Emmy nominated U.S. stand-up Sam Jay is coming to London to serve some good-ass stand-up! Hilarious comedian, LGBTQ role model and proud #POC, Sam Jay is a trailblazer and her unique comedy voice examines themes of race, stereotypes, and sexuality.
In the past year, the Boston born comic made her Netflix debut on The Comedy Lineup, while her writing work for Saturday Night Live received an Emmy nomination for her refreshing perspective and devil’s advocate bravado which have made her one of the hottest comedy prospects in America.
Sam Jay comes to YASS Magazine for an exclusive interview just before making her highly anticipated debut UK performance at Soho Theatre from 17th – 22nd June.
We see your name everywhere lately. I see you on TV, I see you in comedy shows, I listen to your music, I read about you! Where do you find the time for all these?
I don’t know, it’s all happening so fast and so constant that you just kind of do it.
You are one of the most established comedians in the U.S. and have met huge fame and success. How easy or difficult is to become known and to build an empire like you’ve done so?
I don’t know about an empire, but again it’s just like, I know this stuff needs to be done to accomplish my goals so I just do it and try not to dwell on it or think about it too much.
You have talked about your experience as a gay black woman in America. How do you feel as an openly gay artist living in America?
I feel lucky, there was a time when it was extremely hard for people to be out and have a life you know, but gay civil rights have changed, people died so that I can feel safe holding hands with my girl and walk down the street. I feel lucky. There’s always more to do of course, but I am grateful.
What shall we expect to see in your Debut UK appearance?
Some solid ass standup.
What areas are you exploring through your new performance?
I mean I just talk about the things I feel are important and funny and sometimes just silly or asinine. So I can’t narrow it to one thing, ya know.
How difficult is it to examine themes of race, stereotypes, and sexuality through your performance and share these with a live audience?
It’s not any more than saying anything else. I mean, I am black and a lesbian. I’ve been dealing with these issues for a long time, they aren’t foreign or uncomfortable for me.
How does it feel to have received an Emmy nomination for your writing work for Saturday Night Live for your refreshing perspective and devil’s advocate bravado which have made you one of the hottest comedy prospects in America?
Uh, good! Lol I mean it’s nice for people to appreciate what you do.
Did you expect the huge success of “The Comedy Lineup” on Netflix? Talk to me about that!
You never know what to expect with stuff like that, you just kind of make it and let the chips fall where they may. But I am happy people like it, of course there are people that don’t and that will happen but overall it feels good.
How did you decide to release your first hip-hop comedy album “Donna’s Daughter” with Comedy Central Records?
I was just ready to make a project and it felt right. The vibes where there and everyone involved in the project was as excited for it as I was.
What is the most challenging thing when you are on stage?
Hmmmm…. that’s tough. The stage is the freest part of all of this, honestly. The challenge is getting there.
Who are your role models and inspirations?
Wanda Sykes has become a great mentor to me. The list of influences can go on and on, from cartoon characters to sitcom stars, to stand-ups to relatives. So many people and things have influenced my funny.
Is it difficult to execute a one-woman show?
I mean, it’s not a piece of cake. It takes work, but what doesn’t?
Has comedy as a concept, and more specifically stand-up comedy, been redefined over the years?
I think everything has, that’s how art works. It changes as the times change, it should. It should grow with the culture, so of course it’s changed and been redefined. There are more voices in it. More queer voices, female voices, black, Latino, Asian etc. so yeah, it’s being redefined.
Do you feel women and lgbtq+ artists are unrepresented in your field?
We are underrepresented everywhere, so yeah.
Has the #metoo era affected stand-up comedy?
I mean, it’s made people more aware and that’s a good thing.
What are your future plans?
More shows, more writing, and just trying to get better.
Sam Jay performs at Soho Theatre from 17th– 22nd June at 7:30pm, tickets can be found at https://sohotheatre.com/shows/sam-jay/”
All images are courtesy of Sam Jay (www.samjaycomic.com)