“I really am at a crossroads with my soul right now. Because… this summer has been really amazing in terms of me and my dick. I’ve had a summer which has been mostly filled with thin pretty women. I went from being ‘the fat guy’ to ‘who’s that guy?’ Cause when you’re not good looking and…
Onion Juice: Countdown to the Purple Onion (Jabari Davis)
The countdown to August 28th continues. On that day I perform at the Purple Onion (8PM). A day more than a month away and with each day my excitement continues to build. One reason I’m excited is because of whose running/headlining the event: Jabari Baraka Davis
Jabari has been the champion of a Renaissance since the beginning of the year. Fed up with the confining comedy system in the city he decided to take his name and brand and shoot it into the stratosphere.
With that decision, a ton of great comedians are being highlighted and an excitement has enriched the scene. Jabari is doing big things and he’s doing it with style, grace and poise.
Coupled with this new business plan is the opportunity for one of the best performers based in the Bay Area to continually impress and charm on stage. I’ve have the pleasure to work with Jabari a few times (Alameda Comedy Jam, 4th Street Tavern) and his crisp delivery and polish is always on point.
This isn’t steam. Jabari is one of my favorite comedians because his ability to take his life experiences and make them resonate with everybody in the building. I’ve seen what he’s talking about: Satellite Thugs, Frozen Yogurt, Post Hood Syndrome, Whole Foods. What makes it special is he finds the essence of the situation and paints it with painstaking comedic detail.
Plus my Mom loves his act and that’s a great stamp of approval in my book.
BUST ME UP COMEDY NIGHT. This new room is the creation of Travis Currie (creator of 800 Larkin and Nick’s Crispy Taco’s rooms). The potential for antagonizing banter is high. Check it out. (8:00-10:00 pm. The Parlor @ 2801 Leavenworth St SF, CA, [North Beach Area])
The ever-increasingly popular Sylvan Dark Room production. It’s quickly becoming a staple and definitely a place you want to be. (7:30-10:30PM. Dark Room Theater. 2263 Mission, SF, CA)
Paul Brumbaugh will surprise you. And I know for a fact that he’s never asked me to help him move a body. So that’s fun. He’s hosting a show right now on FCCFreeradio.com . Right now! Iris is in the studio. And Joe Klocek as well. All three are funny, and coincidently white.
Ivan Hernandez in... The Business: Only Built 4 Cuban Comix
You know these guys right? (Le Business)
Well they’re doing a show with this guy (Le Ivan Hernandez)
Who is one of my favorite comics in the Bay. I could hear the same bit from him over and over and will laugh at the same part over and over. He’s super effective and I’m glad to know him. And you’ll be glad to see him.
Abraham Linkin is a renegade hip-hop group. Two dope boys in a Cadillac slinging comedy. In the hip-hop realm of mouthpiece and bathing apes, they rapped about being broke and masturbation. In the politically correct wasteland of Bay Area comedy, they made the word “bitch” fashionable again. They wielded social networks like guns and axes. They hit up every worthwhile open microphone and showcase. They made shirts, catchphrases, tell-all videologs, music videos, press materials, and most importantly, great music rife with clever, crisp, absurd, offensive, endearing, relatable comedy. They generated a buzz in the one place you’re not allowed to. From the muck of Bay Area supercoolness, the light of Abraham Linkin rose to the clouds of record deals and sponsorships. And then, with a sharp pang of microphone feedback, it was gone.
I can’t tell you why the two broke up because I don’t know. I can express my sincere despondency about the rise and demise of Abraham Linkin.
Abraham Linkin, composed of Larrell Tyler and Will Hatcher, resonated for a few reasons. Musically they were smart, polished, stylish, and socially conscious without being pretentious or disingenuous. The group had the dope factor. Every successful hip-hop act has the dope factor: some genuine, some fabricated, some long-lasting, some fleeting, some eternal, some flavor-of-the-month. It’s what separates the corny hobbyist stringing words together through a plastic microphone from the rhyme marshal spitting through a condenser microphone in the booth with a movement on their back.
