Sugar Sammy

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Sugar Sammy
Birth name Samir Khullar
Born Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Medium comedy, Television
Nationality India Indo-Canadian
Genres Observational comedy, Improvisational comedy
Subject(s) Race, Sex, Pop Culture
Influences Dave Chappelle, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Don Rickles[1]
Website www.sugarsammy.com

Samir Khullar, better known as Sugar Sammy, is a Canadian comedian, actor, writer and producer from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. His irreverent style is what sets the tone for his brand of unique and off the wall comedy. He is known as much for his no holds barred style of comedy as he is for his charm, wit, fedora and improvisational abilities with audiences. He does comedy and is fluent in English, French, Punjabi and Hindi.[2]

Early life[edit]

Sammy was born February 29, 1976 and raised in the Côte-des-Neiges neighbourhood of Montreal, Quebec. As a young and impressionable kid, his comedic inspirations came from watching Eddie Murphy's "Delirious." He was only 8-years-old when he got his first exposure to Murphy's racy material. He persuaded his mom to rent "Delirious," one of Murphy's stand-up comedy specials from an Indian movie store.[3] Sammy credits Eddie Murphy's 1983 comedy special as being a defining moment in his life. From then on, he knew what he wanted to do.[4] Also influenced by other Black-American stand-up comedians, Sammy names Martin Lawrence, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle as some of his other comedic influences. Even though Sammy knew from a young age that he wanted to pursue a career in comedy, it wasn't until the age of 17 when he got his first taste of the limelight. While some of his friends organized a high school fundraiser for the black student association they asked that the young class clown be the night's entertainment. Soon after high school, Sammy earned a diploma at Marianopolis College while occasionally performing at open-mic nights at the Comedy Works and the Comedy Zone.[3] Although Sammy struggled for almost a decade to gain recognition on the comedy circuit, he later continued his studies at McGill University in cultural studies while working as a night club promoter in Montreal. Here he received what would later become his stage name after letting many of the women into the parties for free.[1] Sammy is a resident of the Town of Hampstead.[5]

Subjects[edit]

His comedy routines tackle everything from race, sex and pop culture from the perspective of an Indo-Canadian living in French Canada. His routines are a blend of well-polished material and improvisational comedy. Anyone sitting near the stage is a potential target for his razor-sharp wit.[3]

Appearances[edit]

Since 2004, he has performed on TV several times and is part of an exclusive club of Canadian comics who can draw people from all around the world. In the past year, Sugar Sammy has toured in the United States, Canada, England, Australia, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Thailand, the Philippines, China, India, Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Egypt, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Lebanon, Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Northern Ireland, Dubai, Haiti[6] New Zealand and South Africa, where his one-man show sold an incredible 15,000 tickets.[7]

Sugar Sammy has appeared at the Just For Laughs Festival seven years in a row and was the first comedian ever to perform in the English and French and Hindi, Toronto editions of the Festival. He has also appeared at the Sydney Comedy Festival, the Cape Town Comedy Festival, and has been invited to the inaugural Johannesburg Comedy Festival in 2009.

On August 21, 2006, Sammy opened for Dave Chappelle at Toronto's Massey Hall. In 2006, Sammy taped his "Comedy Now!" special which aired in Canada on The Comedy Network, CTV and A. The special also aired on Comedy Central in the United States. Sammy describes the special as going so well that he found himself spontaneously interacting with the audience; which in is Sammy's case is a surefire way of telling he was having a good time on stage. Sammy describes the TV Special as being one of his favorite shows of 2006.

Sugar Sammy's international TV credits include; his own 1 hour TV special on Showtime Arabia entitled " Sugar Sammy Live in Dubai" which aired in 14 countries, headlining two TV shows for Showtime respectively entitled "Minority Rules" and " Friday Night Live", appearances on CBC, Comedy Now on CTV, as well as appearances on The Comedy Network (Canada), The Comedy Channel (Australia), and on Dutch TV.

