Comedian and actress Sooz Kempner spoke with Adam Robertson about the 10 things that changed her life...

1. First stand-up gig

MY first stand-up gig was March 29 2009. I did my first ever open mic having got into drama school a month before. I got into the Royal Academy of Music.

I went ‘well now I can try stand-up’ because it can go all wrong and it doesn’t matter because I’m going to drama school. It was a gig called Comedy Virgins and it was lovely and warm and welcoming and very well hosted so you come away from that thinking you could be alright at this.

READ MORE: Eilish McColgan on the 10 things that changed her life

That was 14 years ago and I still haven’t got over it, I’m still there doing this bloody stand-up for a career. It was at the Cavendish Arms in Stockwell and I’m happy the club is still there.

2. Marx Brothers

I THINK the first comedy that I really was inspired by was old videos of the Marx Brothers I had in the house growing up. They go from 1929 into the 40s. I used to memorise routines. Whenever I’m asked I say I think it was Groucho Marx even though he died before I was born. They were very formative.

3. Victoria Wood and Steve Coogan

WE had them again on video and that’s what I thought stand-up was. I didn’t realise it could be in much smaller venues and it didn’t have to be on TV and that anyone could have a go and do it but I do know now because it’s what I do.

4. Doctor Who

I WAS born in 1985 and Doctor Who went off the air for a long time so my first experience was the TV movie when it aired in 1996. There was a lot of build-up with endless trailers on BBC. I think the idea was that would launch a new series and Paul McGann would be the new Doctor which as we know never happened.

It was part of my childhood because we taped it off the telly. We didn’t have a huge amount to choose from so I would watch a lot of stuff on repeat so that’s the part of Doctor Who I know the best. It’s very weird now, nearly 30 years after that I’m the lead in a spin-off multiplatform series.

5. VHS

THEY were expensive, a new film on VHS was more expensive than buying a Blu-ray now so it was a big occasion if it was a new video. I always remember someone bought me and my brother a Japanese, anime version of The Jungle Book.

It was like 70 minutes long and was definitely rubbish but it was a big thing and special because nobody had heard of it. I have found it on YouTube but you make yourself like stuff when you’re a kid in the 90s.

6. The news

I’VE always been weirdly into the news. When I was about five or six, I was really into Mikhail Gorbachev (below). I was very drawn to him and he’d come on the news and I’d be like ‘ah brilliant’ and say his name all the time.

I’d point him out on other people’s telly which is a weird, creepy thing for a six year-old to do. My mum’s a real news junkie. I think rolling news is great even though it’s done untold damage.

The National: SOCIAL Gorbachev

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 is Nadine Dorries because as a person she has no filter. People will ask ‘Nadine what do you think of this’ and I can just start talking.

7. Sega Master System

THE show I’m doing at the moment is the third in a trilogy about video games. I’ve done three stand-up shows about video games. We got the Sega Master System in 1992 and that changed my life because my creative writing started.

All we had was the game and I would do Sonic (the the Hedgehog) fan-fiction, he had a whole personality for me. By the late 90s and early 00s, they had voice acting but I didn’t like it. It definitely changed my life because I’m on my third show about video games.

8. Going on tour

I'M GLAD I waited this long to go on tour. I probably could have done it sooner but now I have an audience who will come and see the show. I know much more what my voice is within what I do in stand-up.

I know what I want to present on stage and that took a long time, it took a decade in stand-up. I think the difference between going on stage for 20 minutes and now, it sounds corny, but I know myself as a comedian now. I don’t trust anyone who is good from the moment they start; it should take a long time.

9. Edinburgh Fringe 2016

MY Edinburgh Fringe in 2016 was my third full Fringe and I took two shows on bad advice but equally not advice I needed to take. I did a character show in 2015 and a stand-up show in 2014 and I couldn’t decide what to do in 2016 and self-produced two shows.

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

I spent the entire month thinking I’d made a huge mistake but weirdly it never made me think to quit. I’m obviously that stubborn, I thought I’d get the month over and regroup so it was a good and bad sign.

The National: The festival draws crowds to Scotland’s capital (Jane Barlow/PA)

At the time 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 to the Fringe again because performing those shows to four people who come along because next door is sold out was gutting.

I look back on those shows and there was nothing wrong with them. I’m not saying they were perfect but they were alright, there were plenty of times the small audiences who came to see them enjoyed them but it was still a horrific month. I learned that was the worst it could be – fingers crossed anyway.

10. My love of film

WHEN I was 15, our media studies teacher in my sixth form showed us Taxi Driver. Obviously the best films you see in your life are the films you see at 15, it’s like the best music you hear is what you hear at 15.

It was like Taxi Driver flicked a switch in my brain and I went ‘oh cinema can be this incredible’.

I love watching films anyway but I realised I could enjoy studying it and have done that for over 20 years. I have a nerdy love for cinema, particularly people like Martin Scorsese and  Brian De Palma.