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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Gay comedian Sampson McCormick talks new DVD and family
by Terri-Lynne Waldron
2014-01-01

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Openly gay comic Sampson McCormick will tickle funny bones on his upcoming DVD That Bitch Better Be Funny. This year will mark his 10th anniversary doing stand-up across the country, as well as working as a writer and activist. The award-winning comic opened up about working at Starbucks, making history and being a funny bitch.

Windy City Times: What types of jobs did you have before doing stand-up?

Sampson Mccormick: The last job that I had was working at Starbucks and that was the absolute worst! [Laughs] It was almost like being in boot-camp because I had to get up really early in the morning to be there for 4 a.m. As soon as you get to work there is a line at the door waiting for you and you have to run in and start making coffee.

WCT: You have a stand-up DVD entitled That Bitch Better Be Funny coming out in January?

Sampson Mccormick: The DVD will be out Jan. 29 and the show happened at the historic Howard Theater in Washington, DC. That theater has a very significant history in the Black community. There's the Apollo, there's the Howard and there's the Regal and those were the three legendary theaters in the Black community. I became the first Black, gay, male stand-up comedian to ever play a live show there.

We plan on getting That Bitch Better Be Funny in some film festivals—gay film festivals and regular film festivals. It's going to be on a few Internet networks—we're working to get it on Netflix—and of course people will be able to buy it.

WCT: What was it like playing at the Howard Theater?

Sampson Mccormick: It was amazing! We just about sold out the place, and the Howard Theater is a concert venue.

WCT: Tell me about your stand-up show.

Sampson Mccormick: My comedy is very reflective and I do poke fun at the different ironies in life and that type of thing. But it definitely deals with the lighter side of life that we deal with every day as people. Comedy has always been like a spiritual journey for me and it's definitely helped me to grow up in a lot of ways.

WCT: Where did the title That Bitch Better Be Funny come from?

Sampson Mccormick: We put a lot of thought into the name and we wanted it to be something kind of edgy. This show was at the Howard Theater and it required a different marketing strategy and energy. Money is a little tighter for people these days and the value of money is what kind of drove us to name this show and also the quality of work that I present to the public. People work 40, 50 and 60 hours a week and they really value their time and their money. People were at the box office saying, "And the tickets cost how much? Ok, this bitch better be funny."

WCT: Did you know as a young boy that you were funny?

Sampson Mccormick: Not really. When I first started I was about 16 and I was a senior in high school and I had always been a smart aleck and I never got in trouble in school for fighting, but I got in trouble for making the class laugh. My 12th grade English teacher told me that if I didn't get onstage that he would fail me.

WCT: What was your mother's reaction to you doing stand-up?

Sampson Mccormick: She found out that I was going to perform at a nightclub and she didn't want me going out because I was 16 or 17 at that time. This was back in DC when there was a lot of crime so of course she was worried as a mother. She would tell me that I couldn't go and I would have to be in the house by a certain time and I would sneak out of the house. So she started putting the chain lock on the door.

WCT: What about negative reaction from people?

Sampson Mccormick: As I am an openly gay stand-up comic I get hate mail from people—like crazy Christians—and there are people who tweet me crazy things.

WCT: You are also an activist crusading against homophobia, poverty and youth homelessness.

Sampson Mccormick: Humor has been such a heeling thing for me and a lot people always say that laughter is the best medicine for a lot of things. I really believe that it is and I also believe that because of the things that I've experienced—that being in places where you can use humor to disarm people—it opens up the ability to reason about things without acting crazy.

That Bitch Better Be Funny will be released on DVD on Jan. 29. To find out more about Sampson, visit www.sampsoncomedy.com .


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