Comedian, Chibuike Josh Alfred, aka Josh 2 Funny and Madam Felicia, speaks with TOFARATI IGE about his career
How exactly did comedy start for you? I wouldn’t say I was born a comedian, but when I was in secondary school, I used to do a bit of comedy. I was also a part of the literary and debating society. Whenever we had special events, I would crack jokes about the things I had read in the newspaper. At that point, I didn’t know that comedy could be a business; I just took it as a hobby. But along the line, people started telling me that I would make a good comedian and I decided to give it a try since it was something I knew how to do. I started professionally by performing in churches and other social events.
It seems you get the idea for your jokes from the church you attend… I was born into Deeper Christian Life Bible Church, but it’s not really about the church that I attend. It is more about the fact that I’m an Igbo boy and I know the way Igbo people usually turn songs upside down.
Which was your hit joke that made people start taking notice of you on social media? It was a joke I did with another comedian, Longman. In the video, I acted as his mother and when I slapped him, he started rotating and singing the popular Christian chorus, ‘I can see everything turning around for my good.’
What is your educational qualification? I studied Computer Science at the Federal Science and Technical College, Yaba. After that, I studied photography for about two years, and I attended a school of performance arts, Qban Centre in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Is comedy your full-time job? Yes. But I also have a studio where I produce songs and videos. I compere events too.
Why did you decide to dress like a woman? I don’t dress like a woman; I only put on female attire to record my videos because I play the typical Igbo woman. Dressing like a woman makes the jokes funnier and people are able to relate with it. In real-life, I’m a full-blooded man and I like women.
Do you face any peculiar challenges because you dress like a woman? Yes. Some people think that I’m gay because I wear female clothing. But I’m still letting people know that this is just comedy. Even when I perform on stage, I wear men’s clothing. I usually give an example of Tyler Perry, who has been acting as Madea, a woman, for a long time and it doesn’t mean he is homosexual.
Has any homosexual ever wooed you? Yes. There was a time a guy sent me a message on social media and was asking if I like men. I told him that if he sent me any more messages, I would pray and he would go blind. The guy ran away after that.
Do Christians criticise you for bastardising some Christian hymns? Funnily, they don’t criticise me and I’m even surprised that it has not happened. My parents are actually pastors and they don’t see anything wrong with what I’m doing; they know I’m just doing my job.
Who are your role models and mentors? I was under the mentorship of Koffi for five years. I also look up to Basketmouth.
Is there any discrimination between online comics and stand-up comedians? Yes. Some guys are not really comedians; they just make skits. People like that often steal jokes and use it for skits; and this portrays online comedians in a bad light. Stand-up comedians don’t like that and this often causes misunderstandings between them. I always say that I’m not a social media comedian; I’m a comedian and I can decide to do any style of comedy. I’ve proven it and I’m still trying to let people know that.
What was the reaction of your family members when you decided to take comedy as a full-time job? I didn’t even have to tell them; they were the ones that pushed me to do it. I didn’t have to convince anybody as they already believed in me. The truth is that I’ve never liked school, and my dad understood me. He knows where my strength lies and he encouraged me to go for it.
Why don’t you like school? I like education but I just don’t like the idea of being confined to a building to learn; it restricts me. Surprisingly, my parents were very understanding because they know that my calling is to become a comedian. But my dad just ensured that I studied courses more in line with what I could do, which was why I attended a performance school.
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Mushin, Lagos. But I was born in Anambra State and I spent some time in my village before I came down to Lagos at the age of seven.
Beyond your comedy persona, how would you describe your personality? I’m a gentle guy and I don’t really talk, except I’m with my friends.
How do you unwind? I love playing video games and watching movies. I also play snooker.