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NZ International Comedy Festival: Sam Simmons - review

Apr 27, 2014 Theatre

Sam Simmons
Herald Theatre

Saturday 26 April, 2014 

My friend has an 11-week old baby and, knowing what it’s like to be caught in that maelstrom of sleeplessness and life confusion, I thought it might be nice to invite him along to Sam Simmons’ show, give him some adult social time.

He came by my house beforehand and we drank some beer while my wife and I finished dinner. After a couple of drinks, he did quite a good, vigorous, impression of a stand-up comedian he had once seen doing an impression of Robbie Williams.

I asked him what was the most recent stand-up gig he’d been to. He said it was either Chopper Read or Danny Bhoy. I didn’t know much about Sam Simmons, but I had a strong feeling he was going to be a bit different from those two.

After the show, trying to make sense of what had just happened, I wondered if I would have found it funnier if I’d taken somebody with a greater appreciation for absurdism. Which was obviously an impossible question to answer.

Sam Simmons was such an odd guy, doing a collection of such odd things, with no apparent connection between them, that anything was possible. He had a sketchpad full of strange pictures, a spotlit pinecone on a string, a lectern from which he fired out odd, outrageous statements. The only way to deal with that was to let go and allow the absurdity to assault you. Some people can do that. Judging by the laughs last night, many did.

“I was trying really hard to figure out what the theme was,” Jedd said on the drive home. “I thought I had it, but then I realised, ‘No, that’s not it’. Then I realised there was no theme.”

People have clearly struggled to define Sam Simmons before. I’d heard him compared to characters from The Mighty Boosh and The Castle, and described as doing suburban comedy. Not only were none of those descriptors quite right, none of them were close, and it turns out trying is pointless.

Poor Jedd. I hoped he would have a fun, relaxing night out. Instead, he probably went home to a screaming baby and thought, “What a relief.”


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