edge

Reinventing the Wheel of Fortune

My name is Arthur Jospeh and I was on Wheel of Fortune.

I am a standup comic-slash-entertainer. Or entertainer-slash-standup comic. I’m doing what I like to do. Which is to make people happy.

I come from Main Road, Fanny Village, Point Fortin but I don’t tell Americans that. In America, everything is about image and public relation. Once you create a brand or image and you have public relation, you have everything. Even if you mess up. A Carnival cruise ship could be stuck in the Gulf of Mexico for a week but people will still cruise on Carnival. I love Fanny Village but it’s not an image. So I say I’m from Trinidad.

My mom and sisters are in Miami and New York and I have a brother and sister and nieces and nephews in Trinidad. But I, personally, don’t have a family because I’m not ready to settle down yet. The ups-and-downs of the entertainment industry, you can’t be toting a family with you! I couldn’t do even half the things I did! [It can get lonely] but that’s what nightclubs are for!

I know Point Fortin is famous for producing calypsonians but I could never become one. Because I can’t sing! I can dance, I can beat drums, I can do comedy. But I CANNOT sing!

I trained as a dancer under John Cupid in Point Fortin Cultural Workshop, Astor Johnson,Terrence Mohammed, Phillip Sergeant. All the big people. I trained at UWI under Eric Butler. Eugene Joseph.

I’m the typical Trinidadian: I was christened Anglican, grew up Catholic and then confirmed as a Methodist. And then ended up in the Baptist church. The Methodist church teaches you to study the Bible on your own, like a textbook. I read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

When my mom left my dad, he became very annoyed and I just couldn’t study at home. My dad was, like, duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh! Two people helped me out. To do my O’Level exam, I stayed by Zelma Clarke, who was the principal of Point Fortin RC, for a year. To do my A’Level exam, I stayed by my pastor at the Methodist church, Cuthbert Edward, and his family.

I love science fiction and I always bring it back to Star Wars: there’s a force. And you got to tap into that force, or power, or God. Whatever you think. Once you can tap into that force, anything you can say can become a reality. People don’t understand that it is literal when they say, “If you have faith of a mustard seed, you can move a mountain!” If you have the faith, you can make ANYTHING come to fruition. Right now, I’m saying I want to be on America’s Got Talent. Let’s see what happens.

I was Point Fortin Senior Secondary's number one A’Level student. My SAT scores were 1350, back when a perfect score was 1400. I got a half-scholarship to the University of Miami. But the US Embassy needed a bank statement saying you could pay the other half. And I have more money in my pocket right now than my father had in the bank. Seriously. I couldn’t get anybody to give me a bank statement. So I had to turn the scholarship down.

Growing up in Point, I was like a square peg in a round hole. I was thinking [at head level]. And they were partying at [waist level]. My brain was always saying, “You should be doing more!”

Around 1997, I was deported from America. I got caught because I was going back-and-forth. It was the wrong thing to do. Mama keep telling me, “Don’t go back to Trinidad!” But I couldn’t stay away. When I was going back the third time, they met me in the airport.

I’ve been downhill and up hills. I ended up on the streets in Trinidad. And I came off the street to become one of [insurance company] Clico’s top agent. When that happened, I got the opportunity again to get my green card. One of Trinidad's top insurance salesman, a competitor, told me, “Imagine what you would do if you go to America!” So I went to America.

In high school, me and my brother Earl wrote a collection of poems called Thoughts of Humanity. In a poem, I said, “It’s only when you fall, you are able to experience the fervency of rising again”. When I came to America, the first time, I fell. I got deported. I built myself up again at Clico. Coming back to America, I fell, and I built myself back up over 12 years at Carnival Cruise Lines. And I knew I was going to fall again by going to California. But I knew I would experience the fervency of rising again!

Just as the Guardian Life agent said, I became one of the top agent at Carnival! I was a sales team captain, I was teaching rookies but I was, like, I wanted to do something different. So I went to California two years ago. Went all the way back down. Every business takes three years to succeed. This is my third year in California and, wham, bam, everything started to happen. Deal or No Deal. Wheel of Fortune. The Masked Singer.

If you’re 15 minutes early in Hollywood, you’re late!

When I left Carnival Cruise Line, my [initial plan was to] stay two months in Florida and party. And then I got T-boned by another car. My car got written off – and I walked away without even a scratch! God was telling me something! I got the message: I packed up and got on a plane to California.

Everybody has freewill. Everybody has to face their lot in life. This is how it is. Your faith encompasses you and your family. By me being blessed, I will be a blessing to others. Hence the reason I did what I did on [TV game show] Deal or No Deal. [Donated a basketball court to Point Fortin instead of going for more cash.]

If you want to see the glamorous world of entertainment, you just have to look at the emails on my phone. You have two seconds to send them a headshot, 20 words on what shows you’ve done. They sent me an email to do a show called Perfect Harmony, people in a choir. It took me six minutes to respond back. They replied they couldn’t use me. But Friday comes and they send out a rush call and I get booked. Do you know how many choir members there were? It was a choir COMPETITION! Five choirs, 60 members each! That meant that those 300 slots were filled in six minutes! There’s the glamorous world of entertainment there!

The glamorous world of entertainment is, if you miss a day, you lose a month.

The pandemic happened and millions of people were suffering in the world. All the other entertainers ran home and suffered. But I’ve never done better than now. I asked my pastor, why am I doing so well? He said, “That is God working! Don’t worry, God does things! If it took a pandemic for everybody to realise Donald Trump was a bad leader, well that is what God will do!”

In the scheme of things, Wheel of Fortune was not a destination, it was just one step on the journey. I’m constantly trying to get bigger and bigger. It’s a progression.

I left a secure income to get into the entertainment world. [TV personality] Judge Mathis said, “Do what you like to do and then think about how to get paid doing it!” I said, let me do what I like to do and figure out how to get paid.

Everything is about branding and public relation.

To me, a Trini is that one guy in a party with a beer having fun all by himself. And Trinidad & Tobago means home to me. No, [I’m only saying that to tease] BC Pires, who told me everyone says a Trini likes to party and T&T is home. Now I’ll answer both questions seriously with a bit of a long story.

There’s this joke I do at comedy clubs about [US Vice-President] Kamala Harris [being] condemned for not being really black, because her father is Jamaican, and I tell the crowd that all Caribbean people in America know about that. But I think I earned my black credentials last week, when I wrote my first bad cheque. At the predominantly black Comedy Union, it got so quiet, you could hear the crickets! But the same joke is funny at the mainly white Flappers Comedy Club! [When Americans] say, “So you’re black?” I say, “No. I’m TRINIDADIAN. Back in the days – and I tell them this whole history – Dr Eric William said, “There is no Mother India, Mother Africa, Mother China or Mother Spanish, there is only Mother Trinidad!” The George Floyd reckoning that’s happening now in America happened back in the 80s in Trinidad [when, according to one Indian politician] we douglarised the nation. Nobody in Trinidad can say they’re pure African or pure Indian. My grandfather was Chinese! How can I say I’m black, when I have Chinese root? We in Trinidad consider ourselves Trinidadians. We’re not black, not African-American, not Indian. We are Trinidadian!





Reinventing the Wheel of Fortune

My name is Arthur Jospeh and I was on Wheel of Fortune.

I am a standup comic-slash-entertainer. Or entertainer-slash-standup comic. I’m doing what I like to do. Which is to make people happy.

I come from Main Road, Fanny Village, Point Fortin but I don’t tell Americans that. In America, everything is about image and public relation. Once you create a brand or image and you have public relation, you have everything. Even if you mess up. A Carnival cruise ship could be stuck in the Gulf of Mexico for a week but people will still cruise on Carnival. I love Fanny Village but it’s not an image. So I say I’m from Trinidad.

My mom and sisters are in Miami and New York and I have a brother and sister and nieces and nephews in Trinidad. But I, personally, don’t have a family because I’m not ready to settle down yet. The ups-and-downs of the entertainment industry, you can’t be toting a family with you! I couldn’t do even half the things I did! [It can get lonely] but that’s what nightclubs are for!

I know Point Fortin is famous for producing calypsonians but I could never become one. Because I can’t sing! I can dance, I can beat drums, I can do comedy. But I CANNOT sing!

I trained as a dancer under John Cupid in Point Fortin Cultural Workshop, Astor Johnson,Terrence Mohammed, Phillip Sergeant. All the big people. I trained at UWI under Eric Butler. Eugene Joseph.

I’m the typical Trinidadian: I was christened Anglican, grew up Catholic and then confirmed as a Methodist. And then ended up in the Baptist church. The Methodist church teaches you to study the Bible on your own, like a textbook. I read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

When my mom left my dad, he became very annoyed and I just couldn’t study at home. My dad was, like, duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh! Two people helped me out. To do my O’Level exam, I stayed by Zelma Clarke, who was the principal of Point Fortin RC, for a year. To do my A’Level exam, I stayed by my pastor at the Methodist church, Cuthbert Edward, and his family.

I love science fiction and I always bring it back to Star Wars: there’s a force. And you got to tap into that force, or power, or God. Whatever you think. Once you can tap into that force, anything you can say can become a reality. People don’t understand that it is literal when they say, “If you have faith of a mustard seed, you can move a mountain!” If you have the faith, you can make ANYTHING come to fruition. Right now, I’m saying I want to be on America’s Got Talent. Let’s see what happens.

I was Point Fortin Senior Secondary's number one A’Level student. My SAT scores were 1350, back when a perfect score was 1400. I got a half-scholarship to the University of Miami. But the US Embassy needed a bank statement saying you could pay the other half. And I have more money in my pocket right now than my father had in the bank. Seriously. I couldn’t get anybody to give me a bank statement. So I had to turn the scholarship down.

Growing up in Point, I was like a square peg in a round hole. I was thinking [at head level]. And they were partying at [waist level]. My brain was always saying, “You should be doing more!”

Around 1997, I was deported from America. I got caught because I was going back-and-forth. It was the wrong thing to do. Mama keep telling me, “Don’t go back to Trinidad!” But I couldn’t stay away. When I was going back the third time, they met me in the airport.

I’ve been downhill and up hills. I ended up on the streets in Trinidad. And I came off the street to become one of [insurance company] Clico’s top agent. When that happened, I got the opportunity again to get my green card. One of Trinidad's top insurance salesman, a competitor, told me, “Imagine what you would do if you go to America!” So I went to America.

In high school, me and my brother Earl wrote a collection of poems called Thoughts of Humanity. In a poem, I said, “It’s only when you fall, you are able to experience the fervency of rising again”. When I came to America, the first time, I fell. I got deported. I built myself up again at Clico. Coming back to America, I fell, and I built myself back up over 12 years at Carnival Cruise Lines. And I knew I was going to fall again by going to California. But I knew I would experience the fervency of rising again!

Just as the Guardian Life agent said, I became one of the top agent at Carnival! I was a sales team captain, I was teaching rookies but I was, like, I wanted to do something different. So I went to California two years ago. Went all the way back down. Every business takes three years to succeed. This is my third year in California and, wham, bam, everything started to happen. Deal or No Deal. Wheel of Fortune. The Masked Singer.

If you’re 15 minutes early in Hollywood, you’re late!

When I left Carnival Cruise Line, my [initial plan was to] stay two months in Florida and party. And then I got T-boned by another car. My car got written off – and I walked away without even a scratch! God was telling me something! I got the message: I packed up and got on a plane to California.

Everybody has freewill. Everybody has to face their lot in life. This is how it is. Your faith encompasses you and your family. By me being blessed, I will be a blessing to others. Hence the reason I did what I did on [TV game show] Deal or No Deal. [Donated a basketball court to Point Fortin instead of going for more cash.]

If you want to see the glamorous world of entertainment, you just have to look at the emails on my phone. You have two seconds to send them a headshot, 20 words on what shows you’ve done. They sent me an email to do a show called Perfect Harmony, people in a choir. It took me six minutes to respond back. They replied they couldn’t use me. But Friday comes and they send out a rush call and I get booked. Do you know how many choir members there were? It was a choir COMPETITION! Five choirs, 60 members each! That meant that those 300 slots were filled in six minutes! There’s the glamorous world of entertainment there!

The glamorous world of entertainment is, if you miss a day, you lose a month.

The pandemic happened and millions of people were suffering in the world. All the other entertainers ran home and suffered. But I’ve never done better than now. I asked my pastor, why am I doing so well? He said, “That is God working! Don’t worry, God does things! If it took a pandemic for everybody to realise Donald Trump was a bad leader, well that is what God will do!”

In the scheme of things, Wheel of Fortune was not a destination, it was just one step on the journey. I’m constantly trying to get bigger and bigger. It’s a progression.

I left a secure income to get into the entertainment world. [TV personality] Judge Mathis said, “Do what you like to do and then think about how to get paid doing it!” I said, let me do what I like to do and figure out how to get paid.

Everything is about branding and public relation.

To me, a Trini is that one guy in a party with a beer having fun all by himself. And Trinidad & Tobago means home to me. No, [I’m only saying that to tease] BC Pires, who told me everyone says a Trini likes to party and T&T is home. Now I’ll answer both questions seriously with a bit of a long story.

There’s this joke I do at comedy clubs about [US Vice-President] Kamala Harris [being] condemned for not being really black, because her father is Jamaican, and I tell the crowd that all Caribbean people in America know about that. But I think I earned my black credentials last week, when I wrote my first bad cheque. At the predominantly black Comedy Union, it got so quiet, you could hear the crickets! But the same joke is funny at the mainly white Flappers Comedy Club! [When Americans] say, “So you’re black?” I say, “No. I’m TRINIDADIAN. Back in the days – and I tell them this whole history – Dr Eric William said, “There is no Mother India, Mother Africa, Mother China or Mother Spanish, there is only Mother Trinidad!” The George Floyd reckoning that’s happening now in America happened back in the 80s in Trinidad [when, according to one Indian politician] we douglarised the nation. Nobody in Trinidad can say they’re pure African or pure Indian. My grandfather was Chinese! How can I say I’m black, when I have Chinese root? We in Trinidad consider ourselves Trinidadians. We’re not black, not African-American, not Indian. We are Trinidadian!