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Susie Slapstick 

Cable-TV star takes time out for some stand-up in Cleveland.

Susie Essman is a rare breed of comedian. As a novice, she aspired to be as funny on TV as Lily Tomlin and Carol Burnett. Then someone "forced" her into winging her first stand-up bit. "I was like, 'Wow! This is really cool," says Essman, who's in Cleveland this weekend for four shows. "I'd never even been in a comedy club before I actually did stand-up."Today, she juggles touring and her role as Susie Greene on HBO's largely unscripted Curb Your Enthusiasm, in which each episode is improvised from a seven-page outline. "There'll be a paragraph that says this happens in this scene. Then we just start doing it," she says. "Curb is pure joy to do."But don't confuse her with the Greene character if you pass her on the street; they're nothing alike. "She's a real caricature that I created. She's angry and much more one-dimensional and very reactive," says Essman. "Susie Essman is much more an intellectual than Susie Greene, although I do have that level of anger onstage." Essman takes the mic at 7:30 and 10:15 p.m. today and tomorrow at Hilarities, 2035 East Fourth Street. Tickets are $28 to $30. Call 216-241-7425 or visit
Feb. 1-2, 7:30 & 10:15 p.m., 2008

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