Comically the group took two forms of comedy and created their own voice. Within the constructs of satire (lampooning hip-hop swaggerists) and musical comedy Abraham Linkin were able to take everyday things and drill them into the minds as catchphrases and hooks. Facebook, homeless people, fat black women, and a slew of other topics are definitively illuminated within the group’s repertoire.
Finding Abraham Linkin was finding a new favorite band; the ones you’ll take your friends to go see, the ones you buy their self-release EP from the source, the ones you write blogs about and cover songs of. The ones you know each member on a first name basis, or go road tripping to their first tour gig. The ones whom you demand acceptance of from your significant other or the ones you claim in elitist musical conversations. The ones you’ll dislike as they become popular and say “they peaked with their second album”. The ones you tell whoever will listen that you knew them from the beginning, the ones you reminisce about when you’re forty. Could Abraham Linkin have become that cult-crossover band like Metallica or Modest Mouse? We’ll never know; they left too soon.
Before they left, the group dropped a promotional mixtape. For a mere $5 I received the Abraham Linkin infused compact-disc from an extremely high Larrell at the Brainwash. Thusly, I present a review for “Abraham Linkin: Bitch What Ya Thinkin Vol. 1”
Note: this product is ghetto approved. ID3 Tags are ghostly. Names/information herein are either from deductions or assumptions. I reserve the right to be wrong.
The jawn opens fittingly with “Swine Flu”, the initial track performed at 800 Larkin that brought Abe Linkin to my attention. Originally the song contained a section of discussion upon the origins of a friend’s swine flu infection. The official version of this “Miss You” hood ballad maintains a high pork diet as the culprit for swine flu. That’s right, Porky Pig is not to be trusted. Master P’s “I Miss My Homies” or Bone Thug’s “Crossroads” are outmatched in sentimentally: “When you died it really hurt/ [be]cause they buried you… in my favorite t-shirt!” Damn you swine flu.
Get Lower Than Your Self Esteem
The C.D. includes other Abraham Linkin originals: “Facebook”, “Homeless and Sexy”, “Spend the Night” and “Go Precious”. These sultry sexified jams are more Teddy than Riley, more Jagged than Edge, more Black than street. The kind of music you massage feet to (perhaps even rub amputee nubs if you’re into that). These songs stand out as charmingly ironic and passively raunchy while speaking on the frustrations of being single.
"I met her on Facebook and I invited her to my place
But when she showed up, man you should have seen my face
When I looked at her face, I could believe it
Cause she looked like my nigga
I said ‘Devin?’
She said ‘Who?’
'Nevermind, come on in'”
“Spend the Night” features hilarious off-meter rhyme schemes as it speaks of the ultimate male safety net with confidence and gusto. “Why you bust in my room, I told you I was sleeping/ and then they would reply/ If you were sleeping, what were you doing with your hand?” It’s a devilish disappointment when others get in the middle of the business of pleasure.
“Homeless and Sexy” is a smorgasbord of street living references pandering to panhandlers without a secretion of sadness. It’s certainly noble to want to fuck bottom feeders. It makes me wonder if Camilla Belle sat in the Tenderloin with smudges of ash on her face and fingerless gloves, would she receive more money due to America’s affair with vanity. And would she cheat on me with crack head Tony? And would the actress-turned-hoba (female bum = hoba) be a “freak in the sheets [while] she sleeps in the street [?]” Great syntactic line.
“Go Precious”, while not the best song based on the movie based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire (that honor belongs to Garfunkle and Oates), the song raises an interesting debate. Is it time to lose the obsession of thin start coveting curvaceous women? As proven by Gabourey Sidibe, Susan Boyle, and those Dove ads: big girls are on the rise. Kaseem Bentley once instructed: “Get with these big girls while the premium is low”. Mr. Bentley can make these claims, as he is one of the premier pussy stockbrokers in the country.