One man show : You're Gonna Rire – Bilingual show and En Français SVP - French only show[edit]

In an unprecedented experiment, Sugar Sammy's 'You're Gonna Rire' is the first large-scale Anglo-Franco comedy show in the country.[8] The comedian created a show in a language called Franglais – an ode to the Montrealer’s reality of switching between English and French throughout the day.[9] Described as “50.5 per cent English, 49.5 per cent French” (another historical reference, this one to the 1995 referendum results). Initially conceived as a single night at the 1,300-seat Olympia theater, tickets sold so fast that it extended to 45 performances with a total of 53,000 tickets sold in Montreal alone.[10] It expanded into shows that will run well into April 2013.[11]

In 2012, the bilingual show was also transformed into a fully French-language show entitled En Français S.V.P. (In French, Please).

Sugar Sammy continues to perform both shows in Montreal and the French show throughout the province of Quebec. His tour dates have won him the ranking of one of the 30th biggest grossing tours in North America according to Pollstar magazine - May 2013.[12] Two years later, the combined shows have sold over 230,000 tickets, with over 100 soldout shows performed at the Olympia theatre in Montreal alone.[13]

In May 2014,Billboard magazine named Sugar Sammy the top-selling Canadian tour of the 12 months ending April 12, 2014.[14]

HBO Canada special[edit]

Sugar Sammy’s biggest TV credit is his 72 minute HBO Canada special which became one the network's highest rated TV specials and a first for any Canadian. The special was eventually acquired by Air Canada and was aired on all international and domestic flights. Due to popular demand, the special was eventually released on DVD; where it went straight to # 1 on the stand-up comedy bestseller's list on Amazon Canada.

French career[edit]

Sammy's French career has also taken off at lightning speed. In 2007 he made a remarkable TV appearance at "Le Show Raisonnable" which garnered rave reviews. Then in 2009, he made headlines and front pages all over the country for a new appearance at the French edition of the Just for Laughs Festival. His point of view at Quebec politics and culture from the perspective of a minority earned him a standing ovation and "The Revelation of the Year" award. In 2010 he made headlines again by presenting an award alongside Quebec political leader Pauline Marois. He teased her incessantly about sovereignty and the language debate.

Sugar Sammy wanted to ensure that he had a stronger presence in Quebec and put his destiny into the hands of Martin Langlois to present, for the first time in 2011, his bilingual show ‘You’re Gonna Rire’, which would become the beginning of his first tour of Québec in 2012.[15]

In May 2013, Sugar Sammy became the first English comedian to post wins at Quebec’s prestigious Olivier comedy awards. He won the Olivier for Best Show (voted by the industry, for En français svp !) and the Olivier for Comedian of the Year (voted by the public).[16] In 2014, he once again won the Olivier for Comedian of the Year at the 16th annual gala.[17]

Ces gars-là - TV Series[edit]

February 2014 marked the debut of Sugar Sammy and French-speaking comedian Simon-Olivier Fecteau new TV show on Quebec’s French V network – Ces gars-là, a buddy comedy à la Wedding Crashers and Swingers, written by and starring the two comedians and directed by Simon-Olivier Fecteau. The ten-episode series, Ces gars-là, is inspired by the lives of the two writer-comedians and traces their searches for love, their relationships with their families and how they deal with the rules of their own friendship. Based on an original idea by Sugar Sammy, the series was directed by Simon Olivier Fecteau and co-written by the two stars, along with mutual friend India Desjardins.

Sugar Sammy, has achieved a rare feat – he has English people watching French television. The irreverent Montreal comic’s English speaking fans have followed him to his new show on Quebec’s V channel.[18]

As the TV series surpasses all expectations,[19] V network announced on April 29, 2014 a second season of Ces gars-là.[20]

Accomplishments[edit]

