Review – Sammy J: Potentially!
Comedy shows have framing devices. It’s a fact of life: you need something to bookend your show, a big revelatory note on which you can end the night, to show you’re a human being and not just a joke machine. Depending on how good your artisan is at their craft, you might get an intricately spun, multilayered story – or just an awkward shunt back to the start at the end of the show.
Skinny songster and sillyman Sammy J has spun the comedy wheel of fortune and hit “potential” for his framing device. Not who you are, who you could’ve been, but for the grace of Sod.
Sammy J is usually attached (not in the literal sense) to his partner in rhyme, the penisesque purple puppet Randy, but here, he’s alone. And it works – a lot better than expected. It’s not immediately apparent when you seem them together, but they have very different comic stylings – Randy is a brutal, naturalistic comedian, riffing off the audience, but Sammy J spins a more reflective and heartfelt narrative.
The story Sammy tells touches you in a lot of different ways – it tickles the funny bone, tugs at the heartstrings and makes you feel awkward in a way that only a counsellor with an anatomically correct doll can understand.
And then, out of the blue, everything in the story makes sense – the framing device is going somewhere, means something; it isn’t just an excuse for a bunch of cheap jokes and a marketing plan. It’s artfully done; even if you know the reveal is coming (and you have to be fairly genre-blind to not know), it still sneaks up and surprises you. It’s wonderfully funny and worth the price of admission.