It’s been a long time since Sammy J last graced the stage of Canberra’s Theatre Centre, but tonight (26 May) he will return for a very special show all in the name of a ‘Good Hustle’.
Tonight’s show will be the penultimate conclusion to a tour that has showcased the best characters of his recently completed ABC sketch show.
The tour kicked off at the beginning of this year with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, garnering him five star reviews and a plethora of praise. Its title is a catchphrase straight from the mouth of his character ‘Government Coach’.
“Originally I pinched it from all those AFL post-match press conferences where coaches would try to come off with this serious, philosophical vibe while talking about a ball game,” he says.
“I think traditionally it means ‘good effort’, but in my sketch show it’s been perverted into the essence of being Australian, which is getting away with stuff.
“So I like to refer to the last five years of being paid by the taxpayer to make fun of the government as the ultimate good hustle.”
Sammy says Canberran audiences can expect a full and fun hour which he’s ecstatic to perform, especially for the city he hopes to one day call home. He says Canberra is ground zero for all his fellow political nerds.
“Honestly if I didn’t have this pesky wife and children, I would move to Canberra in a heartbeat,” he laughs.
“I don’t want to say that I’m using the rest of the country as a warm up, but I will say that I expect it to be the place where I have the most fun.”
On top of the show’s packed program will be a very special feature from the Prime Minister himself, which Sammy says was especially difficult to not only organise but also convince the audience was actually real. Instead of having to forge an AI-generated video, Sammy luckily had a favour owed to him by Anthony Albanese after featuring him in a sketch six years ago when he was just a “minor Opposition member who needed some publicity”.
“I went through the official channels once he became Prime Minister, assuming he’d just say no, but he very kindly agreed to help out,” Sammy says.
“The only condition was that I stop doing my spot on the ABC so I would stop making fun of the government, which I accepted.”
The Prime Minister’s role in the show is being part of the announcement that Government Coach will be replacing Kevin Rudd as the United States ambassador, after the former prime minister does his hammy in Washington.
Along with his new role as ambassador, Sammy says Government Coach hopes to teach the people of Canberra that they should not underestimate their ability to get away with things. He says he’s willing to take suggestions but is here to float some ideas too,
“Whether that is indeed adding more roundabouts or draining Lake Burley Griffin and turning it into a skateboard ramp.”
Joining Sammy throughout the show will be his long-time writing partner and comedian friend James Render. The two met years ago sharing a similar sense of humour doing law revues at their respective universities in Melbourne and Sydney.
“His role started out with him on stage doing characters while I was changing costumes, but now he’s very much featured throughout the entire show.
“One of his characters in the show is Potato Dutton, which so far has been a clear audience favourite.”
Sammy J will be performing at 8 pm tonight, 26 May, at the Canberra theatre Centre. For more information on the show and where to find tickets, visit the Canberra Theatre Centre’s website here.