Daniel Simonsen makes for an unlikely comedian. It’s as though the Swedish Chef won Best Newcomer at Edinburgh with a set about despair. Except that Simonsen is Norwegian and definitely not a muppet, but we think the analogy stands.
He focuses on the minutiae of life, particularly those terrible interior monologues where you doubt who you are, what you’re doing and everything you stand for, but without ever getting bogged down in philosophy. The more we think about it, it’s terribly clever; a routine about saying hello too early in the street hints at deep existential angst without veering into ‘hey guys, I’ve read Kierkegaard’. (Note: we haven’t read Kierkegaard either, we just Wikipedia’d it for this review.) If you like Simon Amstell’s current stuff but find it a bit too naval-gazing, you’ll love Daniel Simonsen – who supported Amstell on his Numb tour.
It could be fair comment to suggest that some of the observational comedy might not be so amusing without the deadpan Norwegian accent. But you’ve got to work with what you have, right? And if you happen to have a voice that makes the word ‘outgoing’ hiccupingly funny to British ears, you should get that into your set as much as possible. Which happens. Excellent.
Daniel Simonsen is at the Soho Theatre, Dean Street, W1. Extra dates have been added 15-17 February, 7.15pm, £12.50 / £10. For more information see the Soho Theatre website. We saw this show on a press ticket.