Belfast Telegraph

Simon Amstell danced naked like ‘an absolute lunatic’ in jungle drug ritual

The stand-up, 39, recently took part in an ayahuasca ceremony.

Simon Amstell (Ian West/PA)
Simon Amstell (Ian West/PA)

By Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter

Simon Amstell has said he stripped naked and danced around like “an absolute lunatic” during an ayahuasca ceremony in the jungle.

The comedian, best known as the face of Popworld and Never Mind The Buzzcocks, said the ritual, in which he drank the powerful psychedelic drug, helped him let go of his shame around sex and nudity.

Amstell, 39, first travelled to Peru to drink the bitter, dark-coloured brew seven years ago and said his most recent trip had left him “ever freer”.

He told PA that the shamans overseeing the ritual had found his antics “very amusing”.

Amstell said: “What’s funny is that I drank ayahuasca seven years ago but when I wrote the show and performed the show before drinking it again recently, and I was really set free in the jungle like a month ago.

“And now I’m ever freer.”

He added: “I guess I’ll end up doing a new show about some of that stuff, but yeah, I let go of a lot of absurd insecurities and it was great.

“Stuff I didn’t even know was there, a lot of shame that I didn’t even know was still there. Everything: sex, nudity.

“I ended up in a ceremony, taking all my clothes off, and dancing like an absolute lunatic. And the shamans found it very amusing.

They waited, they didn't laugh at the time, but the next morning when I saw them, they laughed and pointed Simon Amstell

“They waited, they didn’t laugh at the time, but the next morning when I saw them, they laughed and pointed.

“But luckily the ceremony had freed me of shame, so I was fine.”

Amstell’s latest stand-up special, Set Free, sees the comic explore his own psyche in front of a live audience at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London.

He said he had been unshackled from his younger narcissistic self, saying: “I think I’m over it now. I think I’ve let that guy go a bit more – I’ve set myself free from him.”

Amstell also said he hoped his new show would readdress how emotionally closed off the British public had become.

“It’s only the truth, it’s not oversharing from my perspective,” he said.

“For me, in this country, we don’t overshare, we under-share. And so all I’m doing is readdressing the balance.

“It’s just sharing, it’s just telling the truth. And my boyfriend, thankfully, is also really into the truth, because it’s freed us both.”

Set Free airs on Netflix on August 20. His film Benjamin is available on DVD now.

PA

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