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Writer/Director Eric Appel Calls UCBT Comedy College In Interview with Huffington Post

Feb 27, 2015


Comedy's Bright Future: How Funny or Die Is Changing the Game One Megan Fox PSA at a Time


We might be standing at the precipice of a golden era of comedy care of the good people at Funny or Die. By masterfully using the gigantic web platform to create worthwhile and relevant comedic content, FOD is emerging as the king of Internet funny, and a proving ground for new comedic talent. The website has seemed to place itself directly at the intersection of comedy and commerce, and the results are both entertaining and sexy.

You probably saw the very funny PSA about California school budget cuts starring Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green, and chances are you liked it because it's both informative and entertaining. It tackles an important issue with great humor and features a major Hollywood star - all in a day's work for writer/director Eric Appel at Funny or Die. I got a chance to sit with Eric, the director of the video, and what I learned was down right exciting. Comedy fans, listen up: we are in good hands. Young people like Eric Appel represent comedy's bright future.

Hot for Teachers w/ Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green from Megan Fox

The folks at FOD have created the ultimate breeding ground for new comedic voices. It's an institution, as brilliant as it is incestuous (there don't seem to be two people involved that didn't take a UCB class together at some point). The whole thing kind of reminds me of the X-Men. Adam McKay and Will Ferrell are both like Professor Xavier - curators of a school for the gifted.

Check out the very interesting conversation I had with Eric below. We talk about the time Marion Cotillard sent him a box of fart jokes, the Megan Fox video, and the state of comedy. He tells me about the importance of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, about his new sketch show called This Show Will Get You High and the time he dressed up Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul as Weird Al Yankovic. I came into the conversation thinking I was meeting a guy who made a funny Internet video, but I left certain I had met a filmmaker that is emblematic of the future the Hollywood system.

We also recorded the interview on an iPad. Surely we made history there. You're welcome, Arianna.

NK: Tell me about this Megan Fox thing. How did it come to be?

EA: There's this guy named John Koch that works at IDPR. I met John because he was actually doing publicity for Pee-wee Herman and I did this Pee-wee Herman iPad Video. We had this great experience working with Peewee and a month or so later he approached me about this PSA thing. His kid goes to Wonderland elementary school. He told me that Brian Austin Green's kid also goes to the school, and he wanted to do something to raise awareness for the fact that Arnold was going to cut all this money from school budgets. He wanted to use Funny or Die to get a lot of eyes on it. Megan Fox did it because her boyfriend's kid went to the school -- but she was so great and funny, she brought so much.

NK: I think about going to work at Funny or Die and I imagine everyone putting Whoopee cushions under people's seats. What's it like to work there?

EA:
Wanna hear something funny? We actually did put Whoopee cushions under people recently. We did this video with Marion Cotillard called 'Forehead Tittaes.' After, she sent our office a giant box of fart toys. Oscar winner Marion Cottillard sent us a whole bunch of novelty fart items.

NK: She just went from being the most beautiful woman in the world to the most perfect.

EA
: Exactly.

NK: So all these big actors and personalities just want to do funny stuff?

EA: They come into Funny or Die and they say, 'make me look funny.' We're lucky. It's kind of like the new Saturday Night Live.

NK: Who else have you gotten the chance to work with?

EA: My big checkmark system is that I'm knocking off these childhood heroes that I'm working with. I did my Pee Wee Herman video, which was mind blowing because I was the biggest Pee Wee Herman fan as a kid. Even when I was a teenager and all the playhouse VHS tapes came out I, bought the entire box set. I got to work with Christopher Lloyd. Basically, I got to work with Doc Brown, Pee Wee Herman, and Weird Al all within the same year.

NK: Can you speak to the changing nature of a young comedy director's trajectory? In the past, you'd make a short, try to get you're name out there, then tried to get hired on a studio movie. How is different with these new platforms like Funny or Die? Is it easier for young people or is has it become diluted? Is more exposure good exposure?

