AROUND 10 years ago, comedian Sooz Kempner was in the basement of the Leicester Square Theatre performing her first hour-long show.

Just one floor above her on the main stage was America’s Joan Rivers. Now, a few viral videos and Fringe appearances later, Kempner is heading to Scotland to perform on the same stage as the famous US comedian.

“The tour has been lovely so far. When I did that show I could hear Joan Rivers yelling when there were quiet bits in my show”, Kempner told The National.

“It’s come full circle because 10 years later I’ve now done my solo hour in there. It felt like a real momentous night in my career so I’m crossing my fingers for Scotland.”

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In an exclusive chat with The National, Kempner spoke about what inspired her current tour, what audiences can expect, and her time at the Fringe.


Kempner will be playing at The Stand in both Glasgow and Edinburgh on June 1 and 3 respectively.

It’s inspired by her love of video games and started with a stage show she performed under the same name at last year’s Fringe.

“The show is about me, aged 13 in 1998 getting my Sony PlayStation. It was the first adult console I had and I felt like such a grown-up”, she explained.

“This show is about how 25 years on I don’t really feel like I’ve progressed at all. It’s about looking at what being an adult means and how old video games have influenced me.

“If you were living in the 90s and locked your butler in the fridge in Tomb Raider then this is the show for you.”

She says that the tour so far has been “lovely” having taken her through most of England before heading north of the Border.

Viral videos

To describe Kempner as a comedian would be doing her somewhat of a disservice. She’s also a podcaster, and has recently been cast as the lead in a new multimedia Doctor Who spin-off.

And on top of that, her viral videos have entertained millions, particularly her Trump speeches as Liza Minnelli and her impressions of two high-profile Tories – Liz Truss and Nadine Dorries.

She explained: “Of all the impressions I’ve done, Liz Truss was the hardest because she says nothing and that’s hard to portray.

“She’s weirdly unflappable because there’s nothing going on. The easiest by far is Nadine Dorries because as a person she has no filter.”

Fringe experiences

Like any comic, there’s been some bumps in the road in Kempner’s career, not least at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016.

During her third full year at the arts festival, she decided to take two shows rather than just one, and things didn’t quite go according to plan.

“I was cleaned out of money and it took me two years to pay it all back. I had no real audience and I certainly didn’t have the capacity in my head to write two good shows.”

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In spite of spending the month believing she’d made a “huge mistake”, she was able to find a silver lining.

She explained: “Weirdly it never made me think to quit. I’m obviously just that stubborn that I thought I’d get the month over and then just regroup so it was a good and bad sign.

“At the tie it was horrible because I was almost thinking I should want to give up but I just knew what I wouldn’t do was take two full shows.

“I look back on them and there was nothing wrong with them. I’m not saying they were perfect but they were alright.

“There were plenty of times a small audience came to see them but it was still a horrific month. I learned that was the worst it could be.

“Well, hopefully anyway. Fingers crossed.”