On a sugar high

This reporter is the sixth journalist of the day to interview Sugar Sammy — we’ll come to the name in a bit — last Tuesday. But Sugar Sammy is still alert. He spots the stain of curry on my otherwise crisp white notebook, tells the photographer to shoot him in the worst pose so that girls don’t stalk him. “These guys are slaving me out,” he quips. What follows in the next 20 minutes is a laughter riot with some serious questions, and seriously funny replies. Excerpts from the interview:

Sugar Sammy. Pic/Sameer Markande 

What’s with the name?
Well, I earned it in college when I used to organise a lot of parties. I gained the reputation of being extremely nice to girls and taking care of them. They nicknamed me Sugar, and Sugar Sammy has a nice ring to it. It stuck. My real name is Sam Khullar, by the way.

Interviews all day. So, any weird questions that left you speechless?
(Laughs) I have answers for questions… None have ever left me speechless, though many have left me shocked.

What is the theme of your performance in India?
It’s going to be a little bit of everything — relationships, parents, Indians abroad, and my own experiences. In Mumbai, I’ve heard about North Mumbaiites picking on South Mumbaiites and vice versa. I’m going to tell them to just pick another city, man! (cracks up).

Has anyone in your audience ever taken offence at your jokes?
Never. It is the tone that matters. When a person realises that you are laughing with them and not at them, it really isn't a problem.

What kind of a person are you backstage?
I am not the same person on and off the stage. I’d be crazy then. People want to see the most entertaining part of you on stage. In life, I am grounded, jovial and of course, the most handsome person on earth.

So do people fail to take you seriously in life?
I joke a lot. And yes, a lot of times people think I am only joking when I’m actually dead serious. But, I manage.

Do you watch other stand-up comedians perform?
I try not to watch artistes with similar humour styles to avoid being influenced. I enjoy watching Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle, George Lopez and Damon Wayans. 

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