  • Voted by the readers of the Montreal Mirror "funniest comedian" for three years in a row.
  • Winner of 2009 COCA (Canadian Organization for College Activities) Awards for Best Comedian.
  • Voted by the readers of the Montreal Mirror as one of the top ten "most desirable men".
  • HBO special premieres on June 14, 2009 across Canada and will run continuously throughout summer.
  • Named one of the top 25 "Sexy and Successful" Indian artists by Anokhi Magazine.
  • Askmen.com named him "Comedy's New Rock Star".
  • Rumour's Restaurant & Comedy Club in Winnipeg has named a sandwich in Sugar's honour, The Sugar Sammy Sammie (Butter Chicken on a Bun)[21]
  • Nominated for Best Male Stand-up at the 2009 Canadian Comedy Awards
  • Nominated for the category of Favorite Comedian by Masala! Mehndi! Masti!
  • Recipient of the 2009 'La Revelation de Juste Pour Rire' ( The 2009 French discovery of The Just For Laughs Festival )
  • Named One of the top Ten Rising Comedy Talents on the planet by The Hollywood Reporter
  • Awarded the 2010 COCA awards
  • Ranked No. 58 in the annual list of the Top 100 Men of 2009 by Divine magazine
  • Featured in the 27th edition of the 'Juste le meilleur des galas 2009' DVD; a greatest hits compilations by the French version of the prestigious Just For Laughs Comedy Festival
  • Nominated in the categories; 'Discovery of the Year' and 'Best Comedic Act' for his routine entitled ' les Quebecquois' for the 12th annual ' Le Gala Les Olivier', a ceremony which honors Quebec's top comedians.[22]
  • Recipient of the 2010 'Prix québécois de la citoyenneté' which honors individuals, enterprises and organizations for their commitmment and contribution to making Quebec a more pluralistic and inclusive society.[23]
  • Recipient of the 2010 ' Le Prix Umayyad'ambassadeur et rayonnement' presented by the ' Societe des Grands Citoyens' for his contribution as an international ambassador for Canada.[24]
  • The first Canadian to have a special on HBO Canada. Which consequently ended up being one of the top rated specials on that channel.
  • His HBO special is set to be released on DVD on January 18, 2011.
  • Sugar Sammy's HBO Special is the #1 bestselling DVD on Amazon.ca
  • Air Canada has picked up Sugar Sammy's HBO Special; which aired on all domestic and international Air Canada Flight
  • Sugar Sammy's stand-up videos have had over 3 million views on YouTube.[citation needed]
  • Has multiple international TV specials and appearances including in Canada, Dubai, Australia & the Netherlands.
  • First comedian to perform at Just for Laughs in English, French, Hindi & Punjabi.
  • Performed at Just for Laughs 7 years in a row since 2004.
  • Worked with French comedian Gad Elmaleh

Awards[edit]

Year Award Category Result
2009 COCA ( Canadian Organization for College Activities) Best Comedian 2009 Won
Montreal Mirror top ten "most desirable man" Won
Anokhi Magazine top 25 "Sexy and Successful" Indian artists Won
Canadian Comedy Awards Best Male Stand-up Nominated
Masala! Mehndi! Masti! Favorite Comedian Nominated
The Just For Laughs Festival The 2009 French discovery of The Just For Laughs Festival Won
The Hollywood Reporter Ten Rising Comedy Talents From Around Won
Divine magazine Ranked#58 in the annual list of the Top 100 Men of 2009 Won
2010 Le Gala Les Olivier Discovery of the Year Nominated
Le Gala Les Olivier Best Comedic Act Nominated
Ministère de l'Immigration et des Communautés culturelles Prix québécois de la citoyenneté Won
Societe des Grands Citoyens Le Prix Umayyad'ambassadeur et rayonnement Won
COCA ( Canadian Organization for College Activities) Best Comedian 2010 Won
Montreal Mirror Best Comedian 2010 Won
Canadian Comedy Awards Best Television Performance Nominated
2011 Montreal Mirror Best Montreal Comedian 2011 Won
2013 Gala Les Oliviers Olivier de l'année Won
Gala Les Oliviers Spectacle de l'année Won
Gala Les Oliviers Auteur de l'année Nominated

Won 2014: Olivier de l'année, Gala Les Olivier

Nominated 2014: Multimedia - Canadian Comedy Person of the year, Canadian Comedy Awards 2014: Meilleurs textes - comédie: Simon-Olivier Fecteau, Sugar Sammy et India Desjardins, Prix Gémeaux 2013: Spectacle de l'année - Humour : En français s.v.p. !, ADISQ

Down With the Brown[edit]

In 2008, Sammy released his debut comedy album, Down With the Brown. His CD tackles everything from life in Quebec to his take on sex and race from the perspective of an Indo-Canadian. It was released on January 15, 2008 and coincided with a Canadian tour.

Sugar Sammy signs with the Gersh talent agency[edit]

In the summer of 2009, The Gersh Agency signed Sugar Sammy following a strong showing at the Just For Laughs Festival. After a competitive pursuit – thanks in part to his worldwide fanbase – Gersh reached a deal with Sugar Sammy. The Gersh Talent Agency also represents Jamie Foxx, Dave Chappelle and Drew Carey. Gersh and Sammy are currently collaborating on tours and various theatrical projects.

