If your licence plate reads Je me souviens, chances are you have a love/hate relationship with the STM, a deep attachment to the Habs and tend to start your mornings unable to decide whether you’re going to order a Tim Horton’s coffee with milk or a café au lait.
In an hour and a half, comedian Sugar Sammy and his two openers, Dan Bingham and Nile Séguin, share similar sentiments. As an ode to Bill 101, they muse 50.5 per cent in English about what it means to live in Quebec, and 49.5 per cent in French about cette esti de belle province.
If you haven’t opened up a newspaper in the past six months, or looked up at billboards on highway 40, Sugar Sammy’s Le Show Franglais: Gonna Make You Rire has sold over 35,000 tickets over 35 dates to exhibit the microcosmic divide of our two solitudes: English and French.
This show isn’t some cheesy celebration of our bureaucracy, but perhaps a caricature of it. With references to our dollar about to kick the States’ ass, to the plethora of languages you could hear within the same sentence on almost any given Montreal street, Sammy crosses the line, and we are all crossing it with him. Just when it seems as though francophones and anglophones have collectively decided to shun the possibility of harmonious cohabitation, Sammy draws attention to that giant elephant in the room and we can’t help but hop on as a team.
What business execs first predicted as some odd science experiment that could only turn sour blossomed into something like a movement – the first time you’ll ever see anglos and francos laughing in unison over the same crude jokes.
If you’ve managed to snag seats in the first row, you better rehearse a perfectly-crafted response as to how you got them. Two half-Cuban, half-Jamaican ladies are seated in the third row: “Oh, so you won these tickets in a contest by calling up the radio, huh?” Sammy says. Clearly, the dude is playing the game as safe as one of P.K. Subban’s “flashy” slap shots.
Sammy is such a delight to watch that he could have burped the alphabet backwards and still have us completely enamoured. While the audience responds positively to his jokes (understatement of the year), it seems that every time Sammy spews out a line he likes, he tilts his head back, boogies across the stage with this great big goofy smirk across his face and thinks to himself, “Wow, I’m actually getting paid to talk about my mother’s Indian cuisine and the bodily excretions that ensue.”
This show will definitely fulfill your recommended daily dose of toilet humour if you love that shit, but it’s subliminal enough to ignore if you’re not. His potty-mouth definitely pales against his directness when it comes to hissing people of different ethnicities in the front row, like the part when he almost soils himself in fear when he learns the Lebanese man sitting in the front row—alone— is a mechanic.
Sammy gets away with bullying the crowd because he acknowledges each culture’s strengths, which as a result, makes him a bit self-deprecating. He says, “So Italians have that Italian Stallion thing going on, Cubans have the Latino Lover thing going on, white people have money, and Indians made Kama Sutra…There’s no way I can f*** a girl while hanging upside down from the chandelier.”
This show may not be suited for the unilingual, but fear not if you don’t have a flawless grasp of both tongues. The comic’s body language, facial expressions, even miming and tune-belting, should put you back in the loop and into a state of hysteria.
Sammy dances effortlessly through both languages, never having to sacrifice content for humour. There is nowhere he won’t go. If he spots a black guy, he will comment on his male appendage. If he spots a Muslim girl, he will threaten to call her father and tell him she’s not in the library and that it’s past her curfew. His unabashed commentary on romantic relationships calls for two options: either make sure you’ve resolved all fights with your significant other before the show, or check if your insurance covers couples counselling.
Sugar Sammy’s Le Show Franglais: You’re Gonna Rire runs until May 26 at Olympia Theatre (1004 Ste-Catherine St. E). All shows are sold out, except for the five new ones that have been added: April 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28. Call 514-790-1245 for tickets ($34.99 to $54.99) or visit evenko.ca, admission.com or sugarsammy.com.