Revelation or Repetition?: Sugar Sammy at South Asia Stand-Up at York University

Posting an article that I wrote last year in November after my encounter with South Asian stand-up comic, Sugar Sammy. It was published by South Asian Generation Next on 26th November 2009.

Going to a stand up comedy show for my twenty fourth birthday, I was très excited. I have been to Yuk Yuk’s several times, and have even caught a show of The Second City. However, this was going to be different. It was a desi show. The headliner was Sugar Sammy, an Indo-Canadian from Montreal, whose face I had seen plastered all over York University for the past month. A good looking insolent visage challenging the viewer to come catch his show. Very cheeky and in your face.

sanch1

Organized by USAY (United South Asians at York), the show on 17th November was packed and nearly sold out. Expectations were high. I wasn’t surprised to see many women there, especially since famous gorgeous guys draw girls like flies to garbage, and in this case, it was very sexy comedian. Good looks and a sense of humour. You get the picture.

I was also waiting breathlessly for Sugar Sammy to appear. I had heard much praise from my sister who had caught bits of his act on YouTube. But since he was the headliner for the evening, his appearance was reserved for the last part of the show.

The show started later than its scheduled time, but the acts following up to Sugar Sammy more than made up for the delay. First to come was Dave Meherje, followed by Vidur Kapur and Massimo. All of them had their distinct style ands their shockingly funny acts added more to the anticipation of the upcoming headliner. 

Finally, it was time for THE Sugar Sammy, who arrived late and made the MC, Peter Kash, sweat a little since he ran out of his poorly timed jokes.

What a disappointment. Not the MC, but the headliner.

I expected more from this good looking “funny” guy whose claim to fame is his ability to reach out to audiences in four different languages- English, French, Punjabi and Hindi. Most of his jokes were to do with the audience. They might have been funny if we had been able to hear him properly. In his eagerness to pick on others, he kept putting the mike away from his face. His jokes- the few he cracked- were outdated and predictable. He seemed more of a Russell Peters rip off, even though he declares to draw inspiration from Dave Chappelle, Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock. The building up of expectation that the former comedians had worked at fizzled out little by little as my disappointment with Sugar Sammy set in. I was bored and kept looking at the watch. I found him gimmicky and just a good looking poster boy who was good at strutting on the stage and killing time.

But what went wrong? Surely, he was having a bad day. His past successes point at a comedian who is not only talented but in high demand all over the world. After all, he just won the 2009 COCA (Canadian Organization for College Activities) Award for Best Comedian AND has a huge fan following all over the world. So, what really went wrong? My guess: either he has let too much fame get to his head (like our very own Sonu Nigam) or he just tailors his show according to his audience. Perhaps, he felt York University didn’t deserve a good show. Or, maybe, the standards of taste have really gone down within the past year. What ever it is, that’s the last time I pay $10 to go watch Sugar Sammy.

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2 Comments

Filed under anecdote, event

2 responses to “Revelation or Repetition?: Sugar Sammy at South Asia Stand-Up at York University

  1. Sammy was probably having an off day. Judging by what I’ve seen of his clips on Youtube, he can be brilliant when he is on song. He does come off as very similar to Russell Peters, but that’s almost inevitable for any comedian who is (a) desi and (b) into joking about race and culture.

    • In regards to youtube videos, that’s what my sister thought before she purchased the tickets to the show (and I have mentioned this in the post/article as well). But off day or not, he put me off of him for good.

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