For almost twenty years, Victorian comedian Sammy J jetted into Adelaide, alone or with purple puppet partner Randy, when the summer parklands were alive with festival season. This year, the stage performer turned TV star and ABC breakfast radio host arrives with his colourful collection of characters in winter and is heading slightly further eastwards to the Norwood Concert Hall for his Good Hustle live show.
In 2020, following his success on ABC TV with songs and sketches such as Playground Politics, comedian Sammy J transitioned to hosting Melbourne breakfast radio for the public broadcaster. Despite being in the public eye for two decades, the shift to radio marked Sammy’s first foray into being himself in front of an audience.
“I have spent my whole career hiding behind characters in different ways, whether it was through Sammy J and Randy or the TV stuff or just in songs. Radio, because it started when COVID hit, I was talking to people at home who were scared and unsure about what was happening, and it really forced me to be myself and be a full human which I think has been really rewarding thing”, Sammy says.
“It’s been really liberating. Five years ago, or ten years ago, I wouldn’t have had a chat with you like this, to be honest. I would have been much more cagey about my personal life or how I felt about my career. I was just really wanting to push the work that I was doing and that was it. Now it’s actually nice to talk about my job and the challenges of it and the pride I take in it and the fact that I work hard on it. In the past I would have thought that they were lame or uncool to discuss”, Sammy continues.
With his Good Hustle tour, Sammy will still don the array of masks that he has worked hard on crafting, but he will also reveal his true face at times too.
“I’m turning forty this year so I’m no longer jumping around like a twenty-year-old looking for the cheap laugh; it’s more about what is the shared experience that we’ve all had and what can we reflect on. In the stage show that I’m touring, it’s a lot of stupidity and costumes and characters but it’s also me as myself talking on stage as well and the songs are also based around personal things as well”, Sammy says.
While Sammy was absent from Fringe this year, he hopes his fans will come and see him out of season for some winter warming laughs.
“Adelaide Fringe has been a huge part of my career and I did miss not being there but performing out of season does allow me to play at venues I’ve never been before so playing at the Norwood Concert Hall, that’s really exciting. It’s also a test of the audience because if people want to see me outside of Fringe, that means I can do more shows and tour at different times of year,” Sammy says.
Sammy J’s Good Hustle plays the Norwood Concert Hall on 20th of May.