The hallmark calling card for Abraham Linkin is undeniably “Got it @ Ross”. A perfect anthem for the recession, the group spit braggadocios rhymes about jeans, wicker chairs, yoga DVDs, and Christmas CDs. To see a bunch of people hyped and chanting about being bargain shoppers is a ridiculously beautiful scene. Video is better than words.
Zero Balance Flips (The Parodies)
Abe Linkin takes being starving artists seriously. Of the five parody songs on the mixtape, three explicitly deal with the turmoil of being poor. Migraines, water-vodka (wakka wakka), maternity cases, Dutch dating and gas prices are contrastingly augmented by instrumentals from flashy rappers like T.I. and 50 Cent. While other rappers of the poverty position would lyrically aim at future revenue, A.L. stay grounded in the present. The general theme of these zero balance flips is “I’m poor, that’s normal, don’t gas yourself up, and deal with it.” I wonder what happens when Will or Larrell receive the riches they’re due? Will the content of their musical production differ? Future blog I guess.
Dogs, Dookie, and Pubics
The mixtape is rounded out by crank calls and Indian accents. While not the greatest highlights of the group’s abilities, the sketches do provide moderation and range. In fact, at the risk of contradiction, the first prank may provide the C.D.’s collection’s largest reactions and loudest laughs. Larrell gets his Jerky Boys on in a phone call to an undisclosed fried chicken restaurant chain claiming pubic hair in his mashed potatoes. The skit spirals out of control like “Alice in Dixieland” with Larrell playing “The Mad Hooder”. In one burst of anguish Larrell screams, “A nigger killed my mother!” with such gusto that one could imagine the origin of a racist superhero (The Inkredible Klansman perhaps). Depending on who you are that’s either hilarious or horrifying, my paradigm rests on the former.
The mixtape has fluctuating quality. Some songs resolutions and bit rates are lower than others. Likewise certain topics seem oversaturated. For instance, the songs “Go Precious” and “Addicted to Food” are both odes to overweight girls. Arguably “Addicted to Food” is a reprise of “Go Precious”, containing the same lyrical content towards the end of the song. This isn’t necessarily a problem besides the fact they’re only a song away from each other on the set list. And some songs, like “Becky”, lack the same Abraham Linkin flair for winking and nudging expressed in instant classics like “Ross” and “Baby By Me”. The song is fun and laughs are continually had but fails in the pursuit of the group’s mission statement: to emancipate minds.
Criticisms aside, the mixtape is still amazing. The talent featured is immense and glaring. I deeply cherish supporting artists like Will Hatcher and Larrell Tyler, and I’m still mad that my friend lost my CD to his ex-girlfriend.
Abraham Linkin. Bitch What Ya Thinkin. Emancipating Minds from Mainstream Bullshit. 2009-2010.
Brandon Robinson and OJ Patterson are friends. They went to different high schools and colleges so the magic was made on the road. Cookie parties and Taco Bells later, the two find themselves on the road to improv comedy. Brandon is apart of jericho! Improv and Sketch. OJ is associated with The Alternates and Sylvan Productions. This is their tale in both text (OJ) and audio (Both).
OJ and the Alternates
Received a message from the electronic whale roads. It told of a grand meeting of the Alternates comedy group and I was cordially invited. The gathering place was a classroom in Dwinelle; UC Berkeley quickly became (unofficially) my second college.
The Alternates expanded their repertoire over winter break; in addition to stand-up comedy the group began offering instruction and practice space for improv and sketch comedy. This addition included our improv coach Zack Stockdale.
Every time I see Zack I see Miramonte. Miramonte High School, the school I graduated from, is notorious for a lot of things. One such thing is being the haven of a lot of intimidating, talented students. They’re intimidating because they are so well put together and have so many resources that they will never fail. Added to these, they’re extremely talented, smart and hard working. These kids alarmed me; they made me all too aware of my competition.
