The comedian who fans know as Sejoe is a native Brooklynite who was raised in Haiti. Sejoe moved back to the USA in the early 2000s to finish high school. Surprisingly, the humor man’s first career track was medicine; he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with double minors in French and Chemistry. With medical school looking less and less likely in his future, the Florida State University grad searched online for humor videos in Creole to uplift his spirits. “To my surprise,” he recalls, “there were none. So I started my own.”
His own…as in fun-filled, laughter-inducing comedy videos featuring Creglish, his blend of Creole and English. Sejoe’s Youtube channel “The Sejoe Show” has over 1.4 million views, and nearly 5,000 subscribers look forward to each new videos. His career as a comedian has brought him to Canada to college campuses in Gainesville and Tampa. And oh, he also works as a model, and his plump modeling assignments are no joke.
A lot of comedians start off as class clown. Were you one of those?
I was most definitely the class clown. I was always in trouble because I was constantly telling jokes and talking. But what kept me from being kicked out of school—I attended the prestigious St. Louis De Gonzague private school in Haiti—was the fact that I was always first academically in my class. When my friends from Haiti see what I’ve been up to, they understand it and always tell me that they are not surprised with my direction.
Who are you all-time favorite comedians?
My favorite comedians are Dave Chappelle and Paul Mooney. I enjoy comedians who incorporate politics and through their craft educate their audience. Some people are just not interested in politics but when it is expressed in a humorous fashion, they normally don’t even notice they’ve been taught something. And that knowledge, because it was funny, ends up sticking with them. My intention has always been to make my people laugh while educating them and the rest of the world.
When is a joke not funny?
Delivery is everything! The joke may be hilarious, but if the comedian cannot execute it the right way, it will not be funny.
Do you think that even with stand-up comedy, there is a structure of sorts?
Yes, you have to know your audience and you have to have a plan of attack in knowing exactly what jokes to kill them with. If you are performing to an audience of 65 years old and up, you can’t talk about Wacka Flocka because that is not their generation of interest.
When was the last time you went to Haiti?
My last visit to Haiti was in December of [last year] for a week. I decided to spend my Christmas break there.
How do your parents feel about the fact that you’re a comedian.
If anyone knows traditional Haitians, they will understand that most Haitians consider three professions as careers: doctor, lawyer and engineer. I earned a degree in biology because I was practically forced by my mother who wanted me to be a doctor. When I told her that I wasn’t going to medical school, she cried her eyes out as if I just revealed to her I was dying of cancer! She threw her hands up in the air and asked God what she did wrong and why He was punishing her! Since I’ve been committed to my dream for five years now, she has accepted my cause even though she doesn’t necessarily agree. But I can’t blame her: she is from a generation that is built on security. Following your dream is always a gamble.
What would you say has been your most memorable performance in terms of your career as a comedian?
I would have to say when I performed in 2010 in St. Maarten. It was eye opening, shocking and amazing to connect with people there who knew who I was! It put a lot of things into perspective for me. Children, who appeared to be 10 years old, were reciting my jokes and telling me that I inspire them. It’s the greatest compliment I could ever get.
I think a lot of people would like to cut their teeth in comedy. How would you suggest they get their start?
Find out if you’re funny: just go out there and do it! You can’t learn to be funny–you either have it or you don’t. And trust me, the crowd will tell you. But also, believe in yourself. Be your biggest cheerleader and if one crowd boos you, move on to the next.
What’s next for you?
I am always working on something but I enjoy surprising the people. What I can tell you is this: I am committed to making Haitians and Haitian-Americans laugh while educating and uplifting. I will be involved in high quality projects that will provide Haiti with a positive global platform.