Simon Taylor on ‘Happy Times’ and the wisdom of growing up
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Simon Taylor on ‘Happy Times’ and the wisdom of growing up

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Simon Taylor has become a staple at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with his 2018 show, Happy Times, marking his eighth year performing.

Simon is well and truly a “real comedian”, having established himself as one of Australia’s sharpest and wittiest performers. Based out of New York currently, Simon has had plenty of time to hone his delivery with his latest show, performing it around the world in lead up to this year’s festival.

“I actually started making this show in New York,” he says. “So I’ve been performing it in New York, LA, and then in Perth, Adelaide and now here in Melbourne, so it’s actually been around the globe already. What’s funny to people in Australia is funny to someone in Singapore and Malaysia and Hong Kong and Europe and America. It’s a real gift to be able to connect with people using jokes and gags.”

Simon’s comedy has a rare quality to it. He captivates his audiences with his unique and personal brand of comedic storytelling – something he has finely tuned over the years. “I’ve always really enjoyed telling stories, so every year my stories have kind of gotten bigger and bigger,” he says.

Starting off as smaller, more self-contained stories, S Simon has developed his comedic yarns into masterful cautionary tales of sorts.

“It’s grown and grown. Last year it was a 30-minute story and this year the show is a 45-minute story. It’s all one story pretty much. I’m wrapped with that. It was kind of my goal this year to just tell one long story.”

This year’s show, Happy Times, is about the hilarious mess that erupted when Simon was recently told he might be becoming a dad. However, in typical form, the show is about so much more than the possibility of impending fatherhood.

“It’s about this strange shift I’ve had now that I’ve turned 30. I get to talk about my 20s like I was an idiot, because I was in my 20s, even though it was only a couple of months ago. There’s this beauty in getting older and it doesn’t necessarily change anything, but you get to pretend it does. It’s a nice excuse to start behaving a little more responsibly so this show is about something stupid I did in my 20s and I’m making it sound like I’ve learnt so much now that I’m 30 even though I make the same mistakes.”

While being a somewhat satirical reflection on past mistakes, the show’s title Happy Times is far from ironic. “In the show, I talk about the happiest moment I’ve ever experienced in my life,” says Taylor. “And what’s interesting is that it comes at a time when all sorts of madness and confusion are happening all around potential fatherhood. So it was this little gem of a human moment amongst all the mess. The hilarious mess.  It’s a cautionary tale of ‘don’t do what I did’. It’s not a ‘let me tell you what to do’ [story]. You can say a wise phrase but following it is a very different situation. It’s been a running theme throughout my comedy.”

Venues: Trades Hall – The Quilt Room, Trades Hall – The Music Room

Dates: Thursday April 29 – Sunday April 22 (bar Wednesdays)

Tickets: $22 – $29