1. You are the second Singaporean comic to do an Edinburgh Fringe Festival show. Well done to you sir! What was this experience like?
It was difficult. Unlike most other major comedy scenes like the UK /Australia/USA, longer spots are much harder to come by here, especially in a city where you’re not a big star or have an established fan base. I spent a lot of my time in the Singapore comedy scene in booker or hosting positions, and while rewarding in their own way, meant my own level of recognition or fame was and still is not as big as some of the other comics, who have poured their time soley into their craft and career. I decided to pick up my bags and tour the show. I brought it out to Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand, working on the show with some difficulty, but by the time I brought it to Edinburgh, it was a lovely hour, and by the time I brought it back home, it was great.
2. Edinburgh Fringe Festival was canceled due to COVID-19, how did it affect you?
Not only was I planning to head back to Edinburgh this year, I had already put down the money for the festival registration fees, as well as paid for photoshoots, poster designs, and other assets, to help not just my advertising, but also the fantastic freelancers in Singapore. I was also contacted and had agreed to be part of the team on a well-received Edinburgh late-night show, which I was excited for as I love new challenges and I also loved the team. Alas, that means I am currently out of pocket for a bunch of projects I now have to wait a year to see if I can even go back there, with no certainties, but I’m glad I was able to contract the freelances and I was lucky to have even be offered that position.
3. That's a positive outlook! Tell us a bit about the show you were going to do this year? When we are allowed out again, do you think you might perform it in Singapore?
The name of the show was ‘Jack of the Road’, a play on the title of the song, ‘King of the Road’. It was a departure from my normal stand-up style to a more story-focused performance, involving audience interaction, a peek behind the performer curtain, and truth I’ve never really told a live audience before about life on the road as a traveling comedian. I would definitely love to perform it again when out of lockdown, hopefully, sooner than later.
4. You were on TV and then you were not. What happened there?
I’m not going to bore you with the details, most of the stories or questions about the show I have already laid bare, either in interviews or on stage as material, but suffice to say we said a few things that made Malaysia very cross with us, so we had to go. I learned a lot about that program and now I relish any chance I have to get back in front of a camera, it’s a new skill I learned and did not perfect and I want to return to sharpen the steel on it.
5. You've played a number of roles at The Merry Lion and helped turn it into what it is today. Thus, I can say with confidence, you are well educated, extremely intelligent, and capable... So on behalf of all the sensible humans reading this, why don't you get a real job?
Nah, I wouldn’t last a day in the ‘real world’, I was built for chaos, mistakes, calming drunkards, and being one myself. You can’t expect a fish to climb a tree, some folks were just made to do the weird shit.
6. Share with us one of the best gigs and one of the worst gigs of your life so far.
I don’t try to remember the best gigs, one of my faults, always looking ahead and never spending enough time to appreciate what I have. Worst gigs? Plenty of stories. Most of them in ‘Jack of the Road’, but one I recall was performing in an ice cream parlor with so few audience members that the hum of the ice cream fridges was the loudest thing in the room.
7. What life lessons have you learned?
Folks are a lot dumber than you think. Everyone believes that people are inherently good and evil, and the things they do have all been planned out. Honestly, we’re all just stumbling about, and most of the time actions are down without too much thought or purpose, so best to accept the chaos, move on and find the better side of people.
8. What are you working on now and what would you love to do most in comedy? Yeh what is the ultimate pinnacle of achievement for you?
I’m currently running three Livestream shows a week over at my Facebook page, two weekly quiz panel shows, and a wrestling RPG. Currently, I’d like to do more stuff in the States, I have a number of friends and contacts there, and I must admit the American Dream has always been so alluring, although currently, the situation seems like that dream has got to be on hold for a while. Honestly, what I’d like to do is have a tv show that allows me to make a comfortable salary, have time to tour and do comedy and still have time for friends and loved ones. Yet somehow, compared to dreams of international stardom, or comedy superiority, or riches untold, mine seems to be the most unattainable goal.
9. You, more than anyone, have been involved in making the comedy club work. I know it wasn’t all champagne and tickles so do you think it has been worth it?
Regardless of whether we make it out of this or not, the friends and experiences I cannot ignore nor forget, so yes. Would I do it all again? Not for free next time.
10. How are you handling corona lockdown and what do you look forward to most?
I’m working harder than ever and making sure I spend more time for myself and my friends. I think the first thing I’d like to do when this is all said and done is travel the world to do comedy, hug my friends and get some decent conveyor belt sushi.
You can catch Sam See perform at The Merry Lion once we re-open after corona leaves town or you can catch one of his online comedy shows here, https://www.facebook.com/mrsamsee/