Chaos can manifest itself in some unbelievable ways. It is theorised that small events can develop quickly to large cases of mayhem: a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon can cause a hurricane in New York.
As Sam Simmons (17 March) climbed over audience members, sweating and wearing nothing but a pair of briefs with a wobbling novelty dildo hanging out of them, he told a gentleman discomforted by the phallus dangling in his face to “embrace the chaos”. In that one off-the-cuff line, Simmons summarised his comedy.
The chaos within his latest show, ‘Not A People Person’, is a wild ride you can’t help but want to be a part of. Performing comedy for over a decade, and last year winning the major comedy awards in both Melbourne and Edinburgh (a fact he reminded one confused audience member to reassure her he’s “really good at this”), Simmons returns with a larger profile, with many casual stand-up fans completely unaware of what to expect.
It would’ve been clear to audiences before the show started that this wasn’t Wil Anderson, as Simmons wandered outside the tent wearing a martial arts robe, yelling if anyone had seen “fucking Dan”.
Thanks to Simmons’ exceptional skills as a performer, the audience embraces the silliness they are witnessing, even when Simmons orders them not to laugh at any of his odd displays.
With a backdrop of a laundry line and a pram filled with props, Simmons goes from one surreal sketch to another with a strange mix of volatility and glee. The show opens with Simmons in his martial arts robe receiving hilariously strange instructions from a pre-recorded voice. From there, Simmons elicits raptures of laughter from the audience by showing how small ideas can create bizarre results.
Simmons may have kept pointing out that the show wasn’t going well, but he hilariously proved himself wrong with his sketches and pre-recorded conversations (most of which were about birds) which made the shambles he created appear to be an illusion.
With all of these completely random trains of thought, Simmons showed why he has earned awards and respect by unveiling at the end that they did serve a purpose and have a common theme.
One unexpected incident involved an obviously drunk audience member heckling throughout the beginning of the show. It isn’t often one sees a heckler at a festival show, but apparently it was Dave’s day off, so we were in for a treat.
Before security came to take him away, Simmons was able to show Dave’s idiocy. Dave tried to state his case, but the audience wouldn’t allow for this heckler to continue his disruption, much to Simmons’ surprise due to his hostility towards the audience (a hostility that may explain this show’s title).
The incident actually fit quite well in with Simmons’ motto of “embracing the chaos”, and the audience certainly followed him down his rabbit hole willingly.
Leave all expectations of what a stand-up comedian is and embrace the adventure brought to you by a hilariously odd mind.
Sam Simmons performs as part of the Brisbane Comedy Festival until 20 March.