– I was completely obsessed with it

Stand-up comedian and actor Jonis Josef (30) is a familiar name to some, but perhaps unknown to others.

He became seriously known through the popular NRK program “Kongen av Gulset”, and has been seen on both the standup stage, as an actor and as a presenter.

Since 2019, he has been listening to the well-known radio program “Character” together with comedian colleagues Martin Lepperød (29) and Henrik Farley (29), which was recently ended.

When TV 2 met Josef to talk about “Kasko”, it is a cheerful but a little stressed man who meets us.

MAIN ROLE: Jonis Josef plays the main role «Jamal» in the new comedy series «Kasko». Photo: Aleksander Myklebyst / TV 2

– Sorry I’m late, but I was working on a project that actually had a deadline yesterday, he continues and smiles.

To say that Joseph has many balls in the air would be a good description of the life of the 30-year-old. This does not mean, however, that his life has been any less eventful before this.

Characters inspired by reality

“Kasko”, which premieres on TV 2 on Saturday 26 February, is not just any project for Josef. In the series, he is both an actor, series creator, screenwriter and producer – and the plot is loosely based on his own life.

– I feel that I owe it to the audience that if I am going to make something, then I must have lived through at least parts of it myself, he states.

Before we sit down to officially start the interview, he asks what I think of the series. I explain what I think, before I highlight Odd-Magnus Williamson (41)’s character «Kjartan».

– Do you understand who he is based on ?, Josef asks me.

– In the?

– I can not say it on camera. But I can tell you afterwards, he says and smiles wisely.

WHO ?: Magnus Williamson's character Kjartan is based on a person that more people should know.  Photo: Hull / TV 2

WHO ?: Magnus Williamson’s character Kjartan is based on a person that more people should know. Photo: Hull / TV 2

– It’s really fun when you think about it. And it’s not that difficult, he continues.

I’ll find out later who Williamson’s character is based on. And Joseph was right – it was not so hard to guess.

Josef plays «Jamal», the main character in «Kasko». Jamal is in his late 20s, and is only concerned with partying, drunkenness and drugs – he has no “drive in life”, according to Josef.

Suddenly, Jamal is informed that he is personally bankrupt, and must therefore get a job. Jamal ends up with a job as an insurance investigator. From now on, chaos, intrigue, and a solid amount of fun scenes develop.

The characters in the series are also loosely based on people he has met in real life. He also has close relationships with several of the actors.

For example, the character “Christian”, played by podcast colleague Henrik Farley, is an insurance colleague who is easy to get caught up in the investigations.

FRIENDS: Both Henrik Farley (left) and Abdullahi Bashir (right) are close friends of Josef.  Photo: Hull / TV 2

FRIENDS: Both Henrik Farley (left) and Abdullahi Bashir (right) are close friends of Josef. Photo: Hull / TV 2

Joseph’s best friend, Abdullahi Bashir, is also in the series. He plays his friend “Abdi”, with whom Jamal lives in the boys’ collective. So there is little doubt that several aspects of the series reflect Joseph’s real life.

Should never be a comedian

– I had no ambitions to pursue humor – at all. I was going to get rich on something else.

For there was no shortage of big dreams in Joseph. When the 30-year-old was younger, he first wanted to become a musician and work in the music industry, before he then wanted to become a football player. According to him, he was not good enough for any of the parts.

He therefore began to study at BI. In the middle of his studies, he got a job as a stockbroker, and therefore dropped out. He made good money – for a few years. Then the mindset began to change.

– I got such a policy that I should only do exactly what I wanted. The worst that could happen was that I was thrown out of my apartment and had no money.

ABSURD: Joseph had never thought this would be his life.  Photo: Aleksander Myklebust / TV 2

ABSURD: Joseph had never thought this would be his life. Photo: Aleksander Myklebust / TV 2

Josef saw a stand-up comedian in Skien, and was enchanted by the whole scheme. He had always thought this was something they have could not do.

But the mindset changed when Joseph saw this particular stand-up comedian, who in his opinion was quite bad.

– The only thing I thought was: “I can do better than him!”, He says and laughs.

Then Josef worked hard to get on stage, which he eventually achieved. He became part of the comedy community, and the ball began to roll by itself.

– I was drawn to the humor scene. I started doing it more and more. I became completely obsessed with it, and did it for a very long time, he says.

Josef says that everything that has come in hindsight, whether it is a podcast or TV series, is all based on standup. He is first and foremost a stand-up comedian – who makes TV.

– You do not think that a Somali boy from Gulset in Skien will make any TV in Norway somehow. That is completely absurd, he says.

Was homeless at one point

In the series, Jamal goes personal bankrupt. He has maxed out too many credit cards, and the bills never stop. The mailbox does not leave him alone. This is usually one person’s biggest nightmare, but also the reality of others.

This became the reality for Josef in 2012. At that time, he himself went bankrupt personally. What was the worst that could happen, it happened. The entire student loan had been converted into debt collection, and he was unable to pay the bills.

– Think about what debt collection is then. You have no money, no? Then you will be punished for paying even more money, it does not matter, Josef stated.

The 30-year-old now worked as a full-time stand-up comedian, and that life was by no means luxurious.

One day when Josef came home to the apartment in Oslo, there was a note on the door. It was from Namsfogden. He had been thrown out of the apartment.

– So I was in a way homeless for a few hours then, he says and smiles a little.

HOMELESS: At worst, Joseph became homeless when he went bankrupt.  Photo: Aleksander Myklebyst / TV 2

HOMELESS: At worst, Joseph became homeless when he went bankrupt. Photo: Aleksander Myklebyst / TV 2

– Standup is not profitable at all. I did standup up in Kirkenes, and at bars in Fauske. I earned 150,000 a year. Cash baby, cash !, he says and laughs.

There are also other things in Jamal’s life that Joseph recognizes himself in. He recognizes himself in the feeling of getting older, but having no desire to grow up.

He recognizes himself in being the only minority in a white workplace. And he recognizes himself in the fear of disappointing the family.

– Fortunately for me, I have managed to come out well on the other side, the 30-year-old states.

Today, Joseph no longer has problems paying his bills. He earns well, and has several projects underway at any one time. But that does not mean that the tax authorities have left him alone.

– I recently received a tax break of NOK 650,000. Exactly the same as Jamal gets in the series. So it was a real “art by accident”, he says.

– It costs a lot to be fine

When we ask Josef what he wants people to bring from the series, he finds it difficult to answer.

– I feel it is a bit up to each individual to interpret it the way they want. To choose for yourself what you put in it.

When we ask what the series means to him, however, it is easier for the 30-year-old to answer.

– For me, this is a description of landing a little on who you are. Making awkward but important choices, which results in a certain joy and a healthier life.

– To put it that way, it costs a lot to be okay. And that’s what I see when I watch the series.

Although his acting career is something he would like to continue working on, he does not think he will appear in too many projects that have nothing to do with himself.

ACTOR: The idea of ​​making money from making humor and television was long gone for Josef, but now it's a reality.  Photo: Hull / TV 2

ACTOR: The idea of ​​making money from making humor and television was long gone for Josef, but now it’s a reality. Photo: Hull / TV 2

– I think it’s fun to create the whole TV universe myself. And as long as I have that privilege, I want to do just that.

– Then we will see what the tax authorities force me to do in 2029, he says and laughs.

Ironically, Josef receives a text message after the interview as he sits and waits for the taxi.

– Now I actually got a casting call for a role in LA. So now I have to go home and submit a casting video.

– Really?

– Yes, so it’s very cool!

KASKO you see on Saturdays at 22.10 on TV 2, and whenever you want on TV 2 Play.

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