Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Monty Python-inspired Australian Sam Simmons wins comedy award with 'very silly' show

Past stars have been called on to invest in new talent

Veronica Lee
Sunday 30 August 2015 10:57
Comments
Sam Simmonds had twice been nominated for the prize previously
Sam Simmonds had twice been nominated for the prize previously

Australian comic Sam Simmons won the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award yesterday for his absurdist show Spaghetti for Breakfast.

Simmons, 38, from Adelaide, had twice before been nominated for the £10,000 prize and said he didn’t expect to win from a shortlist of eight, a record field for the award. His madcap comedy isn’t for everyone, he said, as he revealed there have been several walkouts during the run.

Among the lunacy – including at one point shredding a lettuce to fashion a makeshift hat – there’s a serious side to the show, in which Simmons explains how he “became this weird”, growing up feeling like an outsider and enthralled by British comedy including Monty Python and The Goodies. “It’s very silly but there’s dark stuff in there too,” he said.

Simmons was presented with the award by former England cricket star Andrew Flintoff, who has been performing his own comedy show at the Fringe for the first time. Flintoff said that he felt very at home in the capital of Scotland, “this cricket powerhouse nation”, as it was full of “pissed people walking the streets with plastic glasses”.

The newcomer award, worth £5,000, went to 26-year-old Danish stand-up Sofie Hagen, from Copenhagen, for her highly personal show recalling her teenage years as a fan of Irish boy band Westlife, as well as her battles with depression over her body image.

Hagen now lives in London, where she said she is better able to pursue her career “as comedy is 20 years behind you guys” back home.

The panel of judges, chaired this year by Sky’s head of comedy Lucy Lumsden, awarded the prize for the person “who embodies the spirit of the Fringe” to Karen Koren, celebrating 30 years as artistic director of the Gilded Balloon.

Her venue operates on a shoestring, she said, and this year she lost sponsorship for “So You Think You’re Funny?”, an award for newcomers. She called on those comics who made their name at the Fringe in the 1980s and 90s, and have since become millionaires through television and film work, to invest in new talent.

Ms Koren was unwilling to mention any wealthy Fringe alumni by name, but among those who first performed at her venue, some in its notorious and hugely popular “Late ’n’ Live” slot, are Steve Coogan, Alan Carr and Michael McIntyre.

The Fringe is predicting a record year for ticket sales, despite it coinciding with the International Festival for the first time in 18 years. Good weather in Edinburgh is helping to boost attendances.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in