Hello, I'm Simon Amstell. You may like to come and see my stand-up show “What Is This?” in New York this summer. And today I'm on Reddit answering questions.

What Is This? NYC Tickets: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/989461

PROOF https://imgur.com/a/6dD2bpJ

UPDATE: Thank you for your time and your questions. I'm going to sleep now.

Thank you.

Comments: 191 • Responses: 39  • Date: 

timminiguy40 karma

Did you miss Bill Bailey when he left buzzcocks?

Simon_Amstell46 karma

Very much so. In fact Phil and I did a small dance to express our grief.

axehomeless26 karma

You once said you want a partner that is like you, but much better. Which means that are looking for somebody that looks for someone like himself, but much worse.

Any advice for the people of whom that statement speaks to?

Simon_Amstell44 karma

Raise your self esteem immediately! You are beautiful, you are enough, you will be dead soon.

zavvee20 karma

I saw your fringe show and was quite upset when at the end you asked the audience if they wanted to ask you anything and all they did was ask questions about Donny Tourette. Does it anger you that people don't appreciate that you have moved on in your career or does it give you pride that moments like that on Buzzcocks still give people such joy?

Simon_Amstell22 karma


Daibhy19 karma

Is there any scope for a third series of Grandma's House? Or even a one-off special?

Simon_Amstell34 karma

I guess something like that could be possible but we ended it when I felt like I had healed my childhood.

SomeWhippet11 karma

How do you encourage yourself when you're nervous or afraid - and what makes you feel such things?

Simon_Amstell48 karma

I try to remember that the fear of doing something is not as painful as the regret of never having done anything.

mturner19937 karma

Can you believe how popular never mind the buzzcocks was due to your presenting? Like, did you ever realise how good you were (as others will attest to). I think Preston will go down as one of the best ever moments on television.

Simon_Amstell11 karma

Thank you. We tried to make it as funny and eventful as possible but I think my insecurity in that role led to me working very hard to make it as good as it was.

cheaplistplzhunzo5 karma

Simon, hearing you speak about your journey through ayahuasca and general self enlightenment was pretty helpful to me at a point in London last year. I mean I haven't fallen in love with any trees yet but still.

Anyway - how is life for you now on a daily basis? Are you having an existential crisis more or less often than ten years ago.

Apologies if this is phrased weirdly, I've had four pints.

Simon_Amstell7 karma

Ha ha. Much less often but as well as the profound effects of ayahuasca I also had to figure out some kind of daily spiritual practice, which for me seems to be jumping around in my living room when I wake up every morning listening to music on wireless headphones.

SomeWhippet5 karma

Are there any comedians that you like?

Simon_Amstell31 karma

Yes. My favourite at the moment is John Mulaney who I did a show with a few years ago in Texas. I recently watched a lot of his recent stuff on YouTube and fell deeply in love with him.

haterobics5 karma

I love Carnage, but it's hard to tell people about it in the U.S., since there is nowhere for them to see it. Any future distribution plans for it over here? Somewhat related: What are your favorite vegan restaurants in NYC?

Simon_Amstell5 karma

We are hoping to arrange a screening of Carnage, possibly in Brooklyn whilst I’m at Theatre80 in June but this is not in any way confirmed. My favourite restaurant was Angelica’s Kitchen but I hear it isn’t there anymore so maybe The Caravan of Dreams?

PurpleComet4 karma

Hi Simon, I discovered your comedy through your hilarious appearance on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. I'm sure I'm not the only person for whom that's true. While I'm planning to go to one of your NYC shows, have you considered touring across the US?


Simon_Amstell7 karma

It would be easier for me if you could come to New York but let me talk to the people in charge.

SomeWhippet3 karma

What do you think happens after death?

Simon_Amstell23 karma

I think the question that you would have to answer first would be, who is this experience happening to? It feels likely that after death everything that we identify as the self isn’t there anymore. So I don’t know?

SomeWhippet3 karma

What's your favourite film?

Simon_Amstell22 karma

It feels a bit too soon to say but ‘Call Me By Your Name’ definitely went straight into my top 5.

paradisekiss_3 karma

Was there a recording of your third and fourth stand ups? I loved your first two but I missed those! (May be able to see What is this in August tho, fingers crossed!)

Simon_Amstell17 karma

My plan is to combine the last two shows into some kind of brilliant recording.

albieco3 karma

At what point did you get comfortable being so emotionally open on stage, and how did you decide that was what you wanted to talk about?

Simon_Amstell23 karma

Magic mushrooms helped. Also if you say the thing that you are most ashamed of out loud it stops being scary.

Neilfeelgoood3 karma

Did you ever think that your movie carnage would have such a massive impact?

Simon_Amstell31 karma

The night after Carnage was broadcast I was at a dinner party with 2 people who were telling me they loved every moment of it and they were eating the legs of a dead chicken. So I feel some of the impact is still to come.

SomeWhippet3 karma

Do you keep a journal?

Simon_Amstell7 karma

No, but I do the ‘morning pages’ as suggested in the book ‘The Artists Way’.

zavvee2 karma

When you get up in the morning, do you look at yourself in the mirror and say "Lemar, you are one fine piece of man"?

