Education and legal career
Calman went to The High School of Glasgow and then went on to study law at Glasgow University, winning a Judge Brennan scholarship and a three-month stint in North Carolina working with criminals on death row. She gradually became dissatisfied with working as a specialist in freedom of information and data protection and developed her stand-up comedy during evenings, eventually giving up her job with Dundas & Wilson to develop a career in comedy.
She reached the semi-finals of the BBC New Comedy Awards in 2005 and was a finalist in the Funny Women competition in 2006. Along with the rest of the cast of Channel 4’s sketch show Blowout, she won a Scottish BAFTA in 2007, and in 2009 she was awarded the Best New Scottish Comedian at the Real Radio Variety Awards.
Calman is the daughter of Anne Wilkie and Sir Kenneth Calman, chancellor of Glasgow University and former chief medical officer for England and Scotland. She has a sister and brother.
Calman came out as a lesbian at the age of 19 and has spoken of her difficulties growing up gay in Glasgow.
- "It wasn't easy, not at all. Glasgow is a lovely city, but when I was growing up there was one lesbian bar, and there was a club for men, but there was no internet, there was no way of finding out [about other people]." After nine years together Calman and her partner (a fellow lawyer) had their civil partnership ceremony in 2012.
The Times commented that Calman's "status as a diminutive lesbian — she is 4ft 11in — gives a certain grist to her mill but, her Hobbit-like stature aside, what strikes you about her is her chirpy, optimistic level-headedness."
She was ranked number 95 in the Pink List 2012. The citation said:
- "Glaswegian Calman gave up a career in corporate law to follow the funny. Since she took the plunge in 2006, she has won Best New Comedian at the Scottish Variety Awards, and scooped Chortle's Best MC gong earlier this year. Now a regular on Radio 4 at the Edinburgh Fringe."
Based on a Wikipedia article.
- http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2010/mar/06/comedy-previews-the-guide James Kettle "This week's comedy previews" The Guardian '6 March 2010'
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00x0xqz "Susan Calman sits in" BBC Radio Scotland
- http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/stage/comedy/article6727493.ece Gillian Bowditch "Susan Calman: the lawyer who became our pint-sized new comic pin-up" The Times '26 July 2009
- http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2012/mar/03/susan-calman-saturday-interview Emine Saner "Saturday interview: comedian Susan Calman" The Guardian 3 March 2012