Sam Simmons interview
Time Out Melbourne speaks to the bonkers Aussie comedian before his month-long Soho run
A Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee in 2011, Sam Simmons hits town with a new solo show. He chats to the Time Out Melbourne team.
Speaking to us from Adelaide where he's performing as part of the Fringe Festival, Sam Simmons affects the air of a somewhat jaded veteran, a journeyman who has seen it all before. 'Even in an interview, you can tell I can't be fucked,' he drawls. 'I'm not here to be all, "Hey man, what have you got for me? Fuckin' sell me baby." I'd rather just get up and do the show and let it speak for itself.'
He's got some justification. About the Weather was his ninth appearance at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and his fifth at the Edinburgh Fringe, over which time he has forged a dedicated following, won mostly by word of mouth. 'Most of the people who come in to my shows come in blind, you know. They don't know who I am, just a recommendation. But it's really cool because then they come back every year, and I continue to get big audiences. I'm kind of proud of that'
More often than not you'll see Simmons described by reviewers as a comedian of the 'surreal' or 'absurd'. It's a characterisation he's not so keen on. 'I wouldn't say it was absurd, that's just lazy journalism. I'd say it was just a bit more thought provoking than someone standing there talking about the "Biggest Loser".'
But if 'The Biggest Loser' is out, what else is there to talk about? The weather, apparently. 'The show is basically about small talk, man. It's called About the Weather, because there's a lot of subtext going on when we talk about the weather.' Other than that, he prefers not to be put in a box. 'The show is a lot like this right now,' he says, meaning this interview. 'It's a lot of small talk. That's what the theme of the show is. Putting up with stuff, especially in conversation with someone.' Ouch.
Instead, he starts quizzing the interviewer. How old are you? What comedians do you like? What was the last show you saw? Are you interested in radio production? On stage, his style has this same elusive playfulness. It's a style that veers away from straight stand-up toward something a little bit more theatrical, flexing his creative muscle.
'I love that I've got freedom to do what I do, and I'm really good at what I do,' he says, matter-of-factly. 'Comedy – it's the last great bastion for being able to stand up and say whatever you want. With stand-up you're live, with a microphone, and that's pretty powerful.'