Andrew Dipper

New Act Of The Month: Sammy Dobson

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Sammy Tinkerbell (no, really…) Dobson is a 28-year-old comedian from Newcastle upon Tyne. She started stand-up in 2013 as part of a Comic Relief fundraiser to get people who had never done stand-up before to perform and raise money for charity at the same time. She’s done over 100 gigs across the country since. Last year Sammy, Lee Kyle, Mat Reed and Nicola Mantalios-Lovett put together the North East sketch group Funny Team. They do a podcast on Giggle Beats most weeks, usually in her car.

AD: Hi Sammy. How did you get into comedy? What made you first want to get on stage?

SD: I’ve wanted to do comedy at least since I was four. My mam and dad used to record Vic Reeves Big Night Out for me and I’d watch it when I came back from nursery. Apparently it perturbed other 4 year olds when I dementedly quoted bits at them in the sandpit… But these were my first comic performances. I ended up going into acting first and have worked in film and TV since I was 14 but comedy was always the thing I really wanted to do but was too scared to try for a long time.

AD: What’s been your highlight so far?

SD: Performing at the Edinburgh Festival to a small room of enthusiastic people that I discovered, when I came off stage, had included one of my childhood idols Victoria Wood. She shook my hand and said she’d really enjoyed it and I tried to appear completely normal and had to run out of the venue so she didn’t see my legs give way with daftness and me cry my eyes out. I should’ve stayed and talked to her but I would definitely have called her outrageously flattering things and hugged any remaining patience clean out of her.

AD: And low point?

SD: My fourth gig ever was to a less enthusiastic room in Sunderland. The audience was basically a terrifying group of people who had genuinely drank through a comedy gig setting up around them. As I approached the stage for my five minutes one of them showed me the knife in his coat and whispered ‘you’d better be fucking funny’. My arse has never sweated like it before or since.

AD: Who would you say you’re most like on stage?

SD: I don’t think any comedian would like to think they’re like anyone else but I was watching a bit of Craig Campbell the other day and when his hair is long there is a striking likeness between us… I think I’m dead sassy but that’s almost definitely not true. My best friend said I’m ‘whiter than Cliff Richard’ so maybe him. Boyish good looks, a housewives’ favourite and a penchant for young men. Allegedly.

AD: Who are your comedy heroes?

SD: Vic and Bob will forever be my idols. They were my Peppa Pig and I love them dearly. I went to see loads of stand-up with my parents when I was young (often being tarted up at 13 and 14 to get into 18+ venues) and remember seeing Jason Byrne when he first started performing. He was mesmerising. I love Daniel Kitson and Tim Key but its almost clichéd to like Kitson now. Which is a shame. He’s incredible.

I’m also a huge fan of Gavin Webster – I was a bit shy when I met him for the first time and when I heard him laugh at one of my jokes I genuinely lost my train of thought on stage and just stared at him like a triumphant toddler showing him an immaculate shit in a potty. Funny Team – the sketch group I’m in – support Gav at his Live Theatre show every month which is great fun and still dead exciting. (N.B I have never shown Gav my actual poo. Not yet at least.)

AD: You’re involved in all sorts of things – you’re an actor, you’re in Funny Team, you do kids’ shows and you do solo stand-up. What are you most passionate about? Has your career in acting helped you with your comedy stage craft?

SD: The acting has definitely helped! I think when I started my material wasn’t too strong but I could perform it and clown about and that pulled me through. It also meant I could get up on stage without sweating myself to dust as I could just act the part of a comedian which felt slightly less scary than just me going out there for everyone to judge. The sketch show (Funny Team) is probably my favourite as it combines the two things I love, comedy and acting, and means I get to do it with my mates. Stand-up can be very lonely sometimes – particularly when it hasn’t gone so well. There’s no place more silent than your car when driving back for three hours after a bad gig in Manchester. But when there’s a group of you, you can celebrate and commiserate together. It has meant I’ve had to pretend to fellate Mat Reed in front of an audience that incuded my parents but, that aside, it’s belter.

AD: Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

SD: Ideally, still acting, doing stand-up and the sketch group. Just in bigger rooms, to more people and getting paid. Ooh, and maybe a ryder! I love orange Matchmakers and diet Irn Bru. That would be good. Realistically, on of Funny Team will have killed another member so I may be dead or serving a life sentence. In which case I’ll be a prison bitch. Or the clever one what writes all their letters and that.

AD: Are you on Twitter?

SD: Yes. I’m @sammytdobson and apparently somewhat controversially have the same user picture I had when I signed up six years ago.

AD: Finally, where can we see you next?

SD: This Tuesday I’m supporting Lee Kyle (an adorable man and superb comedian) at his solo show, The Ultimate Worrier, at The Stand in Newcastle. I’m also performing as part of BBC Newcastle’s Jesting About which records this weekend at the Live Theatre on the Quayside and tickets are free. Good eh?!

Lee Kyle: The Ultimate Worrier w/ Sammy Dobson, The Stand Comedy Club, Newcastle, Tuesday 7 April 2015, 8.30pm, £5,