EA:
I think more exposure is good exposure as long as it's the right exposure. You have to be doing good work. A lot of people say that YouTube is diluting things. Well no, because there are only so many good videos.

NK: It seems like the moment you try to 'crack' something viral, you totally miss the point.

EA: Right. You never know what's going to work. I remember a video I did a while ago. We thought we were going to create the ultimate viral video - the perfect storm. There was a famous person, it was about a political thing, everyone was going to watch it. It got 40k views, which is a small number compared to other stuff we've done. We thought a million people would see it.

NK: It's the same thing with movies; you can't imitate lightning in a bottle.

EA:
It has to be new and fresh. Just do something that makes you laugh. That's always been my philosophy. If I think it's funny and I think it's interesting then hopefully other people will be on board with that.

NK: How did you end up at this amazing community of funny people?

EA:
I went to school to be an animator. I always fucked around with my friends and made videos, and then when I was in school for animation, I realized I didn't want to slave over a drawing board the whole day. What I really wanted to do was be writing and directing this stuff. I got involved with this improv show in Pittsburgh called 'Friday Night Improv' in the basement of the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh. It was this Friday night show where anybody could get up on stage and do improv. I started going to that every week and made a bunch of friends there. I started getting into the UCB, I went to visit my Dad in the city and saw 'Asscat,' the Sunday night show. IT was the UCB four (Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, Matt Besser, Matt Walsh) and Horatio Sanz. It blew my mind. I thought, 'This is where I want to be.' I graduated school, moved to the city and started taking UCB classes. That's where it all started. That's where I met everybody that I'm working with today. We all grew together. My teachers were Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel and Rob Riggle. Then they broke out first and moved to LA and started showing up on TV.

NK: All these truly funny people. It's a good era for comedy.

EA:
It's so crazy. And now my generation is coming up. Donald Glover and Ben Schwartz, Katy Dippold, who writes for Parks and Recreation. There are all these young, great funny people out there. It's a great time for comedy. We all came up together; my first writing gig was for the Andy Milonakis show. That was from UCB too. Andy I met in level 1 class at UCB in 2002. Then we ended up living together. Then Andy got discovered by Jimmy Kimmel. He got his TV show and I asked if I could submit to be a writer. I ended up staying for three seasons. Then I wrote for Crank Yankers, also for Jimmy Kimmel's production company. Then my old teachers from UCB, Paul Sheer and Rob Huebel called me in to write some stuff for Human Giant. Their teachers were the original UCB four. It's really like Comedy College.

NK: I'm starting to see how this works; it's like a fraternity of funny. It works because these are genuinely funny people.

EA
: Very. So I wrote for Human Giant and that's what got me noticed at Funny or Die. Owen Burke, a development executive at Gary Sanchez was one of my teachers at UCB, he was in an improv group with Huebel and Scheer and Riggle and so he took notice to my stuff at Human Giant.

NK: Which sketches did you write for Human Giant? I'm a fan of the show.

EA:
I wrote one about a police sketch artist, then I wrote this one where Paul is eating corn chowder and they come in and say 'man Paul, you're eating that corn chowder like it's your job.' And he's like, 'it is my job.' Then Rob Riggle comes out and he's his boss. Like he's paying him to eat corn chowder (laughs). My other favorite one is one where Aziz's kidney gets stolen and he wakes up in a bathtub of ice.

NK: Aziz (Ansari) is clearly going places. I've been trying to interview him but his publicist won't email me back. I'm gonna call him out like he did those rappers on his RAAANDY mixtape.

EA:
(laughs) Yea, Aziz is hosting the MTV awards, I was gonna write for it but I'm doing this pilot. Aziz is awesome. Back when I was taking improv classes, he was just starting out doing stand up. I wasn't even on an official UCB team yet, and we used to do shows with Aziz in people's basements.

