The Scotsman Sessions #58: Susie McCabe

Welcome to The Scotsman Sessions. With the performing arts world shutting down for the foreseeable future, we are commissioning a series of short video performances from artists all around the country and releasing them on scotsman.com, with introductions from our critics. Here, Glaswegian comedian Susie McCabe reflects on caring for her parents during lockdown

A little over a year ago, fast-rising comedian Susie McCabe was performing at the Royal Albert Hall, appearing at a benefit for the Teenage Cancer Trust with some of the biggest names in UK stand-up. Today, she's champing at the bit just to play one of Scotland's imminent drive-in gigs.

“In a car park ...” she mutters. “I've never felt more like a sex worker in my life.”

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No-one can accuse the down-to-earth Glaswegian of being precious though. Throughout lockdown, she has kept the same pre-show ritual for her online sets: “Have a shower, put on my shirt, jacket, boots, looking like I'm going to a gig… listening to certain music, just getting into the right mindset.” Zoom gigs, she says, “have been amazing and the punters have been great. But och, it's just not the same.”

Susie McCabe

Regardless, she has little desire to attend even a reduced Edinburgh Fringe, should a stripped-back festival of sorts get the green light soon.

“If ever there was a breeding ground for a lung-based viral illness, it's the dank, sweaty and poorly-ventilated basements of Edinburgh” she chuckles grimly. “'Was it a live market?' 'No mate, just comedians telling jokes - a whole new strain of the virus that gives you a massive ego.' It'll be the Wuhan of the northern hemisphere.”

Her next big live show is optimistically set for the King's Theatre in Glasgow on 27 September, appropriately titled Born Believer. As with her Scotsman Sessions video, a recurring theme will be her often testy relationship with her parents.

“I love them dearly,” says McCabe, “but I'm at the age now where they're like teenagers and I'm the parent. They even hid their shielding letters from me! At the height of the coronavirus, my mum decided she needed birdseed. Worse, I was happy to queue for two hours to get it, if only for a quiet life.”