My Perfect Console with Simon Parkin


Susan Calman, comic, writer, presenter.

Ep. 11

My guest today is a Scottish comedian, television presenter and writer. While studying law at the University of Glasgow, she spent three months in North Carolina working with criminals on death row. After she graduated, she became a corporate lawyer, and soon started performing as a stand-up in the evenings. After seven years, she left the legal profession behind to become a full time comic, winning the Best New Scottish Comedian at the Real Radio Variety Awards in 2009.

Since then she has become a fixture on British television and radio, a regular guest on Radio 4 panel shows The News Quiz and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. In 2018 she was honoured by the University of Glasgow for her work in broadcasting as well as her campaigning on issues related to LGBT rights and mental health.

“A lot of comics of my generation play games,” she once said. “To me it’s a bigger issue than gaming: it’s the art direction, it’s the music, it’s the expression. It’s more than just some guys in their pants shooting things.” Welcome, Susan Calman.

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  • 24. Tom Bissell, scriptwriter, Gears of War, Star Wars: Andor.

    My guest today is an award-winning author, journalist and writer for film, television, and video games. After graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in English literature, he travelled to Uzbekistan as a volunteer for the Peace Corps. He then returned to New York where he worked as author and editor, reporting on the Iraq war for Harper's Magazine and contributing literary criticism to The New York Times Book Review. A keen thinker on video games, in 2010 he published Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter, a book that included a dissection of his experiences playing Grand Theft Auto IV while abusing cocaine. His 2013 book, The Disaster Artist, was turned into an Oscar-nominated feature film directed by James Franco, and his short story Aral inspired Werner Herzog's 2016 film Salt and Fire. My guest has also written for video games such as The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Uncharted 4, and Gears of War 5, and in 2021 he co-developed the Apple TV series The Mosquito Coast, based on the Paul Theroux novel of the same title. Recently he wrote three episodes for the second season of Star Wars: Andor, due to air in 2024. Welcome, Tom Bissell.
  • 23. Sooz Kempner, Comedian.

    My guest today is an English actress, pianist, singer and award-winning stand-up comedian. Born into a showbiz dynasty – the family dog appeared in an advertisment for Nissan, and their cat, Boris, played Jonesy in Aliens – she moved to Ayia Napa to work as a Christina Aguilera tribute act. After she returned to England she began a post-graduate course at Royal College of Music, performing stand-up in her spare time. In 2010 she graduated from the RCM and promptly won Best Newcomer at the Musical Comedy Awards. Since then, she has toured extensively, performed eight solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe and launched two hit podcasts, Mystery on the Rocks, a true crime and cocktails comedy show and the UK's official podcast for the rock group Queen. A born performer and talented mimic, her impressions of Liza Minnelli, Nadine Dorries and Liz Truss routinely go viral online. She is currently touring the UK with her latest show, titled PlayStation – a nostalgic look back at growing up through the nineties. Welcome Sooz Kempner.
  • 22. Kelsey Lewin, co-director Video Game History Foundation.

    My guest today is co-director of the Video Game History Foundation, the non-profit dedicated to preserving, celebrating, and teaching the history of video games. In 2017, after graduating college, my guest helped curate an Atari-themed pop-up exhibition at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. Two years later Game Informer enlisted her as a volunteer to digitize the magazine’s entire archive at its Minnesota headquarters. After five weeks of intense work, she became the Video Game History Foundation’s co-director. Described by the New Yorker magazine as “compact and laser focussed”, since then she has sifted through thousands of old documents, discs, magazines, and prototypes in an effort to rescue the video game medium’s history from oblivion. “Once institutions can see that putting effort and funding behind video game preservation in a useful, sustainable way is possible — I think they’ll do it,” she recently wrote.  “We’re working on it, but the work is just beginning.” Welcome, Kelsey Lewin.
  • 21. Danny Pudi, actor, Community.

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  • 16. Dan Vecchitto, creator of Trombone Champ.

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