An Evening With Sammy J & Randy (London)

By Ron Bingham
Sammy J and Randy

A skinny man and a foul-mouthed purple puppet, Sammy J and Randy are a rude and riotous musical comedy duo with a big history in Australian comedy. They’ve staged hugely successful narrative shows in various festivals, covered political issues both on stage and television, won The Barry Award (named for Barry Humphries) at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and have created and starred in their own sitcom (Sammy J & Randy in Ricketts Lane). They are currently on tour in the UK and I was excited to see them perform in London.

The Mix is a huge white tent in Russell Square Gardens with half of the interior taken up by a stage which was so massive you’d need a full orchestra to fill the space, so a small covered table (Randy’s hut) and Sammy J’s keyboard were completely overwhelmed. Sammy J described the tent as like being inside a huge marshmallow. Basically the space was entirely unsuitable for a comedy duo, they did the best they could but the venue really didn’t help to create atmosphere. Oh and the stage was over a foot off the ground and the audience were all on those little folding chairs on flat ground, so looking up the entire time as well.

Not the best circumstances for the debut appearance of Sammy J & Randy in London, but they managed to keep the audience entertained and please their fans. It might be surprising to think that they have so many fans at their first London show but as they learned in a little quiz near the end, their fame has preceded them. About half the audience claimed to have seen their TV series on Netflix. The part of the audience who were new to them were a little nervous at first (what with all the jet-lagged abuse of the audience, general swearing and saucy dance numbers) but you could feel them getting into the joyfully unhinged, anarchic show fairly quickly.

In the past Sammy J and Randy have done shows with plots, but this was more like a Best Of show and thus is a great introduction to their work for Londoners. There was no real structure as such, apart from the songs, most of it was about being in London, problems they had getting through customs, not knowing local cultural references and bickering. I felt sorry for one particular audience member who had an unexpected cameo late in the show but looking back, you can see the crafty set-up, and at the same time, appreciate that it led to a great surprise finish.

The hilarious songs (including ‘When Sammy met Randy’, ‘Metaphor Off’/ ‘Love Song’, ‘Sammy J and Randyland’) and demented interplay were well executed and the hour flew by, with the audience giving a rousing extended ovation at the finish. If you’re new to Sammy J & Randy, I can only describe their songs as being of the twisted love and betrayal genre, with a lot of quite intricate wordplay (some of which was sadly lost due to the booming sound system drowning out the lyrics at times). There was a little romance on stage, as well as a Titanic-style dance move and some wacky props. One of the highlights of the show had to do with their CDs. Apparently when coming through customs, Sammy J forgot to say the 400 CDs in his case were for “promotional purposes” and instead he jet-laggedly said “they’re to sell at gigs” and thus they were (almost) all confiscated. An extra reason to spend some money and support their UK shows (or watch them on Netflix – or both).

Sammy J and Randy’s shows are not for the kids, the easily offended or the faint of heart (especially considering the theme of the final uproarious number), but if you want a hour of friendly filth and hilarity then why not end your lovely sunny Saturday in London at Russell Gardens having your funny bone “tickled”.

An Evening With Sammy J & Randy is being performed in London as part of the Just For Laughs Festival (July 20-23), Yorkshire (July 25-27) and Dublin (July 29 & 30).
Visit for booking details