Sugar Sammy seamlessly hits on cultural, social and political themes with great charm and finesse allowing him to connect extremely well with audiences on an international level. He treats controversial subjects with rigor and aplomb making his appeal inter-generational. Ultimately, his comedy has changed the landscape of our cultural reality by confronting language and social issues like never before in an entertaining exploration of our cultural divide. He played two sold out galas at Just For Laughs in Montreal this summer. And last summer he played outdoors at Just For Laughs – with 115,000 people in attendance.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Apt613: Hi, Sugar. Thank you so much for doing this interview and for coming to the Centrepoint Theatre in Ottawa on October 24th and 25th. How did this tour happen, when did you meet Alonzo and Gina?
Sugar Sammy: I performed with Alonzo during the JFL All Star Tour and met Gina last year and she was incredible.
I bought your album from 2008 that was recorded here in Ottawa.
Thank you for buying it! Yeah that was recorded at Absolute Comedy! That such an intimate space. I'm due for another album, I was practicing at the time getting my hour ready to do theaters. That's the best club in the city. I'm trying to gather all those clips and put them on my website.
You've reached such heights that it must be difficult to find comedians relating to the same experiences. But Alonzo is such a prolific comic, is he a guy you would ever go to for advice?
Well if Alonzo is saying ANYTHING I'm taking notes, he's done so much, he's got a wealth of experience and so does Gina. All three of us have such different life experiences and perspectives. It's such a diverse line up, I'm covering the Indian Canadian perspective, Alonzo the black man's perspective and Gina the woman and latino perspective.
You perform around the world, and you just came back from doing shows in France. Do you think you're bringing a Canadian style of comedy to these other countries?
No I think my stand-up is very much me, not necessarily a style and because of that it keeps working in all these different countries. I think the reason I succeeded is authenticity. To be who I was at the time, it wasn't some mathematical equation but just trying, everyday to be better and better. I think that's the secret.
Interesting! How would you say your stand-up has changed since 2008?
Well I haven't toured in Canada since 2010 and I miss that Canadian audience. I performed all around the world, and I matured. A performance from 2008 will be completely different from who I am now on stage. I'm really excited to show that because I really missed Canada.
Yeah in that album, you were flirting with a girl in the front row.
Hahaha, yeah now I've got a girlfriend I've been dating for four years. 9-10 years ago I was just trying to have fun but as you get older you think about what you want to leave your children, and the next generation. You don't ever want to be that sad guy at the club, usually there's two of them. Scaring everyone. Alonzo, Gina and I are all in different stages for our lives. So we'll come on stage with such different perspectives and that's what it's all about. Especially in Canada.
Have you ever gotten to perform with some of your comedic influences?
Yeah I go to open for Dave Chapelle in 2006 that was the best, we didn't speak much but he liked my material and that was enough for me. I always had a fear of meeting my idols and then finding out they're assholes. A big one is Eddie Murphy I'd love to meet him but then there's that fear!
Well thank you for doing the interview, I will see you on October the 24th at Centrepointe Theatre.
Sammy Sugar is hosting the Just For Laughs Canadian Comedy Tour at Centrepointe Theatre (101 Centrepointe Drive) from October 24–25 at 7:30pm.