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Ahead of his forthcoming London residency Simmons embarked on a tour of the US and Canada, where he smashed it out of the park as the closing act at Sarah Silverman’s Comedy Gala in Montreal alongside Canadian Graham Clark, San Franciscan Emily Heller and Philadelphian Todd Glass. The gigs in the land of the free, though, have proved particularly revelatory for Simmons. 

“It’s kind of incredible,” he says of his recent shows in America. “I think the States is where I will most likely ‘break through’. They are so into it, it’s been mind blowing – I couldn’t be happier. 

“In Australia, I’m a weirdo,” he adds. “In the UK, I’m a colonist ‘trying’ to be absurd and emulate the Brits, but in the States I am just me. I know that sounds kinda negative, but they don’t have a cultural cringe or a sporting rivalry – they just enjoy who you are.”

Trivia, which Simmons took to the Adelaide Fringe this year, follows Simmons’ first TV show, Problems, which aired on the ABC in November. The mash-up of sketch comedy and sitcom was shot through with Simmons’ frenetic take on the world – he plays Sam alongside his pet cat Mr Meowgi, which is in fact Ronny Chieng in a cat suit – as they try to solve a suburban problem in each of the four episodes.

“ABC wanted to commission a sketch show,” he says. But, as you can imagine, in Simmons’ hands, Problems is far from your average sketch comedy.

“I think sketch kinda sucks,” he says, “but we pitched it anyway, and won. Then Declan Faye (head writer) and I wrote like maniacs during Edinburgh 2012 in a shared house with a faux goth, a Nineties shock ‘I’m gay! Can you deal with it?!’ guy and a chiselled Aussie with a six-pack so hard you could scrub virgin sheets on it.

“We fought each other and survived extreme jet lag to make something that ‘resembled’ a sketch show yet remained true to our comedy morals, and what we came up with was one of the weirdest, most unique things to screen on Oz telly in years. 

“I’m incredibly proud of it and my punk cast of soon-to-be-superstars [which includes Claudia O’Doherty, Chieng and David Quirk]. I reckon one day people will look back on Problems and go, ‘Oh shit, that was really amazing.’” 

In our humble opinion, it is, and so is Simmons. If you’ve not caught him yet then don’t miss out this time as his mission to bring a little – or rather, a whole heap – of silliness to our lives continues. 

Sam Simmons: Shitty Trivia. Soho Theatre. 
Aug 12-24. £10  21 Dean Street, W1D 3NE  
Tube | Tottenham Court Road  
sohotheatre.com

 

Photos: Vincent Taylor; Shotgun Pictures


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Interview - Sam Simmons: The Aussie comedian and former Triple J presenter on his new oddball comedy show Shitty Trivia
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