There’s no need to curb your enthusiasm this weekend as the much-loved comedian and actress Susie Essman is headlining Boston’s Wilbur Theatre on March 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Best known for portraying the ever-sassy Susie Greene during the eight-season run of HBO’s critically-acclaimed hit series, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, Essman is a veteran performer who has appeared in her own HBO half-hour comedy special and a plethora of appearances on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and other late night shows. A performer, writer and actress, Essman remains one of the most sought-after acts in comedy today.
A stark contrast from her scathing and sarcastic character on Curb, the lovely Ms. Essman recently took the time to speak with the Boston Comedy Scene Examiner about her upcoming performance and life after “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.
BCSE: Thanks for chatting with me today, Susie. I am so excited that you're coming to Boston.
SE: Me too. I just hope it's not horrible weather like we've been having. Sick of it.
BCSE: Me too, me too. I can't wait to just bid fond farewell to this crappy winter.
BCSE: So tell me, so what's keeping you busy ever since we sadly said farewell to Curb?
SE: Where do I begin? Right now I’m shooting a pilot, which is why I couldn't talk to you the other day.
BCSE: Oh, exciting.
SE: Shooting a pilot for ABC, where I'm playing David Schwimmer's mother.
SE: Yeah, and it's based on an Israeli series, and it's called "Irreversible". It's shooting in New York, and I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that it gets picked up.
BCSE: Ooh, awesome, I think - sounds like, granted, I don't know much about the pilot, but I know that your public is dying to see you so I can't imagine it won't get picked up.
SE: Well, you know, pilots are so iffy, it's just a crap shoot. They’re probably shooting, I don't know how many comedies ABC is shooting. Maybe twelve, and they'll pick up maybe two or three, so who knows? It's a good one, though.
BCSE: Do you know yet when, roughly, it will air? Will it be in the fall?
SE: It'll be in the fall, yeah.
BCSE: Man, I'm going to have to wait patiently for that, and patience is not my biggest virtue.
SE: You and me both.
BCSE: So I was reading your interview, I think it was in the New York Times. I have to say I envy your lifestyle so much. It sounds like you are at such a wonderful place at this point in time.
SE: Life is good. My kids drive me crazy, but life is good.
BCSE: That's got to keep you grounded though, a little bit.
SE: Well, that's what they're put on this earth to do is to drive us crazy. For example, right now, my youngest has spring break starting today, and told me she was coming home today, but I can't get in touch with her. It goes straight to voicemail, she's not answering her texts, which means that her phone is dead. You know, that kind of stuff. So I don't know if she's coming home, if I have to prepare dinner, or anything.
BCSE: Got to keep you on your toes.
BCSE: Now, do your kids ever run around quoting your character from Curb Your Enthusiasm?
SE: No, no, they don't. They don't. It's funny, when you're a celebrity and you have children, you're nothing to them. You're nothing to them. I mean, I'm sure Bruce Springsteen's kids roll their eyes at him. You know what I mean?
SE: However cool you think you are, you're nothing to them.
BCSE: Now, do you mine from your life with your kids in your stand-up?
SE: Oh yeah, sure. I mine from everything. From everything. Nothing is sacred.
BCSE: Aside from the pilot, what are you most looking forward to, in this coming year?
SE: I've got a lot of bookings. I have a lot of stand-up, doing a lot of stand-up. The pilot, I'm kind of contractually held to them right now, so until I find out - they own me till the end of June, so until I find that out, I can't really book anything else in terms of television or film stuff, so you're kind of in limbo for a while once you make that choice to sign on for something like that.
BCSE: Right, right. And that's got to put a dent in some of your touring?
SE: Well, that stuff I book, and if I have to cancel it, as much as I hate to, I will probably have enough leeway time to know that.
SE: I mean, I almost had to cancel Friday. They're making special arrangements that I'm off that day, because we're shooting, that I can come to Boston.
BCSE: Lucky us. I'll have to make sure that your fans are well aware of the sacrifices you're making for them. Now, I know that you've written a book in the past. Any plans for another?
SE: Yes. That was my actual plan for the fall - summer and fall, was to hole up in my house in upstate New York and just stare at the blank page. That might not happen if I'm busy shooting, which would be a good thing, because I have no idea what I would be writing about. You know, you're a writer, you know what it's like.
SE: But that was one of my plans, was to revive a screenplay that I wrote a long time ago and to work on another book. I don't know, I'm kind of thinking about writing some fiction.
BCSE: I love when people in the comedy industry go that route. I just read a book by Dylan Brody that was a fiction, and it was beautiful. It's such a different thing than what you'd expect from performers.
SE: Right, right. You know, we're writers. Performers - everything I say on stage, I wrote. Especially with Curb, it's all improvised. We're writing all those lines, so that's what we do. We're writers. Larry just wrote a play that he's going to bring - I think he's going to bring it to Broadway. I don't know, but it's really, really funny.
BCSE: Oh, cool.
SE: You know, he's just trying to do different things - we're all trying to do different things to keep ourselves fresh and interested, and you never stop. You never stop working.
BCSE: Right, right. Yeah. Whereas you get some touring comedians that are quite happy doing what they're doing, so it's nice to see people branch out, and really put their skills to use.
SE: Yeah, I cannot just do one thing.
BCSE: Yeah. I can't either, yeah.
SE: People will ask me what I like better, acting or stand-up, but I don't have a favorite. I like it all. I like to constantly be moving forward like a shark.
BCSE: Yeah, and changing things up and doing different formats of things is - it's so good for your brain, it just keeps you on top of things.
SE: Right. Well, this series, this pilot that I'm shooting is based on the Israeli series, but it's also improvised. I'm in love with that format. It's done the way we do Curb, so I'm really having fun.
BCSE: Now, is that sort of a break from the norm for ABC, for a show to be improvised like that?
SE: Oh, I don't know that there's ever been a show on network television that's been shot like that.
BCSE: Right, right, oh, that's exciting.
SE: I can't think of one.
BCSE: That's exciting. So, see, already, right out of the gate, you guys have a better hook than most.
SE: There was a pilot that Bonnie Hunt did that was partially improvised - a series that was on the air a while ago that was on network. I don't remember the name of it. But that's the only one that I can think of. Not a lot. Most of them are scripted. Networks don't like to take those chances. That's more something that you would do on HBO.
BCSE: Yeah, or even the TBS’s of the world, maybe.
SE: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So it's quite unusual that we're doing this.
BCSE: Yeah, and especially with ABC, it almost tells me that they're a little bit more in tune with what people want.
SE: I think they have to be. I think that they're losing so much viewership. There's so much interesting stuff being done on cable now, on Netflix, all of - I mean, that's what I watch. I mean, I don't want to diss ABC.
BCSE: Yeah. Hulu is even coming out with original programming next month.
SE: 1: Oh really?
BCSE: Yeah, yeah. They have a new series called ‘Deadbeat.’
SE: So, the networks got to adjust and get a little hipper.
SE: I'm just counting the days till Mad Men comes back.
BCSE: I hear that's ending after next season.
SE: I think it's two more seasons.
BCSE: Ah. I guess it’s not as sexy to do it in the seventies.
SE: I guess so. Luckily we've been spared Don in bellbottoms.
BCSE: Yeah. I don't think that's something anybody wants to see.
SE: No. Absolutely not. With sideburns, you know? Long sideburns.
BCSE: Yeah, the big mutton chops.
BCSE: Well, listen, I don't want to take up too much more of your time, but it was a delight. I've always been a fan of yours, so thanks for chatting with me.
SE: Thank you.
BCSE: And we'll see you very soon here in Boston.
SE: Can't wait.
BCSE: Can't wait either.
SE: Thanks, Angie. Bye-bye.
Don’t miss the hilarious Susie Essman as she performs at The Wilbur Theater on Friday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster. The Wilbur is located at 246 Tremont Street in Boston’s historic theater district.