There are some topics—politics and religion, for example—that we are warned not to bring up in polite conversation.
Comedian Sampson McCormick, on the other hand, promises to bring up politics, religion and all the other controversial topics most people avoid.
Of his show, he said, “It’s funny. I talk about politics, religion, race and sexuality, all the things we don’t talk about it polite company. Especially now, nobody likes to talk about racism, but the fact is we do live in a country that is racist.”
McCormick, 31, describes himself as pretty spontaneous, the product of the black church in which he was raised in North Carolina and later Washington, D.C.
“If the spirit moves, you never know what will happen,” he promised. “Actually, I’m a city boy with country tendencies, or maybe a country boy with city tendencies, one of those.”
He does believe race relations remain a flashpoint in American society. Those tensions are particularly stoked by the rise of social media, which allows people to remain anonymous while expressing hateful and hurtful thoughts.
“When you’re a double minority (black and gay), you develop a different perspective about life and the world around you,” McCormick opined.
McCormick’s opinions were formed in the inner city of Washington.
“I grew up in the hood. We talked about each other’s mommas, how fat they were, how queer they were,” he recalled. “Today’s kids cry that you’re hurting their feelings. There are so many 12-year-olds on anti-depressants. Now kids don’t have the backbone.”
As a child, McCormick coped with the pressures, like many, by becoming the class clown.
“I’ve definitely gotten more serious as I’ve gotten older. When I was younger, I spent a lot of time reading, a lot of time thinking and a lot of time high. When you put those things together, you definitely form opinions about the world,” he said in a telephone interview from an Amtrak train, traveling to a gig in Philadelphia.
McCormick has been entertaining audiences professionally for more than 16 years and notes his road has not been easy as a male, gay comedian.
“Everybody knows Wanda Sykes, Ellen, Rosie O’Donnell, Lily Tomlin. Now, let’s name some gay male comedians at the same time,” he pointed out. “We’ve been around, but I don’t want to say people take us seriously, but we have to work harder.”
When pressed to name successful gay male comedians, effeminate, stereotypical personalities come to mind first.
“I don’t walk around carrying a purse, wearing make-up and talking about fashion trends,” McCormick emphasized. “I’m drinking beer and talking about the game like the other guys. I don’t fit into that category and they’re baffled by that.”
Much of this lack of visibility of gay men in the industry had been driven by executives concerned by the marketability of high-profile gay comedians.
“America is ready for it,” McCormick stated confidently.
And for audiences who may be concerned his show is “too” edgy, he dismissed them, instead describing his personality as “nice, chocolatey and sexy.”
America—and South Florida—are ready.
Sampson McCormick appears at the Florida Comedy Club inside Spanx the Hog BBQ, 147 S. Cypress Creek Road in Pompano Beach, on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 8 and 10 p.m. Tickets are $20 and $40 at FloridaComedyClub.com.