Josh2Funny: A Trend At A Time
At first glance, Josh Alfred is your average Joe and you may even easily forget his face in a crowd. However, one cannot say the same for his comic character, Josh2Funny.
When Josh walks into The Guardian Studios on this rainy afternoon, it is hard to picture this seemingly reserved young man as the boisterous character with larger than life personas on the screen.
His seemingly reserved nature quickly gives way to his spontaneous and playful side as soon as his photoshoot begins. He appears in his element as he makes funny faces and poses for the camera. These funny faces are part of his art and any onlooker can tell that this is him, this is Josh2Funny.
Comedian, actor and singer are his taglines on Wikipedia but one doesn’t need to go that far to realise these things. Watching him romance the camera is enough to set you laughing and holding your ribs while the dexterity with which he changes his facial expressions to the direction of the photographer speaks of the actor within.
Credited with two global trends, the first one was “All My Guys Are Ballers Challenge,” the audition-based skit and the more recent “Don’t Leave Me Challenge” that relies on a play on words (pun). The “Don’t Leave Me Challenge” has had many local and international stars alike jump on it and has been viewed over 100 million times on social media platforms and earned him features on Time and CNN.
For a trend so huge, Josh2Funny says it wasn’t planned and he never expected it to become a big deal as it did. Just like the “All My Guys Are Ballers” challenge, the global acceptance was unprecedented.
Unknown to many, the “Don’t Leave Me Challenge” didn’t start in 2020, it goes as far back as 2018 but the video that made it go viral was posted on March 24 this year.
Opportunities come for those who are prepared and while Josh2Funny wasn’t expecting the fame and success of the “Don’t Leave Me Challenge,” he was adequately prepared for it.
Capitalising on the success of the challenge, earlier this month, he turned the challenge into music and released a “Don’t Leave Me” song that people can dance to. His versatility to be more than just an Instagram comedian as many see him continues to pay off and he plans on retaining the attention of the world by being more deliberate with his art.
He says the global attention is something he has always craved because of how much he puts into his work creating different characters. Now that his hard work is paying off, his goal is to ensure that they see other sides of his talents while he also continues to improve himself to deliver better. After all, this is his most rewarding moment yet and he doesn’t plan on relaxing.
Drawing From Reality
Josh’s versatility as a comedian is evidenced in his many comic characters like the popular Josh2Funny, Mama Felicia, Juga, TTP, Brother Zakius among others. But does he have a favourite of these characters? His answer is no. Why? You may ask. He explains that all his characters are drawn from his reality and has affected him in one way or the other.
An example of a character that reflects his reality in his viral line, “Gbas Gbos.” He says the character came to live as a representation of the way many street urchins behave in Mushin.
Drawing again from his pool of life experiences birthed the character of Brother Zakius, one of his characters who wears brightly coloured oversized suits. With Brother Zakius, Josh attempts to depict an Igbo choirmaster with an accent who tries to get the songs right and gets them wrong. He connects with this character because he lived with a lot of people who had similar accents and also reminds him of his time in the choir.
“I would easily say the ones I don’t connect with as against the ones I connect with. The only one I might not connect with is Mama Felicia because it is quite difficult playing the role of a lady as a man. That is the only one I can say takes me time to get into that character.”
A Break From Jokes
For those who think, Josh2Funny’s success happened overnight, he elaborates his struggles as an up and coming artist with his comic character, Tunde Tupac (TTP).
“I have always been an upcoming artist so it is easy to relate with TTP. I know what it means to try and prove to people that you can sing even when you are singing rubbish which is what TTP is about.”
His time as a TTP when he was still trying to find his footing saw him working as a music producer and he even owned a studio in Mushin, Lagos.
He produced for the likes of Terry Apala and Oxlade at the time and despite his music career not taking off, he didn’t give up. In 2019, he released his sophomore album, A Break From Jokes and followed it up with the satirical TheUpsideDown, which turned popular songs upside down. He explains in a previous interview with Pulse,
“I don’t really want to be seen as an artist, but I want people to know this other side of me and the things I have to say – like the topic of patience. I am not going for commercial success – if it blows, fine o, but that is not my goal. I just want to have a discography.”
He proved the other side to him when in February this year, he headlined his first music-comedy show “All Of Me” at Eko Hotel. The show featured other comedians and asides his comedy, he also brought his musical talent to the fore. He explained that the show was 70% music performance and 30% comedy.
Josh2Funny is proud to have worked with some of the biggest names in the Nigerian comedy industry. Having worked with the likes of Basketmouth and AY, he hopes that he would someday get an opportunity to work with international stars like Tyler Perry and Kevin Hart.
A Word For The Wise
In an industry where new talent crops up almost daily, it is becoming harder and harder to make a breakthrough and that’s why Josh says he continues to create.
His creation includes always coming up with new characters that the audience can relate to. By giving them something new with each character, he stays relevant and his next act is not easily predictable. While the audience fell in love with Josh2Funny, they have other characters to relate to and connect with other than that.
He believes that this constant creativity and hard work stands him apart from the rest.
He also tries to steer clear of controversy, this he explains by saying that he ensures he keeps his content clean from vulgar and derogatory elements. These are sensitive times where just one wrong move could mar a career, hence he makes sure that his content focuses on value.
As for those trying to break into the industry, he advises:
“Don’t chase followers because if you do, you will keep chasing them. You can get a billion followers but drop in value. When you fix your mind in getting better at what you do, then you will rise in value. If followers come and you have nothing to give, they will leave. Realise yourself [potential], go after value, develop your passion and do it till you die!”
It is tempting to want to say “Don’t Leave Me” in his final words but then something assures this interviewer that Josh is around to stay for a long while. Should he continue with his current streak, we can surely expect to see more of him.