Zack was at that first meeting, nestled in the classroom along with Stuart, Mel, and Richard. Also there was Maig (pronounced “Meg”) whom I had met previously at the Naia open lounge. I would later learn that Maig is a super cool girlfriend to a fellow Alternate, but I’ll get into later. Also in the room were Jamie and Cody and slew of undergraduate girls. Bearded non-Berkeley man could never be more out of place.
The night began with a summer-campesque introducing game. State your name but throw a little pizzazz on that sumbitch with a charming verb. So instead of Zack, you’re “Zebra-riding Zack”, instead of Maig, you’re “Marching Meg”. Fun right? I froze and started crying, pushing me further out of place. Wait until you hear about when I brought out an onesie and giant lollipop. I’m full of contradictions.
Then we lost our improv virginity to string of games. That’s what improv is, a series of games with a time frame and a loose itinerary. Common staples of inprov events include: LA Freeze (where new cast members stop a scene and take over for one person’s pose whilst creating a new scene). There are storyteller games where the cast builds a story under the threat of exclusion. There are genre-changing games in which the same scene is performed multiple times of a series of emotions. There are flashback games where alluded events are performed on the spot. The rules of these games vary from troop to troop, like beer pong’s incomprehensible amount of house rules.
I quickly realized I have a problem. Every time I head into a scene, my goal is to be entertaining. This might sound oxymoronical but anybody who have done a fair amount of improv knows that a scene doesn’t thrive when everybody is just trying to funny. Improv is about paying attention and building a scene with another person, acting off and carrying beats. My improv usually leads me to clubbing people over the head with “I’M FUNNY, VINDICATE ME!” People laugh but they’re not sure why. I’m left feeling inflated without the proper pride.
My problem is my energy is always up. It’s hard for me to be subtle in a hypothetical situation. I’m too giddy. Things should be happening all the time because time is of the essence when you’re on the clock. I really need to work on that, because it usually leads to Rich and I running around screaming about dragons.
But, that’s what learning is about. Over the course of my time with the Alternates I learned to be a better improviser.
Nostalgia! My first stand-up show with Melanie O’Brien and the now defunct Abraham Linkin, March 31st at Bruno’s in the Mission District. The sound quality isn’t the best and I swear I didn’t edit in the laughter. It’s legitimate. Someone even made a flyer.
One of the best. Maria Bamford is performing two shows at the Punchline tonight. The 8 o’clock show is sold out but 10 clock is open according to LiveNation.
Greg is going away from us. Tonight will be his last headlining in San Francisco for a while. Also on the bill are: Chris Thayer, David Wiswell, Colleen Watson, Janine Brito (you, the people you’re going to regretfully miss when they get famous).
Ricky Luna is trying some new awesomeness at the Stud. Meaning: Free money for some lucky person. That’s over at the Stud.
Of course, The Business holding down my second home: The Dark Room Theater.
And finally, my Inaugural Hosting Event at McGrath’s featuring a lot cool new things. It’s more like a party if anything.
Onion Juice: Countdown to the Purple Onion (Introduction)
So, it’s happening. August 28th, 2010 I will be performing at the Purple Onion for the first (but hopefully not last) time. To those not in the know, the Purple Onion is a big deal. The history is deep within that cellar, the name carries weight, and it’s beer is really good. I like the Murphy’s Stout.
I’ve been on the stage once before, during Justin Scale’s Bullshitter of the Month competition. That night I tested my improvisation skills against some of the funniest people in Bay including Trevor Hill, Kurt Weitzmann and Kaseem Bentley. But this time, under the banner of “Jabari Davis and Associates”, I will be performing my own silly material.
To properly convey my excitement I introduce: “Onion Juice: Countdown to the Purple Onion”. The Juice comes from being legally names Orenthal James. Anywho, I will be posting things related to the Purple Onion as I train my ass off and get my performance pristine and polished for a month from now. Hope to see you down there as I stand amid the ghosts of greatness.
Now, to be straightforward, I have yet to listen to this podcast. I don’t have Internet at my house (don’t ask). What I will tell you is I believe in Sal Calanni. He’s one of the best out there SO I’m sure podcast is AWESOME.