Sammy J is one of Melbourne’s finest comedians, praised for his clever songs and ditties. Heath McIvor is a brilliant Melbourne-based puppeteer/comedian whose most famous creation is Randy the purple puppet. Together, Sammy and Heath have created two musical comedy/puppet-based shows, Sammy J and the Forest of Dreams (2008) and Ricketts Lane (2010), the latter of which won one of the most prestigious comedy prizes in the world, MICF‘s Barry Award.
In addition to their collaborative shows, both men have successful solo careers. In 2010, Sammy performed at MICF, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the Melbourne Fringe Festival, plus heaps more. Heath has recently been filming a kids’ TV show, called Me & My Monsters. He plays Fiend.
I had the good fortune to see Ricketts Lane at MICF this year, as well as Sammy’s solo show Skinny Man Modern World (plus another couple dozen Sammy performances at comedy clubs… it got a bit excessive. In a really awesome way.). Although I only saw Ricketts Lane once, one of my friends saw it upwards of ten times, during a space of 3 1/2 weeks. She is a hard core Sammy fan. I don’t blame her – he is an incredibly goofy, clever, witty, genuine guy, and possibly the best storyteller in comedy. Seriously. He has a DVD coming out in February 2011, and it’ll be worth the price for his Mermaid Song alone.
It is necessary that you watch these:
Sammy J was recently on Good News Week, an Australian panel show hosted by Paul McDermott (http://www.ten.com.au/gnw – I used to be able to watch the episodes from Canada, but it doesn’t seem to work any more. Sad.). Randy also made an appearance. The following clip is probably not a great introduction to Sammy, but if you know him well, it’s a must see!
UPDATE 11/5: The Sydney Morning Herald just published this great article on Sammy J and Heath’s upcoming season at the Sydney Opera House. Well worth a read!