Some of the Haitian American community’s top comedians came together Sunday, Nov. 21, to bring you “Haitian-American Kings of Comedy” at New York’s SOB’s nightclub. The comedy showcase hosted by Comic View’s Kareem Green, will feature Vlad “Haitian V” Calixte, Jonas “Haitian Jonas” Jeannot, Joseph “Sejoe” Ducasse and Mackenson Louis of Comedy Joy Ride.
The showcase came to be after fans would approach Louis following his shows, inquiring about a lineup with other Haitian comedians.
“I saw there was a strong demand for this,” Louis said, “I would host other shows featuring different comedians and guests would ask why not do a show with all the Haitian jokesters, like Haitian Jonas or Haitian V.”
Calixte,burst onto the scene in 2007 and instantly became a YouTube sensation with his skits featuring fictional character “Haitian V.”
“Haitian V is everyone’s Haitian Uncle, and is modeled after a my Uncle Ernest,” Calixte said. He’s an “all around older fellow with knowledge of the times.” Calixte’s skits depict “Haitian V” navigating life in Brooklyn and interacting with other people, clashing often times because of language barriers or difference in customs and culture.
Many of the characters comedians in the community base their skits on is a play off of the one created by the father of Haitian comedy, Jean-Claude Joseph, aka Papa Pye, whose character was a uneducated man from the countryside. That caricature still continues today, Mackenson said, but today’s comedians have brought a more realistic version, with the new generation connecting their own experiences into the skits.
“I get most of my inspiration from real life situations with a twist of exaggerated imagination,” said Jeannot, who got into the comedy game in 2008, when he started performing at the Laff House. Jeannot believes that the industry is growing and will continue to get bigger. But for some, these skits do not merit the performers being given the label “comedian.”
“One viral video can label you a comedian,” Calixte said. When “Haitian V’s” videos became viral, there were many comedians who wouldn’t work with him because they didn’t perceive him as a real comedian.
“They didn’t think I told actual jokes,” he said. But it’s just a sign of the times now, because “if you’re viral, you’re getting booked faster than the actual stand up comics.”
“We all have different styles,” Louis said, “but the common denominator is that fish out of water perspective; we’re outsiders looking in.”
Louis plans on bringing the show to several locations including, Miami, Atlanta, the Caribbean, Canada and Africa. His goal is to bring Haitian culture into the mainstream.
“You don’t have to be Haitian to get the humor, ” he said. “Regardless of who you are, or your nationality, you’re guaranteed a good laugh.”
Tickets are available for the 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. shows on sobs.com.