Simon_Amstell3 karma

I think this may be a reference to Popworld?

bendinstraws2 karma

How's your dating life??

Simon_Amstell13 karma

I am in a relationship and it seems to be going quite well.

baronzaterdag2 karma

There seems to be a real split between your earlier television work (Popworld/Buzzcocks) and your (later/taped) stand-up shows/later television work in terms of style and subject matter. I never got to see your early stand-up work, so I can't really speak to that. Was Popworld/Buzzcocks an anomaly or was there really a point where you changed things up? Either way, why? What caused the anomaly or change-up?

Simon_Amstell8 karma

I think it might just be a case of people being very different depending on who they are with, or the situation they are in at the time. Also I often have some kind of life changing therapy so that may be it.

NinjaGoaty2 karma

What was your favourite ever Buzzcocks moment?

Simon_Amstell11 karma

I can’t think of one but I had a lovely time.

SomeWhippet2 karma

What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?

Simon_Amstell9 karma


tallshiips2 karma

What is the film or book which has had the greatest effect on you / your way of thinking / your worldview?

Simon_Amstell6 karma

It’s not a film or a book but can I say Oprah?

baronzaterdag2 karma

What's your process when writing a stand-up show?

Simon_Amstell4 karma

I go in front of a small audience who haven’t paid very much so I’m free to fail over and over again until I say something funny or interesting.

Bonez13262 karma

Are you happy?

Simon_Amstell24 karma

Yes, but I think happy isn’t the point. I think it is joy and there can be joy in sadness and fury and all the other feelings that make it so much fun to be alive.

withnasu2 karma

What do u even do with folk that watch Carnage then somehow conclude it's pro-meat?

Simon_Amstell13 karma

Eat them?

fullmetalneedle2 karma

My boyfriend will go gay for you and stephen fry. Should I be worried?

Simon_Amstell15 karma

No, there is nothing to worry about. But maybe these binary descriptions are holding us back. Everyone is queer. You are queer. I am queer. Your boyfriend is queer. Good luck with everything.

8bitnitwit1 karma

What was it like growing up in Gants Hill?

Simon_Amstell11 karma

Pretty great until puberty and then perhaps not ideal being a young man who couldn’t stop thinking about Leonardo Di Caprio.

NaomiAlicia1 karma

Hey Simon. I went vegan a couple of years back (loving it!). What was the driving force behind your lifestyle change, and did making that change have a big influence on your work/life/approach to comedy?

Simon_Amstell7 karma

I stopped eating animals after a holiday in Thailand where I felt drawn to Buddhism specifically a monk on a plane who seemed calm. Then around 6 years ago I stopped drinking or eating anything that had come out of an animal. The entitlement of human beings to imprison and torture non human animals seemed so absurd that it started making its way into the stand up and eventually led to the film Carnage, and now everyone is vegan.

paradisekiss_1 karma

Between all the different things that you have done what are you most proud of?

Simon_Amstell4 karma

So far I think it’s probably getting into show business in the first place, which feels like quite a thing for my 13 year old self to have achieved. Then probably everything else, particularly the very personal stuff that has connected with people and Carnage which served some greater purpose beyond my own need to show off.

Lemongrassteapo1 karma

Is there any other genres/fields you would like to span out into besides writing, stand-up, and juggling?

Simon_Amstell4 karma

I just finished directing my first feature film so I would like to do more of that.

mowpiper331 karma

1.When will benjamin be released? 2.Will What is This be filmed?

Simon_Amstell3 karma

I don’t know the answer to either of these questions yet but please ask again in two months.

SomeWhippet1 karma

What makes you laugh?

Simon_Amstell5 karma

Anything true.

SomeWhippet1 karma

What's something you've learned recently that you wish you knew earlier?

Simon_Amstell11 karma

That I’m very attractive.

SomeWhippet1 karma

Any favourite visual artist/painter?

Simon_Amstell1 karma

I am a big fan of Ed Fornieles.

haterobics1 karma

Curious how you view the differences between US and UK comedians, especially as most UK comics (at least the ones that make it over here) seem to have a specific, tuned show.. whereas the US ones seem to have less of a structure, and more ability to swap things in and out at will? (unless of course that characterization is completely erroneous)

Simon_Amstell7 karma

That sounds like it might be true. But there are a lot of comedians in the UK who are not very good at structure. I just saw Hassan Minhaj’s special on Netflix which was structured beautifully.

GingerNana1 karma

Watching you has brought much joy in my life...what brings you joy?

Simon_Amstell7 karma

Dancing, intimacy, sex, fun.

awesomespacewoman1 karma

What was it like reading through old stand up shows to select excerpts for your book?

Simon_Amstell6 karma

It was funny, painful and quite time consuming.

krisannisup1 karma

Do you still wish for fan letters?

Simon_Amstell4 karma

No but I don’t mind them.

ElenaDay0 karma

Hi Simon. I've been a vegan for three months now after watching Carnage so thank you for that.

I wanted to know what your favourite thing about New York is? I went last year and found the 9/11 Museum fascinating. Hope you enjoy your time out there!

Elena :) x

Simon_Amstell1 karma

I like the High Line and MOMA and that everything looks like a film.