Majah HypeEXPAND
Majah Hype
Courtesy photo

Majah Hype Is Pushing Caribbean Comedy Into the Mainstream

Comedian Majah Hype is known for creating and playing a range of Caribbean-inspired characters in videos he circulates on YouTube and other social media channels. Hype often plays multiple characters of various nationalities — such as a Grenadian dude and a Guyanese guy — and edits the videos to appear as if he's interacting with variations of himself. That probably sounds like the format of an Eddie Murphy movie, but there's a big difference: The skits are entirely unscripted.

"The funny thing is that everyone assumes that I write these sketches, and I actually don't," he says. "It's basically improv, spirit-of-the-moment comedy. I find a certain inspiration and just go ahead and do it off the top of my head."

Despite proclaiming himself the Caribbean King of Comedy, Hype (real name: Collin Nigel McPherson) doesn't have a background in improv — or standup, for that matter. But he's always been the funny guy in the room, so on a whim, he began posting videos online and eventually gained a sizable following. Within a year of releasing his first skit, booking agents were asking whether he performed standup.

"I was like, 'Yeah, I do standup comedy,' which I had never done," he says. "I was willing to give it a shot. I knew it would make me stand out from everybody who was doing comedy on social media... And I haven't bombed yet."

Having adapted his personas for the stage, Hype will host Caribbean Comedy Night at the Miramar Cultural Center this Friday, June 29, concluding the city's Caribbean-American Heritage Month celebrations. The evening will also include standup sets by Rohan Gunter, Nikki Crosby, and Chris “Johnny” Daley.

In Hype's view, the show is a chance to support up-and-coming Caribbean comics as well as his broader mission of bringing West Indian culture into the mainstream.

"Before I started doing what I'm doing now, there wasn't much of Caribbean comedic presence," he says. "Nobody was representing the entire Caribbean; everyone was representing their own nationality. I felt like there was a gap and something was missing from our community... I want people not to just get familiar with me, but a whole genre that's coming up right now."

He maintains a big presence on social media and spends a lot of time keeping his platforms updated, but he's branching out to more traditional mediums as well. Last month, he announced via Instagram that he was developing a sketch-comedy show for BET called The Majah Hype Show. It will be in the tradition of In Living Color and Chappelle's Show but with a rotating cast of celebrity guests and a West Indian twist, of course. 

"I basically made a cast of comedians who have a presence on social media," he says, "so we can showcase our talents and different sides of ourselves."

Caribbean Comedy Night. With Majah Hype, Rohan Gunter, Nikki Crosby, and Chris “Johnny” Daley. 8 p.m. Friday, June 29, at Miramar Cultural Center, 2400 Civic Center Pl., Miramar; 954-602-4500; miramarculturalcenter.org. Tickets cost $35 to $60 via miramarculturalcenter.org.

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