Sydney Comedy Festival – Ryan Sim

by | Mar 6, 2024

How would you describe the show to someone who knows very little about it?

I’m trying to bring the energy of punk rock into this show. It’s high energy, fun, and a little bit dark at times. It’s what happens when the spirit of DIY falls into the hands of a “Silly Billy.”

What sets your show apart from others appearing at this year’s SCF, and why should audiences see it?

I don’t belong to an agency – no one came to me and asked me to do this show, so it’s literally just what I think is funny. I have no interest in ever being on Australian TV (not that they’d ever want me), and I see that as freedom. There’s a lot of cool, underground, diverse comedians in Australia that people have probably never heard of, and I hope I fit into that niche.

What about your show are you most proud of?

Just adhering to the process. When I finished my festival run last year, I was like, “Ok, time to write a new hour before May.” And I have! I’m not sure exactly what it will be until I perform it, but for me, what I’m proud of is the work.

Who or what was the inspiration for the show?

I think there’s numerous sources of inspiration, but I guess the thing I keep coming back to is my time in the underground music scene. The energy of those live shows, the fact it was such a small group of people but it meant so much. Those scenes tend to be very earnest and self-serious, so I’m interested to see if I can take that energy into comedy and provide the same sort of release.

How long was the process from idea to writing to stage? Any challenges along the way?

It’s been pretty much 12 months. The main challenge is the deadline. My first hour was basically a collation of my best jokes from the first 5-ish years of doing comedy. This show had to be all new, so I didn’t have the luxury of moving on from an idea that didn’t work the first few times. I really had to knuckle down and figure out what I had in front of me and make it work. And it all works! Which is great for both me and the audience!

What attracts you to comedy and how long have you been involved?

I started comedy at the end of 2016 in Brisbane. What attracted me to it was how these people could express such idiosyncrasies of character in such universal ways. Whenever a comic articulated something that existed inside my head that I didn’t have the words for, those were the moments I went, “I wish I could do this.” It didn’t just make me laugh and bring joy, it made me feel less alone.

Who would you say have been your biggest inspirations?

So much to work through here. I grew up with Eddie Murphy and Dave Chappelle DVDs, then when I was older I would go see Josh Thomas for free every Sunday at the Brisbane Powerhouse. When I was in bands, we’d play comedy albums in the tour van, driving late at night. I remember being shown Aziz Ansari and John Mulaney back then. A little bit later I got obsessed with watching Late Night sets from various comics on YouTube. This all brought me to comedians like Marc Maron and Maria Bamford (who people called “alt comedy” at the time) and those guys really changed everything for me – I think that was the last straw and really pushed me to try it myself.

What are three things that would surprise people to learn about you?

  1. I’m actually a pretty cool guy. 2. I’ve never done cocaine. 3. I love The Crown.

What comes after the SCF for you?

Working on next year’s show & hoping I have enough money to take it interstate this time!

Ryan Sim – Factory Theatre Wednesday 8 May & Friday 10 May

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