After five years, 200 episodes and countless legal threats Sammy J is stepping away from his weekly ABC TV spot – but not before throwing a giant farewell party.
Come and farewell Government Coach, Playground Politics, National Yoga, bush poet SJ Paterson, Hookturnistan and more as we say “full credit” to taking the piss on the national broadcaster. Get around them, Australia. Good hustle.
Read on as Sammy J talks comedy, inspirations, touring and more.
– How would you describe this show to someone who knows very little about it
An hour of sketch comedy, with a focus on Australian politics and society, but also featuring a grown man dressed as a potato. So, you know, it’s pretty accessible.
– What makes it stand out and why should people see it
There are 15 characters, 5 songs, too many moustaches, and a whole room full of people joining in “Baby Boomer Yoga”. So it’s not just comedy, it’s good for your spiritual health too.
– How long was the process form idea to writing to stage – Any challenges along the way
The show came together quite swiftly, which was probably a result of my three minute sketches on ABC – we’ve spent the last five years turning around a sketch with very little notice. Basically if one of us laughs at an idea, we put it into the script and try not to question it too much.
– What attracts you to comedy and particularly satire
From a creative perspective I think comedy is one of the purest art forms – there’s nothing between the performer and the audience when you’re on stage, it’s just an exchange of ideas and stupidity. Satire, for me, is using society and politics as the ingredients in the ongoing quest for original jokes.
– what, for you, is the power of satire
Comedy is often about in-jokes – whether it’s with your friends, your family, or an audience – so satire is often speaking to people with shared interests in the news or current affairs, and that creates a kind of secret club. There’s also something special about taking the piss out of those in power, which comedy has always done, and which is outlawed in some countries – so it’s a fine Australian tradition.
– Who would you say have been your biggest inspirations
The Simpsons, Lano and Woodley, and Frontline – put them in a blender and you’ve got my sense of humour.
– What are three things that would surprise people to learn about you
I don’t eat meat, I enjoy kayaking, and I once worked as a male escort for several high profile businesswomen.
– What are you most looking forward to on your tour with “Good Hustle”
It’s hideously sincere but I can’t wait to visit some of the cities that I haven’t been to since pre-pandemic – and see the audiences again. There’s nothing like live comedy and it was brutal to have that torn away from us for so long.
– What will you miss the most about stepping away from your ABC TV role and what are you looking forward to
I’ll miss the adrenalin of having to come up with an idea every week based on the news, but I’m looking forward to some creative space and a chance to plan new projects.
Sammy J is a comedian, writer, composer and broadcaster. He’s played in Edinburgh, Montreal and London; had a sitcom on Netflix; is one half of the man/puppet comedy duo Sammy J & Randy and currently hosts the breakfast show on ABC Radio Melbourne. His debut book, The Long Class Goodnight, is out now through Hardie Grant and his ARIA-nominated show Symphony in J Minor is streaming on Paramount+
SYDNEY COMEDY FESTIVAL
5:15pm, Saturday 30th April & Sunday 1st May