Sampson McCormick’s love for comedy and hard-charging work ethic puts him in front of a microphone most anywhere — even at a nail salon. But his background growing up in a black church didn’t quite prepare him for the experience of 5,000 gay men on a cruise ship.
“The great thing about being a queer comedian is that we do get to perform some places that other comedians don’t get to,” McCormick said during a new episode of Podcast Q.
“There was this deck up top, and it was called the Dick Deck. It’s always on top, and about 100 people are up there Butterball naked at midnight and they are getting down. I have never seen anything like this in my life, and I thought what a great place to come do comedy,” McCormick added.
The 36-year-old comedian said he matured over the nearly 20 years since he started performing. Early on, he approached comedy gigs like choir rehearsal at church — perform, leave and go watch TV. Now, he opens himself up to enjoy the experience and an eclectic mix of performances, from HRC dinners to clothing-optional gay resorts, comedy clubs to a Smithsonian museum and a nudist colony in Virginia.
“These are 70-plus-year-old people, and everybody’s Butterball naked and got their asses directly on the seat,” McCormick said. “These opportunities really helped me to unlearn a lot of stuff that I learned in church. We just need to loosen up and have fun. You know, people live different lives.”
“If people learn how to respect each other for that, we would live in a world where we appreciated our differences,” he added.
His performances also bring McCormick to Atlanta. He headlined My Sister’s Room last year and co-hosted the Gentlemen’s Ball in 2017. On Tuesday, he returns — virtually, of course — with actor Darryl Stephens for Party With Impact. The annual fundraiser for Positive Impact Health Centers falls on World AIDS Day.
“A lot of people look at it as something that we have to observe in a really somber, quiet, sad way, and we don’t have to do that. We can celebrate the lives of the people who fought so that we can get to where we are. We can celebrate the fact that our community has been so resilient in the face of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and some of the challenges that we have now. It can be a celebration, with laughter, of our persistence and our resilience and our ability to survive and thrive as a community,” McCormick said.
During the Podcast Q interview, McCormick also discussed his survival tricks for 2020 — spoiler, it’s sex and chocolate cake — his comedy special “Church Boy,” a new project with Jussie Smollett and why rich gay white men just love him.
“I’m like, okay well if you like me so much, I need for one of y’all to come out here and scoop me up now,” he said.
Listen to the podcast above and subscribe to Podcast Q with your favorite podcast app. Catch up on past episodes.
Party With Impact, with Sampson McCormick and Darryl Stephens and hosted by Positive Impact Health Centers, is Dec. 1. Tickets are avalable.
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