In many ways, SeJo is the same person he has always been. Known as the class clown when he was growing up in an all-boys Catholic School in Haiti, SeJoe embodies that same refreshing honesty, charm and rebelliousness that made you belly-laugh at the absurdities in our daily lives. Born in Brooklyn as Joseph Ducasse, the 33 year old comic posted his first videos online in 2009 in an effort to cope with his decision to reject becoming a doctor. Since then, his keen ear for language, his passion for Haitian culture, and a mastery of content creation has carved a path that has led him to perform stand-up comedy on stages around the world. SeJo has amassed a following of over a quarter million followers across social media and now taken his critically acclaimed talents to Amazon Prime Video, with Nou Chaje ak Pwoblèm (We Have Lots of Problems). Joe sits down with Sheen Magazine to share his inspirations, his creative process, and what we can expect from him next.
“Nou Chaje ak Pwoblem” (We have lots of problems) is the first Haitian Comedy Special on Amazon! What does it mean to you to be a changemaker, a path-maker?
I didn’t produce Nou Chaje ak Pwoblem with intentions of being a changemaker. I did it because it felt like the logical next step for me, after producing content online and traveling the world doing shows. Of course, my introduction to taking stand-up seriously was because I was in need of comedy in my mother language. As with most things, creators are usually inspired to do something when there’s a lack. I sought to fill in this gap because I knew it would be beneficial for my own mental health.
What inspired you to write and produce the special? What was the process like?
Inspiration to write and produce the special came from wanting to evolve as a comedian and creative. I saw the project as a challenge for both myself as a person and as a writer. The process was tedious, challenging and long. It took a lot of organizing and communicating with partners who could bring the same energy or more to the table. At the end of the day, it was essentially really fun. The finished project is a great source of pride.
What is the message you wanted to convey to Haitians and the world with “Nou Chaje ak Pwoblem”?
The message in the special is very clear: language and positively evolving as a people because we have a lot of problems.
Who are some of the comedians and artists who inspire you?
I am inspired by Eddie Griffin, Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle, George Carlin, Paul Mooney and others within that range.
The Haitian culture in “Nou Chaje ak Pwoblem” is the main ingredient in this special, what is your perspective as an artist, a Haitian native on Haiti’s current social-political landscape?
We got a lot of problems and we have to get our shit together.
What was your surrounding, specifically your mother’s reaction when you made the switch from Biology to Comedy?
My mother was very resistant to the idea, as most Haitian parents would be. She began to warm up to the idea when, of course, friends of hers started sending her videos of me without knowing I was her son.
In your comedy special, you stated that most Haitians don’t support their own- and more likely to support non-haitians. Was it a generic statement or from a personal experience?
It is unfortunate, but this is from personal experience. I’ve experienced colorism from my own people because I am dark skinned. That is just one example.
What are you currently working on? What should we expect from SeJoe in the near future?
I don’t usually like to share in advance what I am working on. I like to surprise people. Just know I am always working on something innovative and I will always aim to show Haiti and Haitians in the highest light.
Follow SeJoe on Instagram today!
All images by Philip-Daniel Ducasse