Brownstein: You're Gonna Rire tonight and it won't even cost you

by Bill Brownstein

Nothing to do? Nowhere to go? Coronavirus blues bumming you out?

How about a free Sugar Sammy fix and some chuckles therapy in the process?

Sugar Sammy’s mega-hit Franglais offering You’re Gonna Rire — filmed during its extended run at L’Olympia theatre — will stream until Friday night on the comic’s Facebook page.

“Restez chez vous and take care of yourself,” Sugar Sammy has urged.

“I haven’t showered in three days, but my hands are cleaner than they’ve ever been,” he added on a Twitter post. “Don’t forget social distancing. Yes, it’s annoying, but we’re going to have great stories to tell our grandchildren.”

As is the case with pretty much most live entertainers, these have also been tough times for Sugar Sammy. He just had 10 shows cancelled that were slated to run at the Casino de Paris beginning this week and several others postponed.

Living and working in France has been, needless to say, something of a nightmare. Much as it has been throughout most of Europe and as it is fast becoming on this continent.

We can all use a few laughs now.

You’re Gonna Rire is more than a hysterical comedy spectacle. It is a classic take on the unique Montreal multi-cultural experience. Dare we say, quite the sociological experience, too.

Sammy may be occasionally lewd and crude and stoop to stereotypes. But he gets away with it. He is, after all, a Bill 101 poster boy. A child of immigrants, he attended French primary and secondary school and his mastery of the language of Molière is not questioned. He is equally comfortable performing in French as in English, not to mention in Hindi and Punjabi as well.

Like so many other Montrealers, he sees the world through a multicultural lens. And he loves it. As he points out in his show, this is the only city in the world where you will hear someone utter English, French and Greek in a single sentence.

While he embraces the richness and diversity of the city in the show, he doesn’t hold back in pointing out some of the culture shock he experienced. Such as being taken to a cabane à sucre as a kid: “I didn’t know what to do. Was I supposed to smoke that tree or stick my fingers up its trunk? … (maple sugar) is the only food I know that looks better coming out of your body than going in. And I’m Indian, so we’ve seen some horrible-looking stuff coming out.”