Sheffield boys “Sam & Tom!” are just taking their first steps into the world as a comedy duo, but they’ve got an impressive history behind them. Formerly of Staple/face, the group won ‘So You Think That’s Funny?’ Best New Sketch Act 2013 and earned critical acclaim across the board. Now Sam Nicoresti and Tom Burgess have regrouped to create more anarchic sketch comedy and silliness, as well as running a brand new night in Sheffield hosting sketch, characters, music and film. We chatted to one half of the whole, Sam, about what to expect…
How would you describe your style?
Sketch comedy without the sketches, most of the time. We like playing characters on the edge, who feel like they’re constantly about to come crashing down, and often do. That bit in 2001 [A Space Odyssey] when Bowman goes through the Star-gate and becomes the star-child, that’d be the goal of a gig. It’s fun to come on incredibly strong and manic, and then let it all fail within about 5 seconds and sort of shrug and suggest it’s the audience’s fault.
How did you get into comedy?
We both started in a sketch group at University (Sheffield, not Oxbridge. We’re still middle-class, white and cis-gendered male, but we’re slightly underachieving and know what a bread-cake is, so we’re practically working-class heroes). I did my first ever comedy gig when I was about 13 at a Youth Theatre cabaret night. They’d rented out a proper theatre space, and me and my mate came on and threw cream pies everywhere. I don’t remember there being much else to the joke. It killed. Best gig. Tom wrote a funny Geography presentation when he was 12. I have it on my laptop. I have all of Tom’s 12-year-old period stuff. I stole it off a dongle. He doesn’t know.
How did you form as a sketch group?
We had a friendship, and then we slowly allowed that to solidify into a business. I do it with all my friendships, it’s just neater and easier to handle. If I’m falling out with my friends I can just fire them. That way no one gets hurt as you can say, ‘It’s just business. Please act more professionally in the office (car).”
Who are your comedy influences?
Tim & Eric, David Liebe Hart, Lee & Herring, Vic & Bob, David Lynch, John Baker, Cowards. Done. NEXT QUESTION.
What’s the last thing that made you laugh out loud?
Last night one of us wrote a line for a business presentation we’re working on about being cuckolded by Barry Chuckle. But that’s egotistical so before then it was probably Twin Peaks. I’m showing Tom Twin Peaks at the moment and we laugh a lot at that. The writing is just so neat, and the comedy so perfectly judged. Maybe it’s not meant to be funny, I don’t know. We laugh loads at it though.
Which one of you would win in a fight?
Me, no question. There just isn’t a question here so I don’t know why you’ve asked. Let me tell you. I grew up in Birmingham, I had a miserable adolescence. Ill-directed rage, recklessness, drink, a willingness to self-destruct. I set fire to a shed once. I’ve seen a man literally drink himself to death. Tom grew up in Frome, Somerset and still tells people about the time someone in Year 2 pushed him into a coat rack. You can tell he’s still not got over it because the guy got shot 12 years later and Tom was glad. He’s such a twig it actually makes me angry just thinking about how useless he is.
Catch Sam & Tom! and their errant exclamation mark at Boondoggle, their regular night in Sheffield running every other month at Dada Bar. The first outing on the 21st October features comedy from Gein’s Family Giftshop and Peter Brush, plus music from John T. Angle & The Spirit Levels. More details can be found here.
See more of what the boys are about on their inexplicably hilarious Youtube channel here: