Cash Money to Funny: It’s Rap Comedy
By Meg McCarthy
Its SNL digital short time and we are all praying for a Lonely Island video. The group consists of Andy Samberg, Akiva Shaffer, and Jorma Taccone. The three white nerds make us pee in our pants with their comedic hip-hop music videos. I almost got into a little fender bender on Sunset Boulevard after giggling so much at a billboard featuring the three of them in turtlenecks and gold chains. There’s something so delightfully hilarious about watching people attempt to be gangster.
Watching nerds rap is just too much fun. Richard Scribe, star of Koldcast TV’s smart comedy series White Collar Poet, is the quintessential nerd who has no business rapping. Richard is an insurance broker – enough said. In the episode “Banging On The Couch”, we find out what led Richard to become a slam poet: his wife Gloria left him for Tim, a dumb artist. Who cares if Tim is dumb as a rock? Gloria wants a man in touch with his artistic side.
You’re watching White Collar Poet – “Banging On The Couch”
Be Yourself or Stay on the Shelf
Left broken and alone, Richard finds his true calling as the white-collar poet. The lanky red-head hits the streets rapping about really gangster topics like the stock market, being a broker, and similar white-collar issues. Richard is not trying to be a hip-hop star, but is simply trying to find his own form of expression. “Banging On The Couch” begins with him on the streets, sharing his art with two very confused pedestrians.
“So, I know whatcha thinkin’, I’m just another suit and tie. Don’t judge this book by its cover, cuz just like transformers there’s more to me than meets the eye. I write more rhymes than I write checks, and my checkbook is thicker than Kanye West. But I don’t rhyme for money, I do it to spread the truth. And I don’t rock gold chains. I don’t rock a gold tooth.”
Although Richard’s lyrics seem ridiculous and laughable, he delivers his rhymes with such honesty, it’s hard not to root for him. You’re not laughing at him, but with him.
Mad Hits for Short Bits
White Collar Poet is the first Internet TV series built around the comedic rap genre we have come to love so much. Lonely Island is just one example of many groups who have jumped on board the funny cash money train. The Internet is filled with comedic hip-hoppers. Groups like Fog and Smog got millions of hits with their “Whole Foods Parking Lot” video. Epic Rap Battles of History got just as many from their latest video, “Mario Bros vs. Wright Bros.” Even the SNL digital short of Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman rapping about her days at Harvard has gotten over 5 million hits on YouTube. Who knew she was such a rebel?
FOG AND SMOG “WHOLE FOODS PARKING LOT” EMBED
Parody Old as You and Me
This genre wasn’t born on the Internet. Back in 1984 Weird Al released “Eat It” and NOBODY was doing anything similar at the time. Since then, Al has become synonymous with the parody genre. His style is timeless. He was just seen on 30 Rock performing a parody of Jenna Malone’s made-for-TV song. Weird Al was the precursor to today’s YouTube parody stars and parodies were just the beginning of what would turn into the new hotness, comedic hip-hop.
WEIRD AL “EAT IT” EMBED
Before the Noise Came the Beastie Boys
Let’s trace this mother effer back to the 1980’s. The Beastie Boys came out with Licensed to Ill in 1986. The former punk band switched it up to hip-hop in 1984 and I’d say that was a pretty good decision on their part. Now, I don’t necessarily think The Beastie Boys are HA HA funny musicians – they were a part of the new school of hip-hop, who unlike their predecessors, had a who-the-hell-cares-let’s-just-party, mainstream kind of sound. Traditionally, rap lyrics express the artist’s anger, frustrations, and fears.
The Beastie Boys took a different approach. They got laughs with their clever rhymes and obscure lyrics like “Brass monkey that funky monkey,” further tapping into our youth-culture. This new style opened the door for a bunch of unlikely contenders to arrive on the hip-hop scene.
BEASTIE BOYS “FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT (TO PARTY)” EMBED
Up Next was Das EFX
Jump to 1992 and Das EFX has just released their album Dead Serious. Das EFX introduced a whole new lingo using words such as “iggedy.” Like the Beastie Boys, they took the liberty to have a little fun. Their quirky style struck a chord with comedians such as Will Smith and Dave Chappelle. The group was featured on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and later, when Chappelle was at the top of his game with Chappelle’s Show, he would frequently use Das EFX lyrics in his sketches. Once as President Bush making a speech, another as news anchor delivering a special report, and even a heart-throbbing teenager declaring to his girlfriend, “I riggity-realize that I liggity-love you”.
Eminem Upended Them
When Eminem’s not busy scaring us with stories of killing his wife, he is quite the comedian. His early hits, like “The Real Slim Shady”, are full with comedy gold:
“So you can sit me next to Britney Spears? Shit, Christina Aguilera better switch me chairs so I can sit next to Carson Daly and Fred Durst and hear ‘em argue over who she gave head to first.”
Those lyrics are so juicy they could easily be part of a stand up act. Not only was the song great and hilarious on its own, the music video added a whole other comedic layer. Eminem’s pop culture commentaries opened the door for satirical hip-hop. He got a lot of flack for acting black, so even though he had the rap credentials, he had to embrace the taboos of being a white rapper. Embracing who you are unapologetically is the key to being a good comedic performer. Hamming up what you already have makes for some pretty funny stuff. It’s like Weird Al says, “Look at me I’m white n’ nerdy!”
EMINEM “REAL SLIM SHADY” EMBED
We love watching people surprise us with the unexpected. Richard Scribe contradicts our idea of traditional rap music. Progressing such a specific genre as hip-hop is funny! The last person you would expect to bust out a rhyme is Richard Scribe, so when he transforms into the white color poet fervently performing slam poetry, we just can’t look away.
Meg McCarthy moved to Los Angeles three years ago after graduating from the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. She is somewhat of a triple threat. She acts, directs, and of course, writes. Most recently, Meg has completed her first animated short that she wrote and directed. Most importantly, she is a diehard Al Pacino fan, Whoo-Ah!