When John Abbott College athletic director Steve Shaw dreams, he dreams big.
Shaw has booked one of the hottest comedians in the country to headline John Abbott College’s Islander Comedy Night on Dec. 8.
His name is Sugar Sammy.
The comedian from Côte-des-Neiges is a bona fide poster boy for Bill 101, drawing on his multilingual life to create the hit show You’re Gonna Rire, which sold out for 50 performances at the Olympia Theatre this year.
Shaw thinks Sugar Sammy is vachement funny.
“He tried out his (bilingual) material for the show at our Agora,” Shaw said. “It was great. And it was the largest crowd we ever squeezed into the Agora.”
The comedian visited CEGEPs, under the radar, before his material morphed into You’re Gonna Rire.
“About six months ago, I woke up in the middle of the night and said ‘We need to get that guy,’ ” Shaw said. “This is definitely the biggest comedy show in our history. People are really excited.”
The comedy night benefits intercollegiate athletics programs, specifically the 400 athletes and 65 coaches who populate John Abbott’s sports teams. Profits will be used to buy equipment and cover travel costs, coaching fees and tournament entry fees.
Sugar Sammy, a.k.a. Samir Khullar, is fluent in English, French, Punjabi and Hindi. He’s known for interacting with audience members, targeting the eccentricities of various ethnic communities, including his own, and is an expert at poking a comedic stick at the linguistic divide.
The first seven rows in the Casgrain gymnasium at John Abbott College have been designated VIP rows. The comedian most often selects his audience “targets” from the first rows. Comedians Stéphane Poirier and Dan Bingham open the evening.
Shaw and an army of athletic department volunteers are setting up 1,600 seats for the event.
“We’re aiming to raise $40,000 (in profits),” Shaw said.
“That’s triple what we made at other comedy-night fundraisers.”
Domino’s Pizza will be served and there will be a cash bar.
Shaw’s financial goal is sizable so he and his athletes and coaches have been selling tickets and working furiously to tuck promotional pamphlets under as many windshield wipers as possible.
Domino’s Pizza is also handing out pamphlets with its pizza boxes.
Sugar Sammy will stick around after the show to autograph photos for $5 each. Proceeds go to the athletic department.
“The money is important to us,” Shaw said. “Expenses continue to rise and if we want our athletes to be competitive, we have to have the money to get us there.”
Sugar Sammy’s You’re Gonna Rire is at the Casgrain auditorium at John Abbott College, 21,275 Lakeshore Rd. in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Parking is free. General admission tickets cost $40 or $30 for John Abbott students and teenagers. A VIP table, which seats 10 and includes snacks, costs $450. VIP tickets for the first seven rows cost $50 but few remained as of Nov. 21.
To buy tickets, visit www.johnabbott.qc.ca/sugarsammy. Or, they can be purchased at the sports and recreation department in the Casgrain Building, room C128.