Joe Clair is a multifaceted entertainer with a career spanning two decades.
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You can call him Joe Cleezy. You can call him J.C. You can call him Mr. Clair. Whatever you call him it is undeniable that Joe Clair is 100%. Whether it is in the comedy game, the hosting thing or acting, this guy definitely gets it in.
Joe Clair first garnered millions of fans, or as he calls them “friends I just don’t know that well”, as host of BET’s Rap City in the mid nineties. He held down the spot for six consecutive years and gave the world hip-hop the way it was supposed to be. Although gone from the show for almost a decade he is still the host all others were compared to.
With a college intellect and a bit of hood swagger, Joe Cleezy, as he was dubbed by Bay Area rapper Richie Rich, delivered interviews and videos daily to the hip hop nation in a fashion befitting the diverse culture. “I thought that Hip-Hop needed a spokesperson that didn’t try to be hip-hop, but just was hip-hop.” Clair says of his stint on the show. “ I didn’t feel that MTV and the other outlets understood how the music and culture was effecting people outside of the tri-state area, so I sought to give voice to everybody. Even if you were the worst rapper in the world, the fact that you made it all the way to my show meant that you deserved a time to shine. As well as your city or hood.” he adds. With the distinction of getting the last television interview that the Notorious B.I.G. gave before his untimely death, Cleezy earned his place as a hip-hop icon. (That interview by the way has gone on to live on the net around the globe and is used by some of the world’s biggest broadcast outlets)
Hosting, while a most notable accomplishment, is just one area where J.C. shines, however. His nighttime gig as a stand-up comic has lined his pockets for years. With appearances all over the country in clubs, colleges and arenas Joe has gained an underground following, some of whom no nothing of his hosting prowess. He is irreverent, witty, crazy, spirited and animated when it comes to the jokes and the mic. That may be why he has had multiple appearances on ‘Def Comedy Jam’ (HBO), ‘Comic Groove’ (Comedy Central), ‘Showtime at the Apollo’ (NBC), Martin Lawrence presents: 1st Amendment Stand-Up (STARZ) and ‘Comic View’ (BET). His television appearances span almost fifteen years and he doesn’t look a day older than he did his first time out.
From New York to Cali he gets it in and he says he will always do the “chittlin’ circuit”. “That’s where it’s too real and you can’t hide behind stardom or fame. The people spend their money and you better make ‘em laugh or you might get hit with a tomato like in the old days!” he says, of his love for the “black” circuit.
If that wasn’t enough Joe Clair has gone on to host two other programs on BET. From 2000 through 2004 he hosted “Madd Sports” where he interviewed sports greats ranging from Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley to Shaq and Kobe. In 2007 he was called on once again by the BET brass to host “Take The Cake”, a nightly game show seen by millions he co-hosted plus size vixen Toccara Jones. He has served as moderator for BET’s ‘Rap-It-Up’ AIDS awareness and prevention campaign for going on seven years. He is a staple at the BET awards and industry shindigs around the country. In other words he gets it in.
Joe Clair has also seen a bit of time in front of the camera as an actor. He has been in a string of movies going back to his college days. While still a junior at Morgan State University he starred in “Axe ‘Em”, a low budget all black horror film. Later he played alongside a young Wood Harris in “Train Ride”, a college tale of a party gone wrong. More recently he starred as the leading man in the DVD hit gospel/romantic comedy “Lord Help Us” and co-stars alongside Lamman Rucker in the upcoming “The Greatest Song”. He has had bit parts on Fox’s “The War at Home” and ABC Family’s “GREEK”. “ I work for myself so I take the parts that come my way. Sometimes they are less than desirable, but it’s good practice for when I get a shot a good part.” Very notably Cleezy has racked up dozens of national commercials for products that run the gambit of the ad world. These have served to keep him busy and in the public eye. He was even featured as himself in a national McDonald’s campaign that ran for two consecutive years. When asked why he continues acting despite not having any major movie or television roles he says, “This entertainment game is a hustle just like anything else. If you know you’ve got the good product keep hustlin’ it ‘til the world takes notice. And when they do, bill ‘em. My commercial agents were the only ones to take a chance on me so I go and kill it for them. No it’s not movies or a sit-com but it’s cool as hell to see myself pop up in the middle of the NBA Finals or while I’m in bed with my wife and I’ve left the TV on.”
With all of this under his belt, Joe Cleezy was a long time host of Showtime on Sunset every Tuesday night at the World Famous Comedy Store on LA’s Sunset strip. He produced “The Minority Report Comedy Tour”; a tour/show that features him and four of his comedy buddies. In August of 2009 ‘The Gospel Comedy All-Stars II’ hit stores nationwide with installment three hitting stores early 2010. Joe serves as host for these two hilarious ‘clean’ comedy concert DVDs. Meanwhile he spends his spare time exploiting his entrepreneurial spirit exploring other business ventures including a digital internet/TV/radio studio in Beverly Hills.
If you don’t know Joe Clair, you should. He is one hell of a guy and he is spelling that out with a career and life that truly express what it means to get it in.