Sammy Sessions

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Sammy Sessions – Life of the party, and inset, Sammy when he’s NOT working

Artist Profile: Sammy Sessions

By Aaron Webb

I was asked by a friend recently to organise some unusual entertainment for an upcoming party he was having at his place in St Kilda. (Apparently I’m the guy who’s got the right combination of a warped sense of humour and the network to realise it.) As it was July 14, Bastille Day, he had decided that he wanted the theme of the party to be ‘French 1920’s brothel’. He suggested a burlesque dancer.

I respond to his request by booking his burlesque dancer, and, to add some left-field colour… a dwarf.

My friend is slightly uncomfortable about this, saying he’s not sure how people will respond. I callously disregard his concerns and go ahead anyway. An industry acquaintance hooks me up by referring a fellow they’ve hired before, Sammy, and we’re away.

I check out his website and am thrilled by what I see. Sammy has costumed shots from various different gigs he’s done, and they all have one thing in common: everyone’s got huge, genuine smiles on their faces. Looks promising, my friend might be able to relax a bit.

I ring up and ask Sammy if he’s free on the night we need him. He confirms he is, and then asks what we want out of the time. My callous bravado disappears instantaneously, and is replaced by fear of an impending political correctness train wreck. “Err… Just for you to be there… I’m not sure… What would you suggest?”

Sammy senses my awkwardness and, laughing, tells me to relax. He says he’s been asked to entertain in some very odd ways before, so nothing I can suggest is going to offend him. He suggests wearing a period outfit, and roving the party, introducing himself to guest as the butler for the evening, informing them that if they find themselves short of a drink and need a little help in locating another, he’d be delighted to oblige them in as small a time as possible. I am in hysterics, as well as feeling more than a bit guilty, and book him immediately.

Smash hit. He entertains the guests throughout the night with jokes, photo ops, MCing and “surprise shots” and generally ensures everyone’s having a great time. I start to see real art in what he’s about, and later that night ask him if he’d be keen to be the subject of this piece.

We meet for a coffee a few days later, and I get the personal side of his story. Sam is 24 years old. He was born in South Korea, and was adopted by his Australian parents at around two years old. Growing up predominantly in the Mornington Peninsula, he moved up to town shortly after finishing high school and has been here since.

I ask about the elephant in the room – the actual medical condition that results in dwarfism. He tells me that the condition he has is called Achondroplasia, and it’s not a lot of fun. Sam’s had six spinal surgeries to straighten his torso, a hip realignment, neck surgery, and several operations on different limbs to limit pain associated with growing. He stresses at this point that he doesn’t want to me to focus on this and turn it into a sob story. It doesn’t worry him overly, and therefore it shouldn’t worry anyone else, either. I move on to the more social aspects of growing up as a dwarf.

“Oh yeah, I copped a bit of shit in high school. All the usual jokes, but I really didn’t give a toss. I had a good bunch of mates at school, and that was what mattered. Occasionally still, some smarty-pants will shout something out when I’m on the street, but I just enjoy it these days. Every now and again, I’ll hear something really funny…”

So how did he get into entertaining?

“I was having a drink at the Vineyard and was offered a glassy job by the manager of a bar in King St. I worked there for about three months, before literally being picked up by a fat, bald and very warped Englishman who owned a bar across the road. This fellow, who also goes by the moniker “Captain F–kface” decided immediately that he simply must have me as entertainment in his establishment. He even went to the extent of paying my outstanding wages, so he could get me dancing on the bar that night!”

After kicking off at that first bar, where he danced on the bar and offered people lay-backs (the punter lays back on the bar and Sammy fills their mouth with Jaeger or something similar) he hasn’t looked back.

He’s now worked at 20 odd bars in the city, as well as buck’s, hen’s and corporate gigs. He’s yet to crack the Film and TV scene, but is working on it as we speak (So if there are any casting agents out there…) He was on Sixty Minutes as a teenager, and recently appeared on ACA.

AW: “OK Sam, I’ve been dying to ask: what are some of the weird things you’ve been asked to do?”

SS: “It’s not the actual gigs that are weird, it’s some of the stuff I’ve been asked to wear.

AW: Like?

SS: “Tarzan, Oompaloompa, elf, elephant, a little banana outfit, etc. (You can see a full range of shots of these on his website: One of the weirder requests was to wear a nappy, bonnet and dummy, and sit in a high chair at the end of a bar slamming my fist demanding service, and chucking tantrums no matter how quick the bar staff were. I still work for that first guy, the fat warped Englishman, and he seems to have no end of depraved ideas.”

I ask him about his perspective on the art of entertaining. “For me, it’s capturing the crowd’s attention and making them feel that it’s ok to have a laugh, I’m having a laugh with them. I also like being able to offer something unusual or different, and broaden the horizons of the audience’s perception of entertainment. It becomes a bit of an educational experience for them, too.”

AW: “So what philosophy do you live by then?”

SS: “Use what you got, and play to your strengths. Surround yourself with good people; don’t let negative people hold you back. And above all, think big!”

You can reach Sammy at: ,, or on the phone: 0416 504 633.

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