Sugar Sammy: ‘You have to go there'
by Joel Rubinoff

Sugar Sammy pushes people's buttons to get the laughs.

As standup comedians go, Sugar Sammy is huge.

The bilingual show he played for four years in Montreal boasted 421 sold-out performances, sold 372,000 tickets and made him the bestselling artist with a one-man show in the history of la belle province.

He's had an HBO Canada comedy special, a francophone TV show ("Ces gars-là"), hosted the "Just For Laughs Comedy Tour" twice and performed 1,500 shows in 29 countries in English, French, Hindi, Punjabi and, occasionally, a combination of all four.

He's a legend, a groundbreaker, a multicultural ambassador and harbinger of things to come.

And yet, I've never heard of him. Jeez, how is this possible?

"I guess I'm a household name to some, but not to others," the laid back 41-year-old tells me over the phone from a tour stop in Ottawa.

"Back in the day you had three channels, five radio stations and two newspapers, and that's where you'd get your culture and information.

Now everything is so fragmented because there are so many channels and outlets.

"There are stars you hear about that you're like 'Oh, this guy has 16 million followers, but I don't know what this guy is.'"

He laughs. "I've been doing it for 20 years. I like the fact I've been growing slowly."