NK: How many creative people did Funny or Die staff when you started? How many do they staff now?

EA:
When I first came there was a staff of 5 creative people making videos. Now there's like 25. 5 writers, 5 directors, 5 editors, you know. We have about two celebrities a day that come in for meetings pitching us ideas, we're working on a lot of branded content.

NK: How do you guys work with such huge stars?

EA:
We used to struggle, we used to cold call agents, and now people come right to us. Now agents and managers say to their clients 'you should go make a Funny or Die video.' 'You want to get in to doing comedy? Go make a Funny or Die video.' It's funny though, like that Weird Al video. I'm working with Aaron Paul and Olivia Wilde and I have them dressed like Madonna and Weird Al and they're making out in a basement of a hotel. I'm like, 'Where am I? What am I doing?' Then they email me: 'We love the video, we want to work with you again!' It's crazy but I guess it's good for when I make movies. My goal is to make them have fun. I want everyone to be having fun on my sets, everyone should be laughing. Aaron Paul is not a comedy guy; he's a very serious actor, an amazing serious actor. He wanted to do something funny so I put him in this thing. My philosophy with these great actors is don't try to be funny, don't play up the comedy. I put Aaron in something funny but played very serious and that worked. You have to trust the writing.

NK: Funny or Die is an awesome adult playground that puts out good content.

EA:
Yea, exactly. And you meet people. I met this DP that shoots most of my stuff, this guy Christian Springer. I started churning out stuff that people were into. It was my film school. Then I got hired to direct an MTV pilot. It's called Death Valley and it's kind of like Cops but in a world where zombies, werewolves, and vampires exist. It's about the division of the police department that has to deal with that. I directed that and Christian shot it and they're testing it right now. We'll see if it gets picked up. Then a few weeks later, I get a call from Matt Besser and I go in there to meet about directing his pilot. To hear Besser say 'you're our first choice' was really crazy.

NK: You were his pupil. It's very Star Wars.

EA:
It's like I made the Dean's list. It feels great. And this is the most fun show I've worked on. It's called This Show will Get You High. It's a sketch comedy show. It's very UCB. All the writers and cast are all from the UCB Theater. We want to create a sketch show that gives you the feeling that you get when you go the UCB Theater. It's that kind of a special, cool, underground feeling. It's not like any other sketch show.

NK: Where is sketch comedy relative to where it's been in the past? I know Funny or Die has that new HBO show, but is this a good time for sketch comedy?

EA:
It's always a good time for sketch comedy. There's always a place for it. It's a little harder to get it on TV these days, I feel like the Internet is kind of where sketch comedy went. It plays better on the Internet.

NK: What do you tell a young funny person that wants to do what you're doing?

EA:
Just do it. That's all I have done. Jump right in and do it. That's what I did at UCB, you can't be afraid to fuck up. You just gotta do it. I look at some of the first videos I put out and they sucked. But I did it and I learned from it. You get better the more you work. Just keep learning. There are so many ways now to tell stories and be funny.

NK: What's next for you?

EA:
As soon as I finish this pilot I go right back to Funny or Die to keep doing what I do.

NK: Do you want to direct movies?

EA:
Yes. That's the ultimate goal. I look at someone like Adam McKay. He's like a curator. That's someone who's career I admire. I would love to direct movies, have a production company, and have my own Funny or Die.

Follow Eric Appel on Twitter at
http://twitter.com/erockappel
, and see his other work on Funny or Die at
/eric

NY General

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Abby Elliott profiled in Death + Taxes

Feb 27, 2015

Abby Elliott
Dear Abby

Saturday Night Live's new darling

For thirty-five years, Saturday Night Live has been an American institution. Sure, the variety show has fluctuated in popularity and prominence through the course of its many seasons, ebbing and flowing with the collective talent of its stars, from the golden days of John Belushi or Eddie Murphy to the eminently forgettable comedic stylings of Joe Piscopo or Cheri Oteri. Still, through it all, a few things have remained constant over the last three decades of Saturday nights. Viewers tuning in to NBC could count on a steady diet of risque jokes, presidential parodies, and absurd character sketches. Many of these more memorable skits were handled by comedians who boomed and bellowed and aimed for the hearty belly laugh -- comedians like Chris Farley and Will Ferrell.

