It’s hard to imagine Jaquay Adderley as shy and reserved, but he literally did not realize his comedic side until nine years ago, and now he’s one of the most sought-after comics, actors and event hosts in The Bahamas.
Whether you know him by his government name – Jaquay Adderley – or any of his alter egos, that includes Das Quay or Bertrum Oh Bubbler, he’s says they’re all one and different sides at the same time.
“Jaquay Adderley is the brain, the more creative, the businessman, the leader… Das Quay is the social media comedian for online Bahamian comedy and Bertrum Oh Bubbler is an entertainer and host – he’s the MC extraordinaire.”
He’s so popular, he currently has eight commercials running on television at this point in time and is one of those persons who is constantly being booked.
With his popularity, it’s hard to believe that Adderley did not grow up cracking jokes and being the class clown in school. It’s even harder to realize that he didn’t grow up in a family of clowns that cracked jokes all the time, from whom he learnt.
“My family is laid-back,” he said. “Of course, every family has those internal family jokes, but there was no clear clown or jokester of the family.”
Prior to his turn in the spotlight, Adderley led a boring existence working as a security officer, which entailed him stamping papers and creating identifications for people to enter a port. He held that job for five years, but felt unfulfilled during most of it, because he says he felt there was more he could have done.
Adderley, who has graphic artist capabilities, saw his life take a turn in 2010, after he posted a spoof video of an Old Spice commercial, which caught the attention of Tyrone Burrows from Collage Entertainment – from the wildly famous “Stop Likin’ Man” comedy troupe – who reached out to him and asked him if he wanted to be a part of their team. Adderley agreed.
“That’s when I got attached to a community of clowns, creative people, and when I started to get my initial insight into this thing called entertainment – gospel entertainment, stage entertainment and social media entertainment,” he said. “So, it literally wasn’t until I started going around them that that side of me started to come out – the clown side, crackin’ jokes and gettin’ off. That started to develop, from being around them and being in videos and stuff.”
Four years after he started doing Collage videos, a friend asked him to host a gospel concert. Adderley was hesitant and even suggested his friend get Miss Daisy to host.
“I was afraid, because I didn’t feel I was ready. I told him, why you don’t get Miss Daisy, she’s a host, she’s the person out there doing that. I didn’t see myself in that light. I turned him down.”
Eventually, after much urging, Adderley agreed to host the event, but stepping onto that stage wasn’t easy for him. He recalled being seriously scared.
“But I did it, and persons loved it, and from 2014, that’s when the hosting side of me started to come out.”
He then started to look more into the delivery of comedy and hosting skills, looking to improve his joke-telling, his “flow” – and becoming personable with the crowd.
“I started doing research and diving into my craft that I’d unlocked. Then I married the two with what I learnt from Collage and experienced from being a host at this concert, and that’s when the funny and confidence, and the skills and everything started to grow, and doors just started opening for me from there.”
But of course, he was restricted in his bookings, which he could only accept on Fridays and Saturdays, as those were his only free times due to his boring, mind-numbing day job. He started to get frustrated and said that’s when he knew there was more for him than just settling for the nine to five that he was on.
He quit that job in February 2018 and he said things have been amazing and non-stop since then.
“It hasn’t slowed down and it hasn’t hit any low points. If anything, demand has just increased, and the new face of comedy was really accepted, and it shows through my work and all the commercials I’m in. I’m in like eight commercials that are on TV right now.”
His constant work, he said, shows that people appreciate and admire his style of comedy. That’s even helped develop his personality. He feels he’s now a clown on and off stage to his friends.
“You can catch me at any point, and you’d get a laugh from me,” he said. “It isn’t for show.”
It’s hard to imagine the Adderley of today as the shy, keep-to-himself kid.
He loves routines that people know they can relate to and are nostalgic.
“It’s funny – and even brings comedic relief to tough situations, like for example, the BPL saga we have going on. I have a song out called ‘Current Off Dred’ from two years ago that’s still relevant and viral today with over 143,000 views and shirts that go along with it that persons are buying. It’s more of entertaining the Bahamian crowd, being relevant to them, hitting perspectives that no other comedian is hitting, and also just entertaining them.”
Case-in-point, I was trying to reach Adderley, but his voicemail picked up, and his message left me in stitches: “Hey, sorry I missed your call… either my current off or the sun just too hot. You know when the sun hot you is don’t feel like doing nothing. Leave a message and I’ll get back to you. Stay happy. Keep smiling. Live your best life.”
In the one year he’s been doing his comedy, hosting and acting full-time, he’s also hit some big stages – the biggest so far, he said, has been an appearance in the Turks and Caicos Islands, which he was nervous going into.
“I was nervous that they wouldn’t understand my style of jokes because it’s mainly pertaining to Bahamian people – or that’s what I thought until I went there and heard them speak; I said boy y’all is Bahamians, why I just learning ‘bout y’all? That was shocking for me, and then for them to receive my jokes and be laughing, that was very surprising to me.”
He’s also taken a turn as an MC for a Jamaican comedy show, and took to stages for Youth Alive at BFM and Fam Fest, as well as hosted the Elevation Awards.
In terms of comedy, he aspires towards building an entertainment network where young people can have a platform to assist with their creativity and doing what they love through their expressions.
When he’s not the focus of attention and dropping jokes, he helps others produce and create.
“I want to help other persons, especially young persons, bring out their gifts and to have a platform where they can express it – whether it’s comedy, drama.”
As for his influences, Adderley says American stand-up comedian, actor and producer Kevin Hart has his heart and literally makes him cry with laughter; and American actor, playwright, filmmaker and comedian Tyler Perry is his inspiration when it comes to theatre and acting. On the local front, he says Miss Daisy was his biggest influencer.
“When she retired she actually passed the mantle to me during what we thought was her final stage play.” She’s since made a return. “She’s someone I look up to and really love her style and her appearance.”
Adderley actually says his Bertum Oh Bubbler character’s dress code was inspired by her as far as her attire – two different shoes, different colors, red hair; and that the character’s voice, which has a rasp to it, was inspired by his pastor, Bishop Neil C. Ellis at Mount Tabor Church.