Comedienne Susie Essman On Comedy And 'Curb'

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Comedienne Susie Essman plays the sassy Susie Greene on HBO's acclaimed "Curb Your Enthusiasm" series, bringing to it her own brand of biting sarcasm, pointed insults and no-nonsense panache.

Essman is also a veteran of late night comedy and the world of stand-up, where she made her mark.

Add to that her book ("What Would Susie Say"), her voicing of Mittens, a cat, in Disney's animated "Bolt," and it's safe to say that there's little in the comedy world that Essman has not done.

Essman is on tour and joins Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson to discuss her career.

One of her pet peeves is that people assume she is like the character she plays on "Curb."

"I guess that just means I'm a good actress, but I'm not her!" Essman said. "I don't dress like that, I'm not filled with rage — I get that all out on stage and when I'm acting."

She will be performing at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston tonight.

Interview Highlights: Susie Essman

On the appeal of "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
"People always think that no one really relates to 'Curb' except on the coasts, and it's not true."

"I had a guy come up to me recently from Africa — he was an African immigrant in New York City — telling me when he sees me do my mother in my act, it's exactly like his mother."

"There's a universalness about all the characters, and about what I talk about."

On her depression and comedy

"The depression didn't come from the stand up. The depression was there, which kind of forced me into the stand up. I was so deeply depressed I had nowhere to go but down."

"Depression was almost the impetus to do the stand up. If I was happy, I don't know that I would have gotten on stage in front of strangers and tried to make them laugh."

On the contract between the comedian and the audience

My theory about the audience is that the audience wants to feel relaxed, and they want to feel like the comedian is in control. The contract you have with them is 'I'm going to take care of you for this next hour.'"

"You know when you feel really uncomfortable when you see a bad comic or when you see a comic dying? That's because the contract is broken. You, the audience member, has to take care of them."


This segment aired on March 28, 2014.


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