'Jookie Jam'-serving up more than laughter
QUEENS, New York:
The well-known actor from the Shebada series, whose real name is Stede Flash, does not only fit the laid-back, cool-dude persona implicit of his popular name - Jookie Jam.
Instead, like a circus act, he is an astute professional juggling time to near perfection, while covering hundreds of miles over two jobs.
Recently, Flash was busy at the popular Jamaican restaurant in Queen's - The Door, working as one of the waiters at a welcome reception hosted by the Children of Jamaica Outreach (COJO) for its 2015 Gala Guest of Honour - Veronica Campbell-Brown.
At first, one may have been led to believe he had given up on acting. "It's not a transition. Even though I was acting, I was doing this job before," he told Outlook. "I was in the Poconos from 2003 until 2007, that's where I did most of the culinary stuff. So even when I was working in the Poconos in the summer, I always came to Jamaica and do plays in the winter time. So I've been doing the two jobs about seven to eight years now."
Balancing both, he said, isn't difficult. "It's kind of easy. For this waiter job that I'm doing now at The Door, I must give thanks to the management of The Door to open their arms and bring me in because I'm a people person, I love serving the Jamaican people. This job that I'm doing I love doing it so much, even though I'm doing plays. I have a passion for both of them."
Do patrons recognise you from the plays?
"Yeah, a lot," he exclaimed.
How do they react?
"'Jookie Jam, yaaaayyy! I'm glad to see you!', and I take a lot of pictures everyday. They're happy to see me, they see me on stage, but they don't get to talk to me. But here, I'm serving them and they feel so good," he admitted.
"I feel superb knowing that I'm giving back to them by serving them food and telling them about food because, personally, I love to cook. I did it in school also, so it's my joy telling people about the food and stuff like that," noted the former Excelsior High student, who graduated in the mid-80s.
He added: "In the same breath, we talk about plays and what I'm doing next because I'm still doing plays. I'm actually going to Florida tomorrow morning to do a show in Florida and I'll be back here on the job on Monday morning."
What's the play called?
"Three Old Goats. It's about three brothers, three lawyers. Their wives are divorcing them and they are fighting as their wives are swindling them out of the marriage," he explained. "It's a nice play and it's for the church that they're keeping it, so I do some work for the church too."
His latter divulgence demanded the question.
Are you a Christian?
"No, not yet, not fully, but I go to church every now and then when I have the time to do that," said Flash, who then outlined another of the measures that synchronises his professions.
"What they do is they send me the script, so when I have ample time, I do the script work. So I'd call them on the phone and we'd do lines verse and stuff like that."
That's for the 'Jookie Jam' role. It's not just a cool-guy business.