Lately, however, a new face has emerged amidst the aforementioned skits of repute. That face, framed by curly red tresses and animated by a wry, demure grin, belongs to third-generation comedian Abby Elliott. At the age of twenty-one, Elliott became the youngest female cast member to appear on the show, edging out Julia Louis-Dreyfus for the title by three months. Now, at twenty-two, Elliott is also a confident veteran of that SNL staple: the impersonation. Yet the mimicry crafted by this young redhead is clearly in a league of its own. Not for her are the farcical slapstick approaches used by Chevy Chase as President Ford, nor the obvious gags spotted from a mile away, like Tina Fey's Sarah Palin. Rather, Elliott has exhibited a nuanced approach that picks up on the subtle shadings of character and tone of her marks, avoiding the slavish, exaggerated apings beloved by so many of the comedians that came before her. To date, she has impersonated more actresses than I can count on my fingers. And, while some, like Drew Barrymore, whose discerning idiosyncrasy, her lisp, makes for an easy copy -- others, like the perpetually blase Kirsten Dunst, have quirks which require a bit more digging and attention to fully capture.

During rehearsals for her second season, Elliott took a break from work to discuss her ascent into the spotlight and the genesis of her spot-on mimicries. Elliott treats her budding career with all the reverent humility of a person still very much excited to be performing Saturday nights -- live from New York.

Tell me about the first time you solicited a laugh.

I was a little bit of a diva child -- always singing and running around and dressing up. My dad would film my sister and I doing bits outside, but I guess there was one time. I think I was in fifth grade, where I recorded a bunch of parodies of Calvin Klein commercials and I also did this talk show where I played Cameron Diaz. I think it was right around when my dad was doing There's Something About Mary so Cameron Diaz was the only celeb woman that we knew.

I know you did some improv work, but when did you decide to pursue comedy professionally?

I think it was when I was seventeen or eighteen that I started going into the city from Connecticut. I would take the train into the city and go see comedy shows and I just started getting into it. I was scared, and still am, of stand up, but I loved watching it and went the improv route and started doing improv and sketch. I guess I've been doing impressions for a long time. Throughout my childhood my mom would be like, Do that face! Do the Angelina Jolie face! So I'd do that at family things and I'd hate her for it, but now I'm thankful.

Your Meryl Streep is my favorite. It's so dead on.

Oh thank you!

Did you do an impersonation for your audition for Saturday Night Live?

Yeah, I did Drew Barrymore breaking up with the cameraman, and I did a couple of characters, like a girl that worked in the book department at Urban Outfitters who takes all of those books very seriously. And then I did Angelina Jolie, Anna Faris, Katie Holmes -- who else did I do? Joan Cusack -- my wild card. I think they were like, Oh, she could do someone older!

A lot of those have unique cadences to their voice, but how do you go about doing someone like Katie Holmes?

Something about it is just me being a fan of theirs, watching them so much and sort of just listening to their voices. For the most part, I just really like them, and I want to watch them over and over again.

On top of being fairly new on the show, I know you are the youngest too. What are some of the hoops you've had to jump through in order to get your airtime?

I think it's just about getting comfortable at the table reads. That's the main thing. Getting that room to laugh at what you do. Then once they're accepting of you, they will put you on air more. As a featured player it's hard, because nobody really knows your voice or what you can do, and it's also hard because you are still getting to know everyone and trying to get these amazingly funny people to laugh. So that's what I'm trying to do now: Make my peers and these awesome people laugh.

Tell me more about the table read.

