Sam Simmons, Edinburgh Fringe review: The Australian absurdist presents his unique take on observational comedy

A list of things that annoy the comedian makes for a laugh-a-second show

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Last year Sam Simmons was nominated for the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award for his bizarre narrative about a muesli-bar manufacturer adrift at sea on a windsurf.

This year, in Spaghetti for Breakfast, he turns his hand to something a little more rooted in reality, a little more "relatable" even, though he professes a disdain for the word – observational comedy. Or at least, as close to observational comedy as the Australian absurdist gets. This is no pedestrian stroll through funny things children say or the perils of self-service checkouts. Instead, this is an hour of surreal sketches, visual gags and one-sided cold calls - summed up by Simmons as "Things that shit [annoy] me" - in which the laughs come by the second. 

If you’ve never seen Simmons, think Harry Hill but more bonkers and out of control. The tone is set by the opening in which Simmons, dressed in dressing gown and slippers, monkish tonsure glinting in the limelight, takes his morning cereal in a variety of bizarre ways before putting on a pair of jeans in the way only he could.

I loved this show for its near constant laughs but for all its knockabout, bitty appearance, it hangs together in surprising ways. And it is stuffed with images that linger in the mind: Simmons’ rictus as he recalls “the first time you eat an olive as a child”, his concern about “all the millions of skeletons wearing suits” beneath our feet, Simmons wearing an iceberg lettuce as a hat.

The conclusion is far from knockabout and draws on a troubled childhood with the lightest of touches before deriding modern, bland man-with-a-mic stand-up. This rant is a little self-regarding - why must comedians consistently comment on their critics and audience reactions? - but after one of the most riotously enjoyable hours at the Fringe, he just about earns it. He might just steal that award yet.

Underbelly Potterow, to 30 August (0844 545 8252; www.edfringe.com)

Comments