Sampson McCormick: The “OTHER” Queen of Comedy

DC resident Sampson McCormick is a writer, activist and stand-up comedian.  Since 2003 he has appeared at various venues across the country delivering his refreshing comedy style which is often infused with calls for social activism.  Last year he released “Don’t Make Me Take Off My Earrings” a wildly successful act that was recorded into a live album. Also in 2011 he won the Love From The Sound Stage Best Comedian Award. In addition to touring he’s currently working on SampsonTV, an online channel on YouTube that covers everything from politics, spirituality and fitness to his love of cooking. McCormick has been getting rave reviews for his performances.  He brings his bold and brazen style to the DC Center for the LGBT Community located at 1318 “U” Street NW on Saturday March 10 at 7:00 PM click here for more info.

PRIDEINDEX: Your major in college was communications and broadcast journalism. When did you decided to become a comedian instead?

SAMPSON MCCORMICK: That’s funny. Sometimes, I wish that I would have stayed in college. I took many of the classes that I needed to get my Bachelors, and then decided to drop out/ was forced out because I owed the school money; my mother was about ready to kick my ass. I feel like being a comedian is something that was cut out for me. Originally, I wanted to be a singer, I sang in church, I sang at little talent shows and had an appreciation for music, but it turns out that I was better at telling jokes. I was a class clown too and always got in trouble in the neighborhoods I grew up in. But in school, I use to always get put out for cracking jokes. In the 12th grade, my English teacher told me to find a stage to get on or she’d fail me.

PI: Brief us about the first time you did your stand-up routine in front of an audience.

SM: The first time, maybe was in fifth grade, the teacher let me “stand up and talk” and I stood in front of the chalk board and “talked”, the class and teachers laughed, does that count? The first time in front of an audience “that would have booed my ass if I wasn’t funny” was in 2003 at Teddy’s House of Comedy in Washington, DC. And they were vicious, they’d throw candles and chicken bones if you weren’t funny. My first night they looked at me like I was an oil painting, I went home with chicken grease and bar-b-q all on my shirt and upside my head.

PI: You have performed for everyone from church folk to partygoers. How do you adjust your routine so that it is suitable for each audience?

SM: In a way, I preach “we’re all the same,” I guess that practice, comes from me being able to relate to all people, and expand on the commonalities that we have as human beings, for the most part is what my comedy is about. As an openly gay comedian I get the chance to share comedy from another perspective. I guess to sum it up, I love people, and am willing to do the work to take off the layers and understand them.

PI: Name three comedians who have had the most influence on your style.

SM: I’d have to say Whoopi Goldberg. But I’m not just influenced by comedians, my style of comedy is one geared towards making the audience feel like they’re at a revival, so other influences are James Baldwin, Bishop Yvette Flunder. I have quite a few influences though, not just comedians, but poets, singers, preachers, poets, drunk aunts; some of everybody.

PI: What was your muse for your stand-up routine “Don’t Make Me take Off My Earrings?’

SM: “Don’t Make Me Take Off My Earrings” was a time when my battles with injustices in politics and exclusivity in religion reflected heavily in my comedy. I was deeply affected by a few events that had occurred in my life, including a very turbulent break up and coming to terms with reconciling myself with GOD, despite the foolishness that the church likes to feed folks. I was also heavily involved in activism and facing the realities of homophobia in political arenas and the church. It pissed me off and I never knew how many of my LGBT brothers and sisters were affected by this mess. It was a bit of a cry out to create unity, liberate and educate.

PI: Let’s talk about your book, “Taboo Village: A Perspective on Being Black and Gay.” What do you want readers to retain from it?

SM: Taboo Village was written by accident. I’d been writing essays and reflections and extracting the comedy material from them, and someone read some of the stuff. It sparked a few conversations with people that let me know that people had questions. It offers view points on things that affect our communities as black and LGBT people the same, yet we divide ourselves over. I would suggest readers retain education, a new point of view and perhaps inspiration to engage in dialogue, in the areas of conversation that we are afraid to dialogue in.

PI: Do you have plans to write another book? If so when?

SM: I do. I’m writing a book right now. I am going to write until my heart is content with it. Be it 50 pages or 500 pages, but I’m sure it’s more than 50 now and won’t be more than 500, people have ADD, they don’t have time for all of that!

PI: What are you working on right now?

SM: Right now, I am constantly performing and touring. When people think about the name “Sampson,” it will be synonymous with comedy, and good comedy. I love my craft, I put a lot of energy into it, my heart, soul and every ounce of my being goes into it. Having audiences allow me to share those moments with them, where we laugh together and reflect on life and so many other things where we laugh together and reflect on life and so many other things with humor, is definitely healing and creates tranquility, for them and me.

PI: Briefly tell us about SAMPSONTV, when will it launch? What will it cover?

SM: SampsonTV is out now. I have been doing it since 2009. It’s my online channel on *whispers* YouTube. And I am the gay Oprah. *laughs* so, it covers everything self acceptance, self esteem, dealing with stress, politics, family, sex, food, fitness, spirituality, and whatever we haven’t gotten to, we will.

PI: What’s next on the horizon?

SM: I am focused on just performing. I don’t plan to ever stop. I’ll keep using what I’ve been blessed with to bless other people. Help people to laugh and love one another. I’m also working on a cook-book and cooking show “Cooking: For Bitches Who Want to Keep Their Men Happy”, delicious recipes minus all the crazy stuff that we ESPECIALLY black folk, cram in our pots and pans, and GOD knows I love salt and hot sauce too, but it’s killing us. I’m working on a new standup comedy album; hopefully, I’ll have a concert and record it soon. I need to finish promoting the current one first, and I am working on creating a web series, and filming a documentary that follows me on tour. Ultimately with everything I’m doing, my goal is to help people laugh, affirm them, and help people to love themselves and each other. Facebook: Sampson Follow Sampson on twitter click here To purchase “Taboo Village: A Perspective on Being Black and Gay’ click here