Sammy J

Sammy J

Musical comedian Sammy J dropped out of a law course at Melbourne university to pursue a career in comedy; and in 2006 won the best newcomer award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

In 2008, he first joined forces with puppeteer Heath McIvor on the musical Sammy J and the Forest of Dreams", which was nominated for the Barry award in Melbourne before going on to runs in London and at the Edinburgh Fringe. They have collaborated on two more shows since then, winning the Barry for their first follow-up, Ricketts Lane, in 2010.

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I will say this only once...

Sammy J on his one-night Fringe run

As any fellow comic knows, doing a full festival season is a taxing affair. The mind is crushed, the body suffers, relationships are destroyed, and one’s career generally goes backwards.

Knowing this, I’ve decided to conduct an experiment this year and condense my entire 2014 Edinburgh Fringe season into just one show. I’ll be arriving direct from Melbourne 12 hours before my show starts, performing for 58 minutes, then calling it quits. Below is a brief summary of the expected benefits of my short season.

1. REVIEWERS

This year, reviewers can say what they like about my show. I will not be around to read it, and I will not have to suffer the hideous, burning shame that comes from knowing my colleagues and audience members have probably also read it, and are taking pleasure in my suffering.

2. RESPECT FOR MY AUDIENCE

Contrary to popular opinion, doing more than one show is actually inherently lazy. It allows the performer to accept a bad show as just 'part of the run, and encourages dangerous ideas like 'improving over the season'.

That’s fine for the comedian, but what about the audience member who’s hired a babysitter and paid for parking, only to learn that they’ve purchased a lottery ticket and may or may not be seeing the performer on a 'good night'? Only my show can guarantee the audience the respect they deserve. I will have no second chances.

3. HEALTH

I have lost count of the number of nights I have spent stumbling over the cobbles, clasping a half-eaten Aberdeen Angus Beef Burger in my hand, and exposing my flaccid, unwashed penis to fellow pedestrians - only to wake up hung-over and face the horrible task of performing to an audience for a full hour.

The traditional collapse of one’s immune system in the third week of the Fringe is a direct result of the stress that extended seasons put on our bodies. This year, I will eat burgers and expose myself without the pressure of a show to perform, and my immune system will thank me.

4. AWARDS

Whispers of judges in the audience; the sniff of nominations; rumours of 'long lists'; rankings on review aggregate websites; I’ll be having none of it. Better still, being ineligible for any awards will enable me to entertain the delusion that my show would definitely have won something but for the overly restrictive guidelines that demand the artist performs more than once. I will be sure to push this angle to anybody who cares to listen, and lodge a formal complaint once nominations are announced.

5. CONVERSATION

In the absence of an answer to the daily question: 'How did your show go last night?' I will be arriving in town with a variety of alternative conversation topics designed to entertain and delight those I spend time with.

Topics will range from humorous reflections on the role of the monarchy, to in-depth analysis of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. If anything, I expect my casual social chats will take on their own legendary status.

If you would like to chat to me during the Fringe, just look for me outside the Udderbelly. I’ll be the blonde guy eating a burger with his fly undone.

Please book in early to avoid disappointment, and remember - if our conversation leaves you underwhelmed, you can always come back and find me the following day. You may have just got me on a bad night.

• The Sammy J Songbook takes place at 22:50 at Udderbelly Bristo Square on August 1 only. Tickets.

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Published: 11 Jul 2014

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