Endorsement & Sponsorship deals[edit]

Sugar Sammy is dressed by designer labels Diesel & M0851

Créa[edit]

The 2012 Grand Prix Créa, which recognizes Quebec's best advertisement of the year, has been awarded to the Sid Lee agency for Vidéotron's English-language Prank Calls campaign featuring Sugar Sammy. Sugar Sammy also won the best actor award for his performance. The campaign aimed at showing its customer-service employees' patience and efficiency, while also mentioning the company's various services. In each spot, Sammy called Videotron's customer service with a bizarre problem designed to test the employees' abilities while highlighting a particular aspect of Vidéotron's services. "The writing and direction are perfect," the jury explained. "Because Sugar Sammy delivers the goods so masterfully, viewers understand everything and laugh a lot.[25]" According to Claude Foisy, Vice President, Brand Management, of Videotron. "These are actual calls answered by real employees, who demonstrate their dedication to their mission of providing their customers with the best possible experience".[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Nguyen, Joe (March 11, 2010). "Face2Face with Sugar Sammy". AsiaXpress.com. Retrieved March 15, 2010. 
  2. ^ MacPherson, Guy (January 3, 2008). "Slick, savvy stand-up Sugar Sammy takes on the world". Straight.com. 
  3. ^ a b c Durai, Melvin (March 6, 2008). "Sugar Sammy returns for encore performance". South Asian Post. 
  4. ^ Posner, Michael. "How sweet it is for Sugar Sammy". Toronto: The Globe and Mail. [dead link]
  5. ^ Cohen, Mike (March 31, 2012). "Some behind the scenes stuff from Sugar Sammy" The Suburban.
  6. ^ Radsch, Courtney (February 16, 2009). "Stand-up comedy takes the Arab world by storm". Al Arabiya (AlArabiya.net/English). Retrieved February 16, 2009. 
  7. ^ http://web2.hahaha.com/microsite/SugarSammy/SugarSammy
  8. ^ http://www.montrealgazette.com/sports/Review+Success+doesn+breed+safety+Sugar+Sammy/6230972/story.html#ixzz1viiyiiJe
  9. ^ http://montreal.openfile.ca/blog/curator-blog/curated-news/2012/sugar-sammys-youre-gonna-rire-makes-some-columnists-pleure
  10. ^ http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/03/01/sugar-sammy/
  11. ^ "Sugar Sammy unites many solitudes with laughter". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). September 10, 2012. 
  12. ^ http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2013/05/01/sugar-sammy-et-marie-mai-dans-le-top-50
  13. ^ http://fr.canoe.ca/divertissement/tele-medias/nouvelles/2014/05/02/21644916-qmi.html
  14. ^ http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6077513/sugar-sammy-video-interview-canada-comedian
  15. ^ http://www.myvirtualpaper.com/doc/lpa-magazine/lpa_web/2011052001/32.html#32
  16. ^ http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/sugar-sammy-picked-as-quebec-s-comedian-of-the-year-1.1279035
  17. ^ http://www.montrealgazette.com/entertainment/Sugar+Sammy+repeats+Olivier+year+winner/9828824/story.html
  18. ^ {url=http://m.torontosun.com/2014/05/03/sugar-sammy-crosses-canadas-two-solitudes | location=Toronto |date= May 3, 2014}
  19. ^ {url=http://vtele.ca/v/communiques/l-emission-ces-gars-la-depasse-largement-les-attentes_432.php}
  20. ^ {url=http://vtele.ca/v/communiques/une-deuxieme-saison-pour-ces-gars-la_443.php}
  21. ^ "Dining at Rumor's? Take my advice – please!". Winnipeg Sun. December 16, 2009. 
  22. ^ http://www.apih.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=17&Itemid=86
  23. ^ http://www.micc.gouv.qc.ca/fr/presse/phototheque/pqc2010.html
  24. ^ http://www.lelezard.com/communique-282802.html
  25. ^ http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/947159/the-2012-grand-prix-crea-is-awarded-to-videotron-and-sid-lee-for-the-prank-calls-campaign
  26. ^ http://corpo.videotron.com/site/salle-presse/view.form?id=512

External links[edit]