Simmons is an idiosyncratic performer who last night gave his hometown crowd an hour of sublime comedy that defies easy classification.
After a year of success in which he won two major stand-up awards – Best Comedy Show at Edinburgh Fringe and Best Show at Melbourne Comedy Festival – for his previous routine Spaghetti for Breakfast, he had the audience’s expectations running high. And he did not disappoint.
It is truly difficult to describe Simmons’ brand of humour; there is no one like him. Despite being a fan of his early work on Triple J with The Precise History of Things, I’d yet to catch one of his stand-up shows and I was curious about how his absurdist, philosophical view of the world would translate into a live performance. There was no way I could have foreseen what was to come.
I could tell you that Simmons opened the set by walking on to the stage with his hands taped to fake claws and proceeded to invade audience members’ comfort zones by getting them to eat from sugared doughnuts held in his mouth. I could reveal that he performed a significant part of the show dressed only in black jocks and a feather headdress. There were deer hooves, roller-skates, eagle wings and a fake penis.
But this description of the bizarre costuming really doesn’t do the show justice, as it is Simmons’ absurdist blend of non-sequitur humour, physical presence and hilarious dialogue with the audio montage that sets him apart.
He turns orthodox stand-up on its head. He gives a brief nod to standard observational humour in two brilliantly timed sections of “Big Thoughts” but the rest of his act subverts what we have come to expect from contemporary stand-up comedy.
If you want to see a unique performance that cleverly combines the absurd with the philosophical and takes the art of the non-sequitur to previously unexplored heights, then you should not miss Sam Simmons – Not a People Person.
Sam Simmons is performing until March 13 at the Corona Theatre in the Garden of Unearthly Delights.