Nothing achieves a stronger reception in this countries’ humour pit than self-deprecating barbs, which Sam Simmons seems to be filled with. The tactic might be one employed by several comedians, but none of them handle it as well as Simmons, who utilises it to make any awkward moment, silence or bad joke somehow shine brightly.

Rather inspiringly, tonight’s title comes from that rather tiresome reviewer line; “this comedian could read the phonebook and make it funny”. Ironically, Simmons at times does read it, to slight amusement. I’d go one better and suggest Simmons can make silence funny if only to make his show next year even easier.

It’s the little jokes – such as this title choice – combined with the costume changes and puns which, when blended together with an increasingly volatile atmosphere, cause the audience to erupt with laughter. Simmons holds his timing relatively well, knowing just when to play the pity card and just when to force out the anger.

The venom with which Simmons treats himself, the audience and other stand-ups is delicious. There is, however, a slightly disjointed flow to the show, which can be spotted amidst the intentional awkward moments. The set really relies on good audience interaction, some of whom were not biting this evening. If, as suggested, the newly arrived baby Simmons’ role model is her father, she’s going to turn out to be something. God knows what, but something wonderful for sure – just like daddy.

Dominic Corr

Sam Simmons A-K, Assembly George Square Studios, Aug 16-27, 9:40pm

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