We go in on Tuesday afternoon and we write a couple sketches each. All night we'll work with writers to come up with ideas together and put that up at the table read, which includes the writers, Lorne , Marci , Steve and the director.

I didn't realize it was that collaborative.

Yeah. We're there all night until five a.m. It's kind of like the old schedule of the seventies or eighties where they stayed up all night writing.

It's got to be grueling.

You get used to the schedule. .

What's been the highlight so far?

The best thing is just working with these amazing people and having the opportunity to be here. Everybody's time here is different. I'm just sort of trying to go with the flow, and I'm really enjoying myself.

Is having to memorize lines ever an issue? Have you ever had to improvise your way through a sketch?

We have cue cards that are there for us, but it's a tricky thing in itself, because you have to figure out how to read the cue cards while acting and also have it look like you're looking at the person and not the cue card. So that was a struggle at first. It felt unnatural to do, but you get used to it. I think with regards to the improvising -- it helps when you're feeling out how the scene is going. Maybe you'll need to throw in a couple, uh-huhs or okays -- there's room for that type of stuff. Jason Sudeikis is the master of doing that. He is unbelievable. Everything he does when he's improvising makes me laugh so hard.

Do you find it hard to keep a straight face? I remember when Jimmy Fallon was on he'd crack up in every skit, which by the way was my favorite part.

Totally! I think it's so endearing when people laugh. There's a Debbie Downer sketch, which might have been one of the first ones that Rachel Dratch had done -- with her and Lindsay Lohan, and they all started laughing and that made me happy .

This current cast is accredited with revitalizing the show. I know it sounds a bit egotistical to acknowledge, but is being a part of a beloved SNL cast something you think about?

I'm just trying to get what I think is funny out there. I think the Lonely Island guys made their mark and made changes to the show and format and what people want to see. But it changes from decade to decade. You watch shows in the nineties and wonder if one of the sketches they were doing would be relevant now.

It's interesting to think of SNL in those terms. I remember when Obama was beginning his presidency Jon Stewart was asked if he was worried about not having any material to satirize. But it's true, your show is also topical.

Yeah, and in the nineties there wasn't Funny Or Die or YouTube, and now people can create their own comedy. So I think the show has been really great in changing and evolving with that.

Speaking of new technology, I've been following your tweets. Please explain your obsession with the Kardashians.

I love 'em. I love those girls! They're so entertaining. My sister and I just sit and watch marathons. I've never met them. I'd be star struck if I did.

Have you ever been star struck with a host?

I was really star struck when Drew Barrymore hosted. I am such a big fan of hers and I did her for my audition. So when she came she was just like, I hear you do an impression of me. And I was like, Oh yeah -- and she sort of waited a beat and I wasn't sure if she wanted me to do it then or not. So I did a half-assed imitation and she was like, Meh. But then I ended up doing it at the table read, and she liked it.

What would you like your legacy to be at SNL?

I think I just want to leave people with a good taste in their mouths.
LA General

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Donald Glover interviewed by Jason Reitman for Death + Taxes

Feb 27, 2015

Jason Reitman interviews Donald Glover: Life of the (Tea) Party


Ok, so Donald Glover is not exactly a Tea Party man. "It feels two steps away from white robes," he told the Huffington Post in a recent interview. "I'm sorry, I know there are some good people there, but any time I see white men over sixty screaming, I get nervous."

And probably for the better -- Donald Glover is too busy to party these days. In the last couple years he's been the youngest staff writer for 30 Rock, a star of Community with Chevy Chase and Joel McHale, a pillar of Upright Citizens Brigade and a regular of the stand-up comedy circuit, recently appearing on the Axe Twisted Humor Tour and starring in his own Comedy Central Presents special last month.

And that's not even mentioning the rap career. Somewhere along the way, the comic found time to release the mix tape I Am Just A Rapper as the Childish Gambino, mixing indie rock like Grizzly Bear's "Two Weeks" into his track "Bitch Look At Me Now." Jason Reitman, director of Juno and Up In The Air, who also moonlights as one half of the electro turntable duo Bad Meaning Bad, made waves when he listed "Bitch Look At Me Now" as one of the top-played tracks on his iPod in an Entertainment Weekly interview. Suddenly everyone wanted to know -- just who is this Childish Gambino? D+T contributor Danny Fassold asked Reitman to find out for us. In a sit-down at the director's house in Beverly Hills, he did his best.

Jason Reitman: When I listen to your hip-hop, you talk about being unpopular in high school. But I know you and you're really funny and charming and handsome. It's hard for me to believe that the guy you're describing in high school is actually you, because I was that guy in high school.

Donald Glover: Yeah, but people would say the exact same thing about you, right? I'm sure that everybody that went to your high school, they would not be like, "Reitman, yeah, he was the white Urkel."

JR: Ha! When I tell people that I was that kid stuck in the video lab, they actually think it makes a lot of sense.

DG: But yeah, my unpopularity bit was totally genuine. I was nervous because I was around all these tough inner-city kids, so I was trying to make them laugh all the time and getting myself in detention.

JR: You were a smart-ass?

DG: I was. But I was also getting my ass kicked a little bit. Kids just were not having it.

JR: You've been in fights?

DG: It wasn't like a punch-punch crazy thing. I just remember kids pummeling me. I came to school once with this new Nike hat I'd gotten from my dad and this one kid took it and filled it with dirt that a cat hat pissed in. Like something out of a movie! He's like, "Wear the hat with sand in it, damn it!"

JR: It's amazing, right? I mean, you would never do that to an adult.

DG: You can't do that to an adult! You can only get away with that when you're a kid.

JR: In your music you talk about the idea of not sleeping a lot because you're constantly working. There's a few people I know who are like that. Apatow is one of those guys. He just doesn't sleep. He's like a machine, where he'll wake up at like two in the morning and start writing. Is that how you are?

DG: That's me. It's a problem because I want to get my sleep, but it's like as soon as I get home, even if it's a long day, I'll have all these ideas. So there's this weird cycle where I'm wide awake and I have all these things I want to do, so I usually end up getting three to four hours of sleep.

JR: And you don't go looking for porno at that moment? You actually buckle down?

DG: The porno's a weekend thing. My producer was over at my house the other day mixing the album, and that stupid history thing on it went to Youporn.com instead of Youtube! I was so embarrassed, but he was like, "Oh, so when you do this you've got to go to the private settings." It was very sweet of him.

JR: This was a normal porno clip?

DG: Yeah, it wasn't a weird one, like a cat and a dog and some sweaty guy chewing on glass, or a snuff film with a hippo or something like that.

JR: Jesus, Donald!

DG: I need to talk about this in this interview. I have a problem...

JR: It's interesting because hiding porn has become very different. It used to be that you would hide the physical magazines and tapes, and now you're hiding it on your computer instead.

DG: There's really an art to hiding porn. You can't just clear your history because your parents or your girlfriend will see that it's cleared and know.

JR: Exactly, so then you have to go fill it with all this stuff.

DG: Right! And of course you have to make it look organic. So then you're like, Okay, I went to this shoe website. But then I can't go directly to Google because that wouldn't make any sense, so then I have to look at the whole catalogue! See, you've got to make it look convincing. But then, I don't have a girlfriend right now so I can just go straight back to more porn.

JR: So when did you start figuring out what kind of comedy you wanted to do?

DG: The two things I remember having a huge influence on me when I was young were the Looney Tunes and my dad. My dad had a bad back so he wasn't able to play with us. So he would watch Looney Tunes with us and crack up.

JR: That's interesting because I see Looney Tunes in your work. Like when I think of you guys in Mystery Team dressed up as gentlemen, and you're walking into the gentlemen's club with monocles on and everything, I can imagine a group of Looney Tunes characters doing the same thing.

DG: And so later on when I was going to NYU I'd go out and see comedians like Bobby Moynihan, who's on SNL now, and Louis C.K., and these were dudes who had the exact same sense of humor as me.

JR: So it was more like, "Oh my god, I thought I was the only one!"

DG: Yeah, especially after I got into the Upright Citizens Brigade theatre. The first thing we did there was something called "The Dirtiest Sketch Contest" and this one comedian was explaining how a lot of stand-up comics will make jokes about anal sex, but yet they've never seen it or done it. So their whole thing was, "We're going to take the bullet for this!" And then this guy in this Darth Vader mask pokes this dude with a dildo in the butt on stage!

JR: No...

DG: Yes!

JR: Are you kidding me?

DG: On stage. Everyone's jaw in the whole audience just dropped. It was so rough, but at the same time the guys are laughing because it was so awful. And in a weird way I was like, "I'm home!"

JR: So ten years from now if you could only be doing one of the things you're doing right now, what would it be?

DG: That's a hard-hitting question. I guess I'd have to choose music because you can do that forever. Like Dr. Dre -- he can put out an album once and a while and people are ready for it.

JR: I'm very intrigued by what Dre will do next. My problem with the second Chronic is that on so many of the songs the theme was, "I'm still here." And it's like, okay, I get it. I'm a fan, I'll buy your album. Just give us something new!

DG: That's the problem. The thing about rap is that it's always about how young and fresh you are. That's why I'm really excited for Detox because it'll be the first album where he can be that older rapper.

JR: It would be funny though if he's like, "I'm still killing people."

DG: "I'm in the studio here just chopping people up." Yeah, it'd be nice if it was just about enjoying life, cuz rappers don't really do that.

JR: Have you done live hip-hop yet?

DG: I did it in a basement once. That's about it.

JR: Do you know all your shit by heart? Because your words are intricate. I don't know if that's the kind of thing where it's hard to get them on beat every time.

DG: I have pretty much all my lyrics memorized, but it is one of those things where when I have live instrumentation it will be trickier. However it goes I feel like my shows will be really different. Because I love hip hop, but when I see it live a lot of times I feel it's a little weak.

JR: Well hip-hop has two problems. One is that a lot of rappers can't flow live. They're basically studio rappers. And on top of that, for whatever reasons, with hip-hop performance there is a lack of quality in the sound system. It's just awful.

DG: It's become a studio art. It's not about how you play it live.

JR: I saw Busta once live, and he could flow. He's like a monster. And Jurassic 5 was fantastic live. Yeah, but a lot of guys, they just can't do it. It's strange how ill-equipped they are to perform. So when are you going to tour?

DG: Hopefully in May. I'm supposed to go to New York soon and talk to Chitty Bang. They're like an electronica indie rap group.

JR: I could see indie music really being a good fit for you in terms of opening up for somebody. It's so much easier to think of you opening for like Phoenix than opening for a traditional hip-hop group.

DG: I honestly think the same thing. When my live act gets going I'm planning on having a guitarist and a bassist and a drummer. But also a D.J. to scratch in other indie bands. Because I feel like that's not used enough in live shows. I saw the Beastie Boys live once and Mix Master Mike did it in such an amazing way.

JR: He'll come up with anything! And even the other band members will have this look on their faces where you can just see them getting wowed. When his mix song comes in at the break it can be anything. It can be "The Girl from Ipanema" and it's in rhythm!

DG: I don't get why more rappers don't do that.

JR: See, that's the kind of stuff Badmeetingbad is all about.

DG: When are you guys going to do another show?

JR: Now that the Oscars have happened, Mateo and I are practicing again. We brought the live drummer in the other day and it sounded awesome. In about a month I want to start booking shows again for over the summer. But we have to play together.

DG: Absolutely.
LA General

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