Sam Simmons: Spaghetti for Breakfast
One in the eye for critics of this absurdist Aussie as he unleashes a blistering new show
This article is from 2015.
Olives are not for everyone. Sam Simmons reckons that when you first pop one in your mouth, those taste buds are certain to recoil in disgust. But eventually your palate warms to the little fellas’ delights and that fixed, determined opinion will soften. It’s a thinly veiled metaphor for the effect Simmons’ comedy can have on some observers. As someone who has previously failed to see the Aussie absurdist’s appeal (it all seemed a bit Harry Hill-lite), I’m perfectly happy to say that he was won me over with the Barry Award-winning Spaghetti for Breakfast.
The unhinged peculiarity seems more engineered now towards producing laughs than raw daftness for its own sake, with his amusing faux fury at audience members who don’t play ball with his gags or close-up banter less a personal attack than mere punctuation to move onto the next idiosyncratic routine or curious pronouncement.
Simmons’ wilful nonsense doesn’t simply float aimlessly in the air, like the extension cord which he eventually brings into play (this show is another of his typically prop-heavy Fringe affairs). Serious issues underlie the hysteria such as the cruelty which he experienced at the hands of his mother (her bizarre ‘loving’ methods are the damaging acts of perhaps the first true surrealist he ever met). This has led him to conclude that her off-kilter parenting ‘skills’ pretty much shaped the comic we see before us.
Meanwhile, a recurring recorded voice-over from Josie Long delivers potent heckles aimed at his lack of ‘relatable’ comedy. Initially he takes this to heart but eventually wholly dismisses the notion: he’s going to do things his own way rather than add to the plethora of mainstream comedy fodder. To paraphrase the hour’s central running motif, things ‘that shit’ long-term critics of Sam Simmons will include hearing his acolytes saying ‘told you so’.
Underbelly Potterrow, 0844 545 8252, until 30 Aug (not 17, 24), 9pm, £12.50–£14 (£11.50–£12.50).