TRINIDAD-BORN stand-up comic Arthur Joseph will be one of three contestants spinning the wheel on an episode of the massively-popular US game show, Wheel of Fortune, which airs on February 26.
Joseph will be solving puzzles for a chance to win once-in-a-lifetime vacations and cash prizes as part of “Island Hopping” week.
Joseph, 50, (though he gave Newsday the disclaimer that he does not look it) is a man of many creative hats. As a stand-up comic he performs at Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank, as an actor he has appeared in shows like Good Girls, The Kominsky Method, Burn Notice and Memphis Beat, and he studied elements of Caribbean Dance Styles at the University of the West Indies. He was also a personal vacation planner at Carnival Cruise Line for 12 years before taking a sabbatical to go to California and do some travelling.
Joseph is originally from Fanny Village, Point Fortin, and attended the Point Fortin Senior Secondary and Point Fortin College where he graduated at the top of the school. He grew up watching Wheel of Fortune in the 1980s as he was always a fan of puzzles.
His appearance on Wheel of Fortune is not his first time on a US game show. Two years ago, he appeared on both To Tell the Truth and Let's Make a Deal, and on the latter show, he won US$1,000.
Asked about his decision to audition for Wheel of Fortune, Joseph recalled he saw it online and, not one to lose an opportunity, he applied. The process included an interview and a mock game in which he missed a couple of questions. After a few months passed he thought he was unsuccessful but then while at the grocery he received the confirmation e-mail.
"I was like holy sh--. Did I get chosen? I was screaming in the grocery."
He described the experience of being on-set as "so cool" and it was much smaller than it looks on television. He added the dynamics of the running of the show was very smooth.
"It was something to see."
He recalled he and the other contestants were excited when co-host Vanna White visited them backstage. Joseph also chatted with co-host Pat Sajak and the two traded some jokes which he hoped made it into the episode.
"He was really funny. He was my cup of dry sarcastic humour."
On the day of shooting, he and the other contestants had to practise spinning the wheel in the morning. Joseph recalled after the female contestants spun the wheel he spun it to match their force as he was concerned about breaking it.
"The assistant director said, 'Come on Arthur. You can do better than that. Put some gusto to it. You can't break it.'"
Joseph then spun the wheel with gusto and it went around for a while.
"I spin it like a real Trini man."
He spent the day on the set and sat through the filming of five shows before it was his turn to go on.
Joseph's plan for his potential winnings was to take his mother, who watches Wheel of Fortune religiously, on a vacation back in TT. He explained his 80-something-year-old mother was "locked down" in Florida due to the coronavirus and it was very depressing. He hopes after the pandemic to send her to Trinidad for a week to spend time with relatives.
Joseph himself has not been home for more than four years but wants to return, though he did not want to do a 14-day quarantine.
"Can't it be for five days?"
The Wheel of Fortune episode featuring Joseph airs on ABC.