Award-winning comedian and failed Buddhist Monk, Sam Brady, takes his comedy show, Kindness on UK tour, starting in Leicester on 22nd February. The show is inspired by a simple act of kindness, from an unexpected source at a very low point in Sam Brady’s life, which renewed his faith in human nature.
Tell us about the show you’re currently performing, ‘Kindness’.
“It’s a one man stand-up show which looks at my continuing struggle to become a kinder person and also asks why Kindness is so undervalued.”
From training as a Buddhist Monk to becoming a successful stand up. That has to be a unique career path to take?
“It’s certainly not the conventional route, I’ll grant you that. But training as a Buddhist monk does give you a very good preparation for a career in stand-up. For one thing, all those days and nights spent contemplating the essence of human nature gives you a sharp sense of the absurdity of the human condition. Also, it gets you used to having no money – which is very handy if you’re going to be a comedian.”
Do you still believe that Buddhism can work for some people and that it’s a force for good?
“Yes. You don’t have to be a monk to get something out of it, which is just as well – it’s very hard work, the hours are long and there is no pension. But I think everyone could benefit from the teachings of the Buddha. They contain an incredible amount of wisdom and insight. You don’t have to call yourself a Buddhist and you certainly don’t have to be religious. Wisdom is wisdom.”
Are people kind enough? How do you encourage people to be kinder?
“All human beings want to believe they are fundamentally good. And all of us want to be treated with kindness. And yet Kindness isn’t taken seriously somehow as an important thing to aspire to. If you say “I want to get fitter” or “I want to get richer” people accept that. But if you say “I want to get kinder” people look at you as if you’ve got two heads. So we have to get our priorities straight and stand up for kindness as something valuable and serious.
“And even a few kind words can make life a little better. Once at the Edinburgh Festival I was standing out in the rain flyering and feeling miserable. An old lady looked at my leaflet and squeezed my arm and said, “Failed Buddhist monk? Och well! Ya cannae be good at everythin!”
If you were curating a stand-up show for TV – who would be your guests?
“Simon Amstell (would be soul searching, honest, intense); Tony Law (would be wild, absurd, hilarious); Daniel Kitson (would refuse to be on the show).”