SCOTTISH comedian Susie McCabe will admit that she’s “anything but relaxed” before a show, but there is something particularly special about her upcoming gigs.

“To be able to perform in your own city, in the biggest theatre to an audience that have paid money to see you because you’re one of them is a very, very fortunate position to be in.”

Since the start of her career, McCabe has been challenging the “status quo” of what people expect from comedians and is due to perform three shows at the King’s Theatre as part of this year’s Glasgow International Comedy Festival on March 15 and 16. 

READ MORE: Scottish comedian Zara Gladman discusses 10 things that changed her life

In an exclusive interview with The National, the comic spoke about her new show The Merchant of Menace, performing in her home city and getting the audience involved. 

Performing in Glasgow

Having been brought up in Glasgow, McCabe says it is an “honour” to be given a chance to perform in a venue as iconic as the King’s Theatre.

Her latest show – The Merchant of Menace – follows on from last year’s Femme Fatality which was met with rave reviews, particularly at the Edinburgh Fringe.

“Performing in Glasgow always feels different. The Fringe is really a separate entity in this job, it’s essentially a work conference for four weeks,” she says.

However, McCabe admits that performing in front of a home crowd doesn’t make her feel any less stressed.

“There’s 1750 people in for each show so I’m anything but relaxed – but there is an element of being of the same kinship, the same people regardless of class, gender, gender identity or sexuality.

“It’s a really lovely thing, a lovely audience and it’s an absolute honour to stand in that theatre on the shoulders of the giants who have performed there.”

The Merchant of Menace

McCabe’s last show, Femme Fatality, tackled a number of topics from growing up gay in the 1980s and 90s to her impressions of modern men and women.

Asked to describe this latest show, McCabe (below) said: “My life has changed, there’s been some great things happen to me. I got married for example, but as much as that I’m still fundamentally that person challenging the status quo.

The National:

“I’ve been told with my accent, my face, my class background or previous work history, I’ve been told my whole life this isn’t for you.

“I’ve been described as unashamedly Glaswegian, Scottish, working class. I had no idea I had to be ashamed of any of those things in the first place.

“I’ve got to the point where you know what, I’ve got to where I am by being me, I’m not going to walk the line or be told this or that or the next thing regardless of success.

“It’s about forging your own path and not being put in a box because the people that tell you to stay there, you’re the biggest threat to them.”

Getting the audience involved

Anyone who’s been to one of McCabe’s shows will know she’s always up for getting the audience involved somehow.

The comic says it’s something she’s always done and that, as someone often dealing with sections of an audience who did not grow up in her generation, it acts as a great way to bring people in.

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“With my last show, there was a particular bit talking about homosexuality in the 1980s on TV. Now if you’re 18 you don’t know that so I’m going to reach out and bring you into the show that way,” she says.

“It gives a peak behind the curtain of the world that I grew up in and then you’re including that generation of people who maybe didn’t live here or weren’t interested in watching those programmes.”

Part of the joy in exploring such topics though is the conversation it can help to start between generations.

She explained: “What I found with last year’s show was the amount of messages I got from parents and people in the audience or their family members telling me they went home and sat at the table and it started a conversation.

“Lesbians were always killed off or into poetry on TV. It was this universal portrayal of homosexuality which wasn’t true.

“I do enjoy talking to the audience, not to pick on someone, I want to bring them into the show. It might be someone I can have fun with, you might be an 18-year-old shy guy or girl but if you’re a middle-aged guy who’s up for a bit of chat then that’s good as well.

“For me, when you talk to the audience, especially in Edinburgh, they’re going to see a Fringe show – but I want them to think I’m going to see Susie’s show and that’s fundamentally a very different mindset.”

Tickets are still on sale for McCabe’s show in Glasgow on March 16 HERE – where you can also find out more about all the other great comedians heading to Scotland in the next few weeks.