What: Sam Simmons Is Putting Things On His Knee To Raise
Awareness For People Who Not Have Good Knees.
Where: The Spiegeltent at the Garden of Unearthly Delights
When: Thursday 11 March 9:30pm
Review by Jason Leigh
On paper, Sam Simmon’s endearing style of humour very nearly defies commonality with comedy in general. Whereas most comedy is to a great degree audience-relatable, Sam’s output is a shift sideways and is perhaps unparalleled on the current comedy circuit. His brand of absurdist apolitical agitprop stands apart, uncompromising to the extent that his unusual tangents may tend to alienate some comedy audiences.
Following on from his last show, the succinctly titled FUNT, this year he presents a show with the longest title that he has used to date, Sam Simmons Is Putting Things On His Knee To Raise Awareness For People Who Not Have Good Knees. The lead in to the show involves an anecdote about a séance and Sam being given advice by a “dead tyre magnate” before a spotlight brings attention to a car tyre hanging over the audience most likely unnoticed by most before this point. Sam then recites a list of (fake) charities before revealing his choice to endorse the Not Good Knees charity (hence the extended title). Intertwined with this overarching concept is an episodic narrative charting his encounters with celebrities of varying degrees of fame. The audience on this night appeared a little too accepting of Sam’s anecdotes even though he was quite direct as to the truthfulness of his assertions on multiple occasions throughout the show. My advice would be to not too readily take what he is saying on face value if any of it is to be believed at all with respect to the repeated statement that “one of these stories is true”.
The show was derailed a couple of times in the first half due to inattentive sections of the audience and this causes Sam to disappointedly leave the script and make a couple of unplanned forays offstage to confront the audience. In a kind of breaking of the fourth wall, he remarks that it is a media night, looks around into the audience and asks, “Who’s reviewing? Where’s your notebook. I want to tear it up”, later commenting that it was “a nightmare of a show”.
Sam is known for his use of unconventional props and this year, besides the aforementioned tyre, miscellaneous items of Spiderman merchandise are among other seemingly unrelated props used throughout the show. As a call back to last year when there was a packet of crumpets on stage, this year’s bakery product is a loaf of bread with which an audience member in the front row is tasked with making what Sam refers to as “dangerous hot toast” for the show’s finale.
At the end of the show and leading into overtime before the show is anticlimactically is called to a close, Sam invites the audience into a loose Q and A session during which someone asks where they can donate to his charity and he replies, “You already bought a ticket”. There is a comedic payoff, and perhaps an unexplored avenue of merchandising, in the revelation of the meaning of the acronym BOPSOW adorning his T shirt (not referred to at all prior to this) which could very nearly have been overlooked had it not been for someone thinking to ask about it.
In contrast to Sam’s opinion that it was “a nightmare of a show”, this was a thoroughly enjoyable experience made all the more unique by the ramshackle nature of the performance in part due to the audience on this particular night. I would say to Sam that it is not his fault if some of the audience didn’t always get it. At least on this occasion no one called you “a bald [beep]” (his words).
Season continues until Sunday 21 March 21. For tickets and information: