West Island’s gonna rire

Stéphanie Alcaraz-Robinson
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Sugar Sammy at Salle Pauline-Julien

Sugar Sammy – who won the Olivier of the year award Sunday during the 16th Gala les Olivier Sunday, for a second year in a row – has placed the bet to make West Islanders laugh.

Be ready to rire, Sugar Sammy's heading to Salle Pauline-Julien.

Sugar Sammy knows that his audience comes to see him to have a good time – and obviously laugh a lot. He does that by showing his ʻpoint de vueʼ – one that is not frequently seen nor accepted by Quebec French speaking comedy men and women. But Sammy pulls it off – in French and bilingually. His hilarious way of rendering his perspective on the political tensions in Quebec is one example of how far he can go without getting tomatoes thrown at him. He just knows how to turn some opinions that are normally hushed into a great entertainment.

On his bilingual shows, Sammy said that its natural for Montrealers: they are constantly immersed in French and English – “just buying coffee”, he said. “You’ll pick up an English paper and speak to the clerk in French and you’ll run into a friend there and you’ll speak English.”

Sugar Sammy also keeps his shows away from monotony, by improvising and interacting with the crowd. “If you’ve seen my show two years ago, it’s not the same,” he admitted. He also relishes current events and tends to stick them in his performance as they happen - which makes him constantly changing his show. “What's current now may not be funny anymore in five years,” he said.

When the Chronicle spoke to Sugar Sammy, he hadn't yet won the prestigious Olivier award. He did conced that he was more than happy to be nominated a second year in a row, saying that he considered himself very lucky to be able to do what he does. “That's already a reward in itself.”

When asked about his popularity, the comedian said that he brought something different - from the cultural portrait of Quebec to the opinions he voices. “They are my opinions, but I think it's also a reflection upon today's society and on its future,” he said. He insists on being a product of Quebec - growing up speaking punjabi with his parents, English by watching tv and playing with his friends and then French in school - “thanks to the Bill 101.”

Sugar Sammy is at Salle Pauline-Julien May 20 and 21. For more information, www.pauline-julien.com/evenement or www.sugarsammy.com.

Geographic location: Quebec, West Island

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