chris rock

June 9, 2016 2:30 pm

I’ve been using Tidal for a few months now. When I first joined, I thought that it’s horribleness was just a meme meant to make fun of Jay-Z and the product itself wouldn’t be so bad. As it turns out, all of the hype is to be believed. Tidal is horrible. I don’t even want to go into detail about it, please, just take my word for it. Do not use Tidal. Jay-Z, one of my all time favorite rappers, had lead me down a rotten path.

But because I’m lazy, and because I know he’s gonna get Kanye too keep Cruel Winter exclusive to Tidal for at least a month, I’m sticking with the misery like a 1950s marriage. Ever since I’ve drastically lowered my standards, it’s actually been pretty okay, kinda! So when the Brooklyn rapper’s streaming service kept sending me alerts last week, insisting that I listen to Pusha T’s new single “Drug Dealers Anonymous” featuring Jay-Z, I naturally obliged.

What followed that was a less than an ideal experience. Holding up his end of the Drug Dealer bargain, Pusha had his exemplary cocaine kingpin raps front and center as usual and I was grateful for every second of it. After Pusha came Jay-Z, which is when things got ugly.

Having already expressed some real hatred over hashtags and retweets on his last record, Jay is no stranger to showing flashes of his true corny middle aged dad self. However, that was three years ago, and all of his paternal cantankerousness was spread across Magna Carta Holy Grail well enough for it to be a non-issue. His Corny Dad levels have increased dramatically since then, though. He is now fully infected with Corniness.

The verse Jay had on “Drug Dealers Anonymous” was ripe with a myriad of ‘Back In My Days’ to choose from, as well as an attempt to reach out to us snake people™ by ending it with him saying “Damn, Daniel” in an all too sincere fashion. Yes, “Damn, Daniel.” The internet meme that has swept the nation. And to counterbalance that, he went into the Hip Slang time machine to retrieve ‘Bling Bling’ from 1999 a few lines prior. It was rough. And that’s without even even mentioning the ‘Google Me, Baby’ part.


Seriously, it was rough.

To put it lightly, 2016 hasn’t been the best year for Jay. It’s bad enough that he’s lost his touch as a rapper and Tidal continues to get nothing but venom from the masses, but after Beyonce released Lemonade, her world-stopping, deeply personal memoir of an album about unfaithfulness, his image has taken quite a few blows. If we kept track of rapper approval ratings, his would be at Bush levels right about now.

What he needs is a shift in tone. It would tarnish his legacy if he tries to release another album, or if he continues jumping on these tracks, only to embarrass himself. His now rampant Corny Dad aesthetic does not mesh well in the world of Hip-Hop, but there are other outlets more accommodating to this behavior that needs to be embraced as a way to build up some much needed love.

It’s possible he can redeem himself by simply coming off as a relatable father who makes uncomfortable jokes and wears questionable clothing. None of this is a stretch for him. So what can he possibly do to help him be seen as this new persona to the public eye? Simple: star in the next Grown Ups film.

grown ups 2 poster 1For those who don’t know, Grown Ups a huge buddy comedy centered around Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, and David Spade. They all each have a wife, kids, or at least some type of adult responsibility, which is crazy because, like, they’re still basically kids themselves! And boy, oh boy, when they get together, it’s like they’re back in high school all over again. Whether it’s having fun  objectifying their friend’s daughter as a group activity, or public urination, these guys know how to let loose.

Also, if you’re into a little more ‘headier’ comedy, don’t worry, Sandman and Co. have just the thing for ya: Toe based puns! Seriously, nothing makes me smile more than seeing Chris Rock, one of the most thought provoking stand-up comedians of all time, call his mean step-mother ‘Toe-bocop.’ You know, like Robocop, the Peter Weller vehicle. I’ve seen each Grown Ups movie at least 10 times.

I honestly have no clue if they’re even planning on making a Grown Ups 3, this is is all speculation. But if they ever do decide to go for the trifecta, adding Jay-Z to the fold would give this franchise brand new legs. Just imagine all the stale ’99 Problems’ jokes they’d let fly without consequence, never leaving out his penchant for ‘Back In My Day’-ing. Would Jay be able to bring his buddy Memphis Bleek along for the ride? Grown Ups can be the one hit Bleek’s been missing his whole career.

And perhaps the most important benefit here is that it would be hard for the outside world to view Jay as a sexual entity after 90+ minutes of slapsticky pratfalls and inane fart jokes. From a multitude of personal experience, I know this to be true. Beyonce will never have to worry about another affair after Jay unwittingly eats a sandwich that David Spade sneakily put dog poop in after he pulled off a successful “made you look” as a distraction. This seems like a win-win.

By choosing to hone in on a softer, more affable side to his personality, Jay-Z would do wonders rebuilding his good name. Right now, he’s nothing more than a cheating entrepreneur who probably wears a fanny pack when he raps. All he has to do now is stop the rapping and embrace the fanny pack. Giving up being cool can be challenging for someone of Jay-Z’s stature. Thankfully, the entire cast of Grown Ups knows exactly what he’d be going through, as they’ve been through it themselves.

