Sam Simmons has described himself as the coriander of comedy and it is an apt metaphor.
As a surrealist he’s not going to be for everyone but those who like his style find a lot to like about it, and Sam believes his new show ’26 Things You’ve Been Doing Wrong With San Simmons’, originally conceived around life hacks, is plenty of fun. It's coming to Brisbane as part of Brisbane Festival.
“It evolved into a ridiculous karaoke show and I mean there’s no [forced] audience interaction, you don’t have to sing along but people do get drunk and sing along. I didn’t mean for it to turn into that kind of show but it did and it’s heaps of fun and it has. . . Rekindled my love affair with the stage,” Sam says, with weighted dramatic pauses. Or are they comic pauses?
In everything the comedian says there is something effortlessly genuine beneath an unapologetic enthusiasm to play up to the audience. Earlier this year leading up to the show’s debut at Adelaide Fringe, Sam was open about taking a break from the stage but since starting he’s really been enjoying himself.
“You know, there’s no messages. It’s just dumb, I think I just went up my own ass for a few years so it’s just nice to be standing on stage singing stupid songs to really terrible imagery and having fun doing it and seeing the audience like that as well,” he tells.
He is certainly in a reflective mood when we chat to him after a pitch meeting for a show in the States on a rainy Sydney afternoon. Questioned about the highs and lows of his career, he does relay the old adage that it is the business of show. Yet he is clearly in a good place in his career at the moment and enjoying the tour.
Sam has a philosophy about life and the need to be silly which has informed his comic sensibilities.
“I always found the fool or the idiot a lot more honest when it comes to being a dickhead. I’m not intelligent enough to do social commentary that’s for sure and I’m not an edgelord, I did think I was for a while because I love Bill Burr so much, but I realised I’m not that,” he says.
In 2015 he won both the Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Award and the Barry Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, great success that had followed years of plying his trade, yet it had unexpected consequences.
“I got a bit lost there for a few years, I think winning Edinburgh because it was a sad show and everybody goes, 'awww sad shows' and then you’re like, 'I’m important' and you wander away and you just forget how to be an idiot. The lesser I communicate with other comedians, the better it is for me I think!” Sam jokes with typical aplomb making voices. . . But he is revealing something.
The philosophy of being silly always won out however, helped along by his daughter, with Sam telling, “The ability to relive your childhood by having a child and being an idiot is really cool and I get to do that with my baby and on stage and in real life.”
“I think the more time I spend with my daughter the more I realise how much I love what I do and I don’t have to look at anybody else and the way they’re doing it.”
With the show recently delighting New Zealand audiences, Sam is keen to get to Brisbane.
“There’s looseness and an honesty to it and I personally love the place. I just seriously love going there and I’ve never played The Tivoli so that’s super exciting. I’m not just being a dick saying I like Brisbane audiences, like I genuinely love them,” he declares.
Brisbane audiences will love him too, as he performs his latest happening success later this month.
'26 Things You've Been Doing Wrong With San Simmons' plays The Tivoli as part of Brisbane Festival from 11-12 September.