Interviewed by: Frank Stillman
A couple of days ago I sat down with multi-talented Perth comedian Christopher Shin to discuss the 2016 edition of his highly-popular Fringe World show “Comedians vs. Rappers”, and what the average punter can expect from Mr. Shin and his gang of miscreants.
As you would expect from the title, ‘Comedians vs Rappers’ blends elements of hip-hop and rap into a comedy show. How did this concept first get off the ground?
It was actually my business partner in Raptrap Entertainment (Promo company behind the Fringe World show), Jermaine White, who first came up with the core concept. Apparently, a study was done that showed comedians trying to improvise a funny line used the same part of their brain for that as rappers did when they freestyle or battle-rap. Me and Jermaine both listen to a lot of hip-hop and rap in our spare time as well, and you tend to see a lot of comedy present in battle-raps anyway. So we essentially are just bringing those two concepts, comedy and rap, together.
Yeah, you typically don’t put comedians and rappers in the same circle but it’s true that both of them rely heavily on improvisation in their craft. Will ‘Comedians vs. Rappers’ have a fair amount of improv in it?
Absolutely. Like we say in our event description, we’re pretty much a rap-infused ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway’, but way way better. There will be some rehearsed material: each comedian will get 3 minutes of stage-time to do some of their own planned bits, which essentially operates as a way for the audience to get to know each comedian, or understand if the comedian is playing a character etc. But then we go into the improv games, which are heavily influenced by battle rapping. That’s when shit is gonna get real.
Who are some of the acts appearing in ‘Comedians vs. Rappers’ that people should look for?
This year we’ve really outdone ourselves in terms of the hip-hop talent we have onboard. First of all, Adam Crook will be appearing, who’s a big name in terms of WA hip-hop. Heated Technique, one of Perth’s best battle rappers, will also be there. Silvertongue is definitely one to turn out for as well. In terms of comedians, our list is also packed with some insane acts. It’ll be interesting to see how comedians react to the context of hip-hop. Like, Dez Pondent, who’s one of Perth’s best deadpan comics, will be pretty out of place performing over a thumping backbeat, so it’s gonna be cool to see what he brings to the table. You gotta remember as well that ‘Comedians vs. Rappers’ is Jermaine White’s baby as well, and he’s a comedian too, so he’s gonna do some crazy memorable shit. I feel like you can’t really go wrong with the