Montreal comedian Sugar Sammy has conquered 32 countries, but now he’s taking his first steps in the United States in more than a decade.
He’ll play CB Live at Desert Ridge Marketplace Saturday, June 25, and Sunday, June 26. The season four judge of “La France a un Incroyable Talent” is determined to win over American audiences.
In French Canada, Sammy grew up surrounded by cultures divided by language. After seeing stand-up comedians like Eddie Murphy, he mustered the courage to try it himself at age 18.
He’s one of the rare talents who have bilingual shows. He speaks English, French, Hindi and Punjabi.
“I love the challenge of it,” he says.
“I think every opportunity I get to do comedy in different ways, in different languages and in different countries and contexts is exciting.
“It makes me a better writer and a better comedian. It makes me more informed because, rather than getting informed from a book from Spain, I get to actually immerse myself in the culture.”
He describes his comedy as honest, as opposed to a caricature.
“A lot of times, things people take for granted become wallpaper in their lives,” he says. “I like pointing things out as a foreigner. So, usually, I write down the first few things I notice and start testing out my theories on people around me.”
Sammy’s tour is dubbed “The Outsider” for a reason. Looking at America, he sees divisions similar to that in Canada.
“I think the strength comes from the differences, though,” he says.
“What you have going on in America represents what’s going on in the world. All these people think differently. The rest of the planet, everybody thinks differently. But if America was like, ‘Well, we’re able to learn about the rest of the world by learning about ourselves,’ that would give them such a big advantage.”
His observations are daring, and he’s not afraid of upsetting audiences. He sees American audiences as a playground.
“I represent both points of view,” he says.
“When people come to my shows, Democrats and Republicans love it and hate it at the same time. Everybody has good and bad.”
He subscribes to the belief that “whatever is bad for humanity is good for comedy.”
While topics like politics and race are common subjects in his stand-up, he also hits on pop culture topics like cults, Will Smith, Karens, couples therapy and personalities.
“It can be as broad and political or as pop culture as possible,” he says.
Stand-up comedians often speak about their personal lives. He reanalyzed that formula and instead puts the focus on the folks in front of him.
“Everybody is at the center of their universe,” so why not teach them to laugh at themselves?
Most of all, at his shows, Sammy encourages patrons to just have fun.
“It’s going to be a great time,” he says. “The energy in the room is great from the get-go. You can feel it. Before I even get onstage, I can feel it. People are there to laugh. It’s going to be fun, exciting and borderline offensive.
“Being a human is hard as it is. So, give yourself permission for a night where you’re able to laugh at everything, because God knows you can’t do it anywhere else right now. So come see a fun show in a safe place.”
Sugar Sammy: “The Outsider”
WHEN: 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, June 25; 7 p.m. Sunday, June 26
WHERE: CB Live, Desert Ridge Marketplace, 21001 N. Tatum Boulevard, Phoenix