Sugar Sammy makes comedy look good. He is enjoying the success back home in Montreal and around the world
The name Sugar Sammy stuck when he was in university. “I would throw parties to make some money on the side and I would let the girls in for free, because the thumb rule of any party is that if the girls come the guys will pay anything to come. It was the girls who started calling me Sugar Sammy, and it’s a catchy name,” says the stand up comedian who was in Bangalore for a show.
In 1984, when Sugar Sammy was still an eight-year-old Samir Khullar and was watching an entirely inappropriate video of Eddie Murphy cussing himself funny, he found his life’s calling. “Ï watched the video and knew instantly this is what I wanted to do. I cannot do anything else – it had to be the most fun job in the world,” he decided with stars in his eyes. Three decades later Sugar Sammy has been recognised as the rock star of comedy, has hazaar accolades to his name and travels the globe being funny in English, Hindi, Punjabi, and French.
“People ask me to say something funny all the time! It’s annoying, but I just ask them to come to the show. It’s like asking a dancer to pop a few moves on the spot.” While being funny comes to him naturally, “Well some of it does, but it needs to be nurtured and worked out, one has to keep training just like an athlete,” says Sammy who belongs to a new breed of young, global performers.
Sammy is a writer first, it’s his natural talent, everything else comes much later. “Ï have always written my own material and over the years I have evolved as a writer of comedy. My strength lies in the writing, which is why I could be sick with a fever but I could still deliver because the writing is very strong.” He practises his material on his sister and brother who watched that Eddie Murphy video with him. “They are my testing ground – my family makes me laugh. I laugh pretty easily, it’s all the immaturity,” says the writer who has been in India two times previously to do shows in Bombay and Delhi.
A Punjabi bred in Montreal, Sammy’s material varies not only from country to country but also from audience to audience. “Ït’s already big work to adapt the show to an Indian audience. With the Delhi audience I mix things up with a little Punjabi, but this time the main task has been to make the show relevant to India.”
The point of the whole tour however is to have fun. “In India they want longer shows, more bang for their buck. They’re too used to the Bollywood movies. They expect shows that are four hours long and come with an intermission,” Sammy signs out.