Stand-up comic and Emmy-nominated writer Sam Jay will be performing at The Den Theatre, located in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood, on Sept. 23-24.
The first Black lesbian writer in Saturday Night Live's history, Jay is a three-time Emmy nominee and Writers Guild Award (WGA) nominee for her writing on the late-night sketch series. She is also a WGA and Black Reel Awards for Television nominee for her writing on HBO's That Damn Michael Che.
With many other TV credits to her name, among them are writing for the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards and the MTV Movie & TV Awards in 2018 as well as for the BET Awards in 2020.
She just served as the 2022 Emmys announcer, introducing presenters and throwing out fun facts throughout the evening. She can also be seen on Stand Out: An LGBTQ+ Celebration; the Peacock series Bust Down, which she co-created with co-stars Langston Kerman, Jak Knight and Chris Redd; and on season two of HBO's Pause with Sam Jay, a weekly late-night series on which she serves as host and executive producer (another WGA nomination for her writing). On Pause, Jay covers a variety of trending cultural topics, including race, politics, sexual identity, science, celebrity, religion,and more.
"I feel really blessed that I have a lot of cool friends that are dynamic thinkers," Jay said about her work with others.
Sleep is something she looks forward to with a busy schedule, but when thinking of what to say in her public spot, Jay said she thinks about what's going to add to the conversation.
"What I'm passionate about the stuff I have thoughts about, you know, things I think I may be adding to the conversation like, especially with Pause, I think we're very particular about how is this moving the conversation forward?," Jay explained. "Is this a perspective that's moving the conversation forward?"
Looking at her career can be overwhelming, she said, so she lives in the present. Having started at open mics and growing from there, Jay said she was a traditionalist in how she made her comedy career.
"I just had to build the act brick by brick and keep putting it out there and, you know, just keep growing it," said Jay who is a Black lesbian. "And that just kind of opened up other doors for me. It really was, like, a very traditional route. And that way, you know, like, I can't really say that anything wild happened. I've definitely been rejected, and I've definitely sometimes felt it was because of my race, or, or my gender, or you know, my sexuality, but I feel like I've been going through that my whole life."
Jay said she learned how to navigate for herself through the ignorance of the world and specifically in the comedy world.
Jay's advice for those looking to make a career is to "just keep digging for your authentic self like because no one else can do that."
"Really put the blinders on and run your own race," Jay said. "I think you got to do what's right for you. You know when you're going too slow, and you know when you're going too fast. You just got to check yourself. Check your energy and be aware of that stuff at all times. But I don't think there's any one way to skin a cat, you know?"
Jay explained putting her most authentic self out there, can be the most rewarding and challenging thing in her comedy career.
"I mean, that's the most rewarding part is like, we're all here connecting," Jay said. "And it's like, I'm being authentically me and talking about the weird nuances of my mind. And people are like, 'No, I get that; you're not that weird.' That's the most rewarding part."
Jay said she wants her audiences to leave shows "feeling like they had a genuine experience."
When asked about her upcoming four upcoming stand-up shows on The Heath Mainstage at The Den Theatre in Chicago, which are currently untitled, she said she is going to get up on stage with her mic hope that the audience thinks she's funny.
"And then hopefully we all laugh and we all leave feeling really good," she said.
For tickets and more information, visit thedentheatre.com .
To learn more about Sam Jay, visit samjaycomic.com .