April 1, 2016 2:02 pm

On the surface, music and comedy share a great deal of similar DNA when it comes to their craft and how they present their work. But humans share about 80% of the same DNA with the duck billed platypus, yet very few of us look like the end result of a drunk scientist trying to put a rubberized handle on a beaver. So while comedy may not get the credit it deserves as an art form, it winds up opening a considerable lane for it to make fun of a lot of institutions that become very stuffy from how overly revered the artists get. Music is one of the leaders in stuffiness, which is why I always take great joy when a comedian is able to adeptly insult the medium in an incisive way. Here are a few of my favorite examples:

Chris Rock – Defending Rap Music

I’m limiting this list to one joke per comedian because if I didn’t, it would just be a collection of funny Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle bits. They’re seriously lightyears ahead of any other comedian on music. And the way Rock is able to combat the issue of rap being taken seriously from all these different angles is genius. It’s a conversation every rap fan has had to have at one point, and the only defense for a lot of rap songs are that it sounds fucking dope. As a person who lives in a very politically aware climate of 2016, it could lead to a lot of inner conflict. But most of that inner conflict falls by the wayside when it’s 1AM at the bar.

Andy Kaufman – Underdog

Trying to explain why an Andy Kaufman joke is funny leads down a snobbish rabbit’s hole. You’ll either think his coyish attempt to lip sync the lyrics to the Underdog theme song is hilarious or corny. I agree with both sides wholeheartedly.

Hannibal Buress – Odd Future and Young Jeezy

First, Young Jeezy as a real estate agent needs its own HGTV show pronto. Second, Hannibal Buress is able to get to the crux of Odd Future’s faux-edginess better than any credited music critic. Third, spam email is the worstest.

Tig Notaro – Taylor Dayne

Tig’s deadpan delivery is at its best in this 11 minute epic about her frequent run-ins with ‘80s pop star Taylor Dayne. And Taylor Dayne never remembered Tig, despite her deliberately saying the same exact thing to Taylor Dayne each time: “Excuse me. I’m Sorry to bother you. But I just have to tell you. I love your voice.” That’s just the life of an ‘80s pop star, guys. Alt-comedian icons come out in droves just to compliment you. It’s hard to tell them apart after a while.

Eddie Murphy – James Brown

A lot of Eddie Murphy’s stand-up material from the ‘80s would be ripe for Tumblr blog post fodder, but there’s no denying how he’s able completely become the figure he’s impersonating, from the voice to their little idiosyncrasies. Murphy’s James Brown impression is arguably his best and has contributed to the unparalleled success he had on SNL. It was such a good impression that Brown himself wanted Murphy to play him in a biopic.

Mindy Kaling – Illegally Downloading Music

Although she isn’t known as a stand-up, I always loved Mindy Kaling’s joke about online piracy when she performed it at Comedy Death Ray. The bit is a little obsolete now, but it takes me back to those halcyon days of Limewire when I would download incorrectly titled Taking Back Sunday songs and give my laptop about a billion viruses in the process.

Matt Braunger – Jim Morrison

This cartoon of Jim Morrison riding shotgun, drunkenly crooning about whoppers is an indispensable visual aid for people who might find themselves in a contentious situation with a Doors fan. It’s an unenviable position that oftentimes leads a lot of gobbledegook poetry being read aloud. Let the animated Lizard King serve as a distraction and leave the scene immediately.

John Mulaney – Salt And Pepper Diner

One day, John Mulaney and his friend decided to use the music from Tom Jones in an impromptu psych experiment on an unsuspecting diner full of innocent families and possible schizophrenics. What exactly would happen if you play ‘What’s New Pussycat’ over and over and over again? Well, a lot of madness.

Aziz Ansari – Kanye West

Examining Kanye as a character become an everyday sport at this point, but very few people could say they were able to experience The Kanye up close and personal. And since Aziz is a complete outsider to Kanye’s world, he was able to magnify all the tiny, little, crazy things Kanye seemingly does on an everyday basis and thinks nothing of it.

Dana Gould – Clown Fucker (A Morrissey Tribute)

From the pretentious vocabulary, to the dark sing-songiness, Dana Gould creates the quintessential Morrissey parody with Clown Fucker. The crowd even gets in on the fun, and joins him for the final chorus. I’m assuming Morrissey’s never heard this joke, which is a shame because it would be a treat to read his pithy hate statement about the whole thing.

Dave Chappelle – Prince

Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories: Prince from Anthony Dufrense on Vimeo.

I’m counting this as stand-up because not having one of the Charlie Murphy related stories on a list like this would be criminal. Every word Chappelle says as Prince has been quoted hard from day one. You really couldn’t go one pick-up game in the mid-00s without hearing something along the lines of ‘shoot the J.. shoot it!” or “game: Blouses.” And Murphy’s fully engaged narration sets the tone perfectly throughout.