Sam Jay Is Ready to Bring Back Comedy's Edge

Sam Jay…

Prediction: Sam Jay will go down in stand-up history alongside Margaret Cho, Wanda Sykes, and Joan Rivers. Like those trailblazers, Jay is as profane as she is wise, digging into the psychology of Nazis, ass-eaters, and Trump voters while tackling her blackness, gayness, and divorce. After a season at SNL (she co-wrote “Black Jeopardy”), she’s just released her album Donna’s Daughter and appears on the Netflix special The Comedy Lineup

Related | Hannah Gadsby's Nanette Is a Sea Change for LGBT Comedy

I loved your bit on sex acts that are a little too gay for you — like scissoring.
I’m not trying to speak as a gay woman — just as a person who’s feeling things.

In a bit about your divorce, you state that maybe gay people shouldn’t be married because it’s part of a straight institution.
We used to define our unions for ourselves. Now we’re defining them according to straight standards. We just wanted the right to be seen with the people we love. And get the tax break!

Do you worry about being misconstrued?
I get more shit when I do gay venues than when I do “for everyone” shows. I think as gay people we are so worried about our image that we’re not chilling. We’re not free to just kid.

You psychologize old, white, male Trump voters perfectly: They just want to feel they’ve contributed something.
No one wants to feel like what they’ve brought to the table was bad. There’s got to be a middle. We’ve all got to live here. You can’t have progress and leave people behind.

Today, a Joan Rivers might be Twitter-mobbed out of the industry. Can you help restore the appetite for improper humor?
As a society we feel like we can’t have two separate emotions about one thing. But you can laugh at this stuff, and laughing at it doesn’t negate its seriousness.

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