St. John’s Antigua- Some recognise him for his roles as ‘Andrew the school boy’ and the ‘police officer who got horned’, whilst he refers to himself as the ‘comedic dramatist’, but to his many loyal fans across international borders, he is Learie Joseph, the King of Comedy.
For over 30 years he has left audiences gasping for breath and holding on to the edges of their seats with his distinctive comedic acts and hilarious gimmicks, but it was not always all fun and games for this vibrant entertainer.
Born in San Fernando, south Trinidad, Joseph was left at the Belmont Orphanage (now the St Dominic’s Children’s Home) when he was almost two years old. Since then, he has faced several hardships, including seeking shelter in gas stations and abandoned buildings after being left homeless for some time. Though he attended Belmont Boys as a child, Joseph only received a secondary school education as an adult since he opted to work rather than complete his studies during his adolescent years. He later attended the Trinidad Theatre Workshop where he shaped his comedic abilities.
At the beginning of his career, Joseph juggled working as a fulltime salesman by day and a comedian by night. When the chairman of his retail company found out about his side job, Joseph was given an ultimatum: forego comedy or else, and so, Joseph bid farewell to his career as a salesman and has not had any regrets since.
This talented humorist is now one of the region’s leading comedians. Though comedic, Joseph often brings to light some of the gravest social, political and economic issues of the day, often to the effect of leaving his patrons with a serious reality check. Still, he sends them into a frenzy of uncontrollable laughter each time he performs. With over 35 characters and countless gimmicks, Joseph has entertained audiences throughout the Caribbean and North America as well.
Even with the fame and hype of stardom, Joseph has never once forgotten where he has come from. During his 2005 production of ‘Learie Joseph in Concert’, he hosted a special charity show for the young and adult residents of several homes throughout his native Trinidad, including the St Dominica’s Home of which he is a former resident. Such gestures are not one-off stunts for Joseph, who ensures that his fans are always left satisfied. Certainly, his dynamic brand of humour and seriousness towards his craft has made him the ‘comedic dramatist’ he is today.
You can catch Learie Joseph at the Caribbean Comedy Festival on Sunday April 1 at the Antigua Recreation Ground.
Tickets are now on sale at Kennedy’s Liquor World, Super Power Electronics and Bargain Centre Supermarket, Perry Bay.