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Hab at heart: Sugar Sammy

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

MONTREAL – Able to raise the ire of Anglophones and Francophones alike with his topical comedy and inflammatory jokes, Sugar Sammy has the ability to leave his audience in stitches even when he leaves them mildly offended. The jet-setting funny man is a rising star in the world of Quebec comedy, but despite his demanding schedule, he always makes time to watch the Habs battle it out with the NHL’s best, and he can often be spotted at the Bell Centre cheering on his childhood team. The crew met up with the Montreal comedian and winner of the Olivier de l’annee at the recently held Gala Les Olivier, to learn more about his love for all things bleu-blanc-rouge.

Are you a long-time Habs fan?

SUGAR SAMMY: I’ve been watching Canadiens games since I was six years old. I paid close attention to their Stanley Cup run in 1986. We had a great team. What really stood out for me was Claude Lemieux’s famous overtime goal that eliminated the Hartford Whalers.

In one of your sketches, you mention that you often played street hockey at home in Côte-des-Neiges. Were you trying to imitate any one Canadiens player in particular?

SS: My idol growing up was Mats Naslund. I tried to copy his puck handling skills. I really wanted to be like him. At 10 years old, I found a new favorite player because I was taller than him by then. (laughs)

Be honest – what type of hockey player was Sugar Sammy at 10 years old?

SS: I’d say that I was a good stickhandler and a good passer. My shot wasn’t bad, but my skating ability left something to be desired. People of Indian descent generally play better hockey in the streets than on ice! (laughs)

Which of the Canadiens’ biggest rivals do you love to hate?

SS: It’s got to be the Bruins, like everyone else in Montreal. As far as the Maple Leafs are concerned, you can’t really dislike them because it’s a lot like killing an injured bird. It’s just about pity. (laughs) I’d really like the Nordiques to come back into existence though because I miss hating them.

Who is your favorite current Canadiens player?

SS: P.K. Subban. His enthusiasm and energy are contagious.

You’re friends with a few of the Habs. Have you taught them any new jokes they can use to throw off opponents out there?

SS: (laughs) Not yet. Instead, I give them suggestions on some new line combinations and tricks I’ve tried playing ball hockey!

If you were doing a private show for the Canadiens, which player would be the easiest target?

SS: Probably the ones I know well like P.K. Subban or David Desharnais. I would improvise, but I wouldn’t want to make any of them jealous so I’d try to pick on all of them equally.

How do you follow the Canadiens when you’re out on tour performing all over the world?

SS: It’s hard because I’m never usually in places where Canadiens games are televised. I have to rely mostly on the Internet.

When you get back to Montreal after extended road trips, what is the first thing you like to do? What do you miss the most?

SS: It’s got to be playing hockey and watching Habs games with my buddies.

Sugar Sammy is a pretty cool nickname, so we’re going to ask you to help us out. Do you have any suggestions for some of the guys?

SS: I would call all of them Sugar. I think Sugar P.K. and Sugar Price has a nice ring to it.

Interview conducted by Hugo Fontaine. Translated by Matt Cudzinowski.

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