By Ryan Meehan
At five feet three inches, Sue Costello may look harmless, but once she opens her mouth, it is obvious that this blonde means business – funny business. Sue has the ability to bring a room full of patrons to tears with her comedic disposition and vivacious wit. From her thick Boston accent to her street-smart demeanor to her ability to make you feel like you want to take care of her and be her best friend, Sue has the “it” factor. She has appeared on several television shows such as “NYPD Blue” and “Tough Crowd” with Colin Quinn on Comedy Central. After starring in two TV pilots for CBS, Sue earned her very own self-titled television series, “Costello.” Sue was also a producer and the co-creator of the show. Sue was a guest host on NBC’s “Later.” She has also performed on Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend.” In addition to television appearances, Sue has also honed her performing skills on the stage and the big screen. Sue was cast in such films as “Southie” starring Donnie Wahlberg and directed by John Shea, “Once in the Life” with Laurence Fishburne and “The Fighter” with Christian Bale. Sue’s already extensive resume continues to grow — she performed with Rosie Perez, Alan Cumming and Olympia Dukakis at the Nantucket Film Festival’s Storytelling event and co-starred in Jim Breuer’s pilot for Comedy Central. Her stand up reached a new level when she made it to the finals of NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Sue has also been a regular guest host on “Breuer Unleashed” on Sirius radio. She is currently performing her one-woman show, “Minus 32 Million Words”, and she’s our guest today in 5 Questions.
FOH: How’d you get your start doing comedy?
SC: I went to UMass Boston as a Theatre Major. My first role was playing a hooker. The head of the department laughed so hard at me, but it was a serious role. I always wanted to do stand up, mostly because people told me I should because they thought I was funny, but I was too terrified. I couldn’t even go to a comedy club because it was too painful for me. My friend Kevin Chapman slyly signed me up for a comedy competition at Boston’s Duck Soup. As soon as I hit the stage, I felt home.
FOH: You’ll be performing “I Wasn’t trying to be Funny” in Los Angeles June 13th thru the 16th. Could you tell us a little bit about that show? I saw a review in the Boston Metro that said you don’t use any sort of props, costumes, or music in the play, does that put a lot more pressure on you as a performer? What’s the biggest difference between “IWTTBF” and “Minus 32 Million Words”?
SC: The show is my life story, but it’s also and evolutionary tale. I bring the audience on a journey of self-discovery with my words, my acting and my body movement, not having props helps the audience focus on that. The irony is that at the end of the show, I realize that the “props aka outside things, were just keeping me from being internally strong and revealing my true self. “IWTTBF” is an evolutuon of “Minus 32 Million Words”- I went through a few different titles as the show has gotten deeper and tighter. “I Wasn’t Trying To Be Funny” is the final title and I have Enrico Colantoni directing me for this LA run, which is an amazing gift. He is one of the first people I have allowed in to give me the support that I need.
FOH: So I was watching some old school comedy clips on Youtube the other night and couldn’t help but notice that you were on the episode of “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn” where Denis Leary and Greg Giraldo got into that verbal spat over whether or not the North Korea situation could be handled peacefully. Since you were sitting there I have to ask – What was the feel of the panel like after that happened? What happened when you guys cut to commercial?
SC: Oh my gosh, first of all, I miss Greg Giraldo so much! I still hear him saying “Hey Cawstella” to me. He was a brilliant man. That night, Greg and Denis were seconds away from a fist fight, they didn’t end up fighting, but there was a lot of tension. I will tell you that when I was doing a set later that night, and someone told me that they were going to air the episode – I was shocked.
FOH: What’s the most important thing that you learned from doing “Costello” on FOX? Did anything that the critics said really get under your skin and drive you to really keep going in comedy?
SC: The most important thing I learned from doing “Costello” was that I didn’t need a lot of people around me to hold me up. I am strong enough to trust myself, and soft enough to let in the support I need. And yes, I learned not to listen to critics : good or bad. I learned to stay right sized and create what matters.
FOH: What’s the “Kadoozie Kast” and who are some of the people that participate in that show?
SC: The “Kadoozie Kast” is my podcast where I explore all humanity. I talk with my guests, who come from all walks of life, about where they come from and how they became who they are. It’s a connection that I really feel is lost in the fast paced society that we call “today”. I think people are responding to my podcast, as well as many others, because they are desperate for a human connection.
FOH: What’s next for Sue Costello in the twelve months to come? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
SC: YES!! “I Wasn’t Trying To Be Funny” – it’s in the works and it’s really big to me.
Sue’s Official Website: http://www.suecostello.com/
Sue on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/suecostello
Sue on Twitter: https://twitter.com/suecostello
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