In the days leading up to the presidential election, it hasn't been easy to be a gay Black comedian. Sampson McCormick confronted white supremacists at one of his shows. But he kept soldiering on, performing a comedy routine lauded for bridging race, age, culture, and gender. Raised by a single mother in rural North Carolina, McCormick speaks often of hypocritical religious leaders, because he encountered head-on “the judgmental cruelty and fierce hypocrisy of homophobic preachers and self-appointed, so-called ‘family values’ bigots.”
Like Smollett, he’s used his brand not just to find followers (especially in the LGBT community), but to also keep them safe and healthy; which is why he’s performed comedy routines at STI clinics and talks frequently about why gay and bi men need to get HIV tests. The first out gay African- American comic to perform at the famed Howard Theater, McCormick also performed at The White House and the Kennedy Center. He has released three acclaimed stand-up comedy concert albums, including his most recent, That B*@&! Better Be Funny, which was considered for a 2014 Grammy nomination for best comedy album. Still, 2017 may also be the year he becomes a household name: it’s hush-hush but insiders say he has a possible development deal in the works.