Inside The Mind Of Simon Amstell

Chronic over-thinking, vests, and living in the now. The acerbic funnyman grants Esquire a peek at his internal thought process

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1| Cats
I got a cat. I liked the name Moses. He’s quite chilled for a cat. He doesn’t feel any sort of pressure to lead the Jewish people anywhere in particular. Not that I’ve noticed. He might keep it all inside; not very healthy.

2 | Dogs
There was a point when I had a dog. It’s different from a cat because with a dog you pick up its shit in public. Every time I did this, I thought to myself: surely, if anything, you should be picking up my shit. This is the problem with human beings. We have an ego idea that we are better than other animals, when all we are is different. There you go, a serious bit at the end of this story about shit.

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3| Being funny
People really only laugh about something that’s definitely about them. That’s why you have comedians who are gratuitously relatable; who make jokes that they think will make sense to as many people as possible. If you really dig away at yourself, that can happen by accident.

4 |Over thinking #1
Thinking is good, but it’s a balance problem. Thinking can only get you so far; it can’t get you to a place where you are able to love.

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5 | Over thinking #2
Is that a good answer?

6| Vests
I went to these parties. There were these guys who seemed very confident in their bodies; they all wear vests. That was my perception of everyone in there; a naturalness, that they weren’t trying. Of course they were. Those vests were chosen very carefully. But to me they seemed like people who could take off their vests at any time and throw themselves into the hot tubs. I don’t drink either, so that makes it hard to live.

7 | Ways of dealing with the absurdity of life
Have I ever drunk alcohol? When I was 18 in nightclub in Essex and there seemed no other way of resolving the situation.

8| Living in the now
Last time on my stand up show, I came to the idea of acceptance; but this time I came to a different idea. What I realised is that it [life] is not a puzzle that needs to be solved. There’s this idea in Zen Buddhism: “just this”.

9| The problems associated with the living in the now
The word now has become very cheap, don’t you think? All this pressure for now. You can’t just wander around shouting the word “now” in your head.

10| Simon Amstell
I’m not very good at talking about things that aren’t about me.

11| Over thinking #3

Is this the worst thing in the world you ever heard from another human being?

Simon Amstell: Numb is out now on BBC Worldwide DVD

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