‘That was the most accessible part of the show,’ says Sam Simmons, just a few minutes in. ‘It’s been and gone. We’re now heading in to the “no refunds” section.’
Indeed, Simmons’s brand of absurdist lunacy is unlikely to ever bag him a spot on ‘Live at the Apollo’ and, in ‘Spaghetti for Breakfast’, he’s conflicted about whether to please himself or his audience. Should he pander to a disgruntled recorded heckler (voiced by Josie Long) and make his nonsense more relatable? Or should he follow his heart, place an iceberg lettuce leaf over his bald patch, and sing a jingle about Laurence Fishburne?
Thankfully, he chooses the latter. But, despite his snootiness about relatable, observational comedy, ‘Spaghetti for Breakfast’ is probably Simmons’s most accessible show.
That’s partly due to its theme: life’s little annoyances, or ‘things that shit me’ in Simmons speak. The Aussie absurdist’s minute irritations – untangling extension cords, dropping toast butter side down, people who don’t take off their bike helmets in shops – are masked in silliness, but are often – dare I say it? – relatable. But Simmons also allows us to glimpse behind his surrealist guise, and sneaks in an underlying truth about why his comedy’s so fucked up. Suddenly everything has an emotional attachment, but the sentiment’s never overplayed, nor does he expect sympathy, and it doesn’t detract from his relentless, seemingly random list of frustrations.
Nothing is quite as arbitrary as it seems, though. What appear to be throwaway non-sequiturs are actually set-ups for later punchlines, and metaphors behind props and visual gags only become clear as the show edges towards its climax. This really is Simmons at the top of his game: exhaustingly funny, daft and truly daring. No one’s asking for a refund tonight.