Fringe Review: Sam Simmons - A-K

Words by Samuel McDonough

 I have never enjoyed being called “an Offspring watching cunt” so much before in my life.

 My expectations for Sam Simmons are always high. His shows are so consistently islands of inventive brilliance in the sea of inane TV celebrity shows and under-prepared Melbournians practicing for their hopeful TV appearance during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival; so that they too can eventually come back and do a TV celebrity show *cough Garden of Unearthly Delights cough*. After seeing A-K, my expectations for next year remain just as high.

The Corona Theatre was filled to about three quarters capacity this Tuesday night and with people of a surprisingly older demographic. I was apprehensive as to how that might affect the show. Sam begins the show dressed as Pagliaccio, belting out a soprano operatic number I didn’t recognise, though Sam’s version included the word nipples (a recurring and fundamental motif of the show) probably a few too many times to be a true an accurate rendition of anything. At the conclusion of his opening act he introduces himself in the same high pitch of his performance, explaining that his larynx was lacerated by a rogue five cent piece that he was carrying in his mouth while holding his stunner meal from HJ’s (the stunner meal is also an important piece of symbolism). He’s lying of course, but he puts it on for a damn long time, perhaps a little too long. It’s annoying before it’s funny.

That dishonesty kind of typifies the kind of faux resentment Sam isn’t afraid to show towards an audience. Sam puts on high energy, technically proficient shows and works off the audience to know when material is working. Unfortunately, this was a traditional Adelaide Tuesday night crowd and they didn’t give him the response he was looking for every time. He called us out on it, “I got five stars in Edinburgh” and “you’d probably all prefer to be at home watching Married at First Sight wouldn’t you, you fuckheads”, Sam then proceeded to talk about Sunday nights episode and how much he enjoyed it. Bizarrely, it was while being chastised that the audience gave him the biggest laugh.

 The show is loosely about the recent birth of his daughter and the fear and anxiety associated with bringing somebody into this world of ours. Though you would be forgiven for not realising that right away as he mimes and old man eating an ice-cream in the Colonnades Shopping Centre and playing badminton with a member of the audience before a loving embrace. That’s how Sam has always been, barely in control of a narrative as his imagination keeps permeating any semblance of logical plot, making it seem he only just knows what he’s doing. Cruskit Delivery Man, country dogs with spotty hard-ons humping the wind, you’ll hear almost anything that enters his mind. And yet, in the final ten minutes he drags so much of it all together to make it known to the us that this is  planned. Like the high-pitched voice at the start, it’s all a joke on the audience.

The name of this show came from one critic saying Sam could read the phone book and it would be funny (which he does, and it is). Sam Simmons is one of the, if not the, most interesting, stand-up comedians our country has ever produced. I just wish the “Offspring watching cunts” gave him a little more recognition.

Catch Sam Simmons' A-K before Fringe is over. Tickets via FringeTix