Sam Simmons

Sam Simmons

Australian absurdist who won the Fosters Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2015, after previous nominations in 2011 and 2014. He also won the Barry Award for the best show at the 2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
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Sam Simmons: Not A People Person on Radio 4

Preview by Steve Bennett

As you might expect from the Australian absurdist, Sam Simmons’s first foray into Radio 4 is a weird, trippy late-night experience.

Although titled after his Edinburgh comedy-award winning show, Not A People Person is a different proposition from his stand-up… and indeed from normal programming.

Not that it’s obvious from the start, as initially this seems like the genuine documentary it’s purporting to be, a bird-lover travelling the globe to track down extraordinary examples, starting with a trip to Toronto hedge to spot Margot’s Fiddle Warbler. For the first two minutes all seems straightforward, which could even hoodwink genuine birders… but then the subversion comes as a group of Italians on Vespas scare off the bird,.

Preposterous over-reaction ensues, with Simmons unloading years of pent-up frustrations only tangentially related to the current irritant in hand, like an antipodean Basil Fawlty.

His racist reaction to the Italians – for what could be more suitable fodder for an absurdist than racism? – is countered by his producer, played Henry Paker, attempting to be the voice of reason against the nonsensical diatribe. Although sometimes it’s just internal monologue that expresses these strange and outrageous thoughts. 

With Simmons’s comic persona, everything has to be a huge drama… even something as simple as catching a bus requires a call to a helpline (voiced by Sarah Kendall, a recurring part of this four-part series). This quotidian task sudden gets all the tension of Sully landing on the Hudson.

The general weirdness is well-reflected in the ephemeral soundscape, designed by Craig Schuftan, that suggests the interface of madness and sanity conveyed by Simmons’s writing. 

The payoff is a little offhand, just when you were invested, but the aural alternative reality is an engrossingly peculiar place to hang out.

Listen out, too, for comedy favourite Mike Wilmot as one of those troublesome scooter-irritants.

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Published: 28 Dec 2016

The Incident

Tired of comic plays with some sort of meaningful structure?…


Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2009

Sam Simmons: Problems

Edinburgh Fringe 2010


Sam Simmons: Fail

Edinburgh Fringe 2011

Sam Simmons: Meanwhile

Edinburgh Fringe 2012

Sam Simmons: About The Weather

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

Sam Simmons: Death of a Sails-Man

Edinburgh Fringe 2015

Sam Simmons: Spaghetti for Breakfast

Edinburgh Fringe 2016

Sam Simmons: Not a People Person

Edinburgh Fringe 2017

Sam Simmons A-K


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