Words by Michelle See-Tho
If you watch Sammy J perform solo for long enough, it’s easy to forget how crass his puppet counterpart, Randy (puppetry by Heath McIvor), can be.
It’s been more than a year since the two collaborated on home soil. They’ve used their time apart to separately perform live solo acts. Sammy J has also hosted the ABC’s Wednesday Night Fever.
But this year, they’ve reunited for ‘Sammy J and Randy’s Difficult First Album Tour’ at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
The show describes the duo’s tour of their first album, providing an element of meta-humour that adds depth to the story. They kick things off with a song about how they met—Sammy was a pole dancer, Randy an overzealous customer. The show moves on to cover the things the pair saw and did while promoting their album—including a disturbing number about being Swiss lovers in their past lives.
Back in the days of solo Sammy J, numbers like ‘Delete’ and the ‘Backward Song’ were typical of the baby-faced comedian, with little to no swearing as he sipped from a juice box at his piano. But there’s none of that virginal innocence in the ‘Difficult First Album Tour’. (Well, the juice box is still there, but it’s little more than a remnant of Sammy J’s Randy-less performances.)
Instead, Randy brings with him a whole lot of dirtiness. It works for the most part, especially because homophobic jokes are simple but funny, as the duo points out with a song.
However, it remains to be seen whether that song itself is just for cheap laughs or is satirical social commentary on the comedy industry.
All in all, it’s a fun show, and the contrast between sweet, boyish Sammy J and politically incorrect Randy is beyond entertaining. But anyone expecting Sammy J to maintain his innocence is sure to be disappointed.