'The Sejoe Show' creates platform for Haitian comedy
By Addison Kane via FSU News
Episode 1 of Haitian comedian and FSU Alumnus Joseph ‘Sejoe’ Ducasse’s new The Sejoe Show begins with a sharp, red-lettered viewer discretion “WARNING,” not unlike the ones you’d see at the beginning of stunt videos or late-night infomercials.
“The following program contains funny Creole, French and English languages not suitable for old ass Haitians,” it says, followed by a candid postscript reading “P.S. This is going to be awkward if your parents are in the room.”
The postscript’s jab at the aged, as harsh as it may seem, has much to do with the fact that the only media currently geared towards Haitian and Haitian-Americans, targets “a generation that is dying out.” On the contrary, Sejoe has his eye set on the children and grandchildren of this generation.
As a whole, this disclaimer could almost be read as a mission statement for the show (which debuted last month), but that isn’t to say the humor is lost in self-seriousness. The idea behind The Sejoe Show is to create an authentic platform for Haitian comedy, geared towards a rising generation of Haitian and Haitian-American individuals. Because no entertainment outlets cater specifically towards this group, the comedian, who made his YouTube debut in 2009, has further taken it upon himself to fill in the gap.
Born in Brooklyn and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sejoe got his start in comedy following his move to Tallahassee to study Biology, Chemistry and French, under pressure from his family to practice medicine. Unable to repress his desire to be in the entertainment field, he started uploading videos of himself telling distinctive Haitian jokes, after realizing that the Internet contained little if any of the Haitian comic relief he himself needed. Now, following five years of creating his own animated cartoon, producing shows for rappers like Big Sean and Sean Paul (as well as non-Sean rappers A$AP Rocky, Daddy Yankee and Flo-Rida), and founding Sejoe Entertainment (which is involved in creating, directing, producing and editing commercials, fashion shows, music videos and photo shoots), the comedian has a clearer vision of what it takes to move his fellow Haitian, Haitian-American, and American Millennial audiences.
The Sejoe Show is a four-part series, made up of jokes, skits and viral videos—all in a combination of Creole and English language called ‘Creglish.’ After the opening credits in Episode 1, a highly animated, yet very IRL Sejoe appears, gesticulating wildly in a pair of jeans and black T-shirt bearing his name in red block-letters, in front of a beige backdrop.
After one frantic minute of this, none of which contains any decipherable English, a soundtrack of ‘magical’ Disneyesque chimes emerges over a screen showing fragmented blue Twitter bird, and prompt stating “it’s cool, follow me @Se_Joe” in a characteristically millennial all-lowercase font.
From here, opening the SJ TV News Channel, one of Sejoe’s ‘reporters’ looks into the camera, appearing to perk her breasts up before an interview, before chasing ‘Colors’ rapper Ice-T out of a building, who hides his face with a briefcase and retires to a nearby cab. The SJ TV News title then appears to the tune of ‘cheesy intense breaking news music’ and a beeping, Doppler-like countdown noise.
Sejoe, appearing as the Geraldo Rivera-looking, white-haired, white-mustached, grey suit-clad ‘Jacques Cade’ appears live from the newsroom, appearing to be worked up over an urgent broadcast, before the topic-to-be skewered is revealed as ‘Ice Loves Coco,’ rapper Ice T’s reality TV show. After a bit spoken in Creglish, the ‘host’ asks: ‘Who doesn’t like Coco?’ the only English line spoken up until that point in the episode.
Images of soccer player Kaka, a statue of the Buddha, Ebesse Zozo hot sauce, Bill Clinton and George Bush 43 then flash on the screen as the host narrates in Creglish.
The next scene begins with text reading #teamsejoe, and the comic returns, superimposed against an urban concrete backdrop, featuring his ‘SJ’ logo tagged in spray paint on a wall.
After a segment showing Haitian woman being coached on how to pronounce the English world ‘world,’ Sejoe says, “Speaking of English, let’s check out–” and points to a picture of Haitian man, then mumbles his distinctly Haitian name, trailing off in an ironic recognition of its difficult pronunciation for native English speakers. The man is, like the woman before, coached on how to pronounce “Disney World,” eliciting a swath of audience laughter.
Then, taking the Disney joke into new territory, a video of a small, blonde American girl in a ‘Donuts’ shirt (featuring a bit-into frosted donut with a peace sign in the middle) plays, wherein she’s asked by her mother where, if she could go anywhere, she would go on vacation.
“Disneyland!” the girl says, surrounded by Micky, Minnie, and Cinderella memorabilia. After being informed that she’d be going there on that day, she breaks into tears. The video then replays, with Sejoe narrating in Creglish over the mom, but leaving the girl’s responses intact.
Largely met with positive reviews, the show currently airs on YouTube and can be found along with other content on his Sejoe.com website.