Being from Glasgow and playing a Glasgow audience, Calman plays with stereotypes of the city. Although not typically found in the guide books, it’s important for visiting Americans to know the common perception of U.K. cities…largely so you understand jokes said not only by comics but anyone on the street and in the local. Watching Susan Calman’s show, we understand that a man hawking a 5-quid lukewarm squid in a sandwich bag in the pub is the sort of nonsense you should expect in Scotland’s largest city.
The longform anecdotes are by far the highlights of the show, including the time that she thought a romantic honeymoon would be taking her wife to see the sewers of Paris, which resulted in Calman nearly being sick everywhere. The show ends on a brilliant tale of her experiences on 24 Hours to Go Broke, a channel Dave TV show that took her and cricketer Phil Tufnell to Iceland where she nearly died multiple times, being put on the back of a vicious horse and lowered down the crevice of a glacier.
Jaime Pond is the editor of Anglonerd.com. She lives and works in NYC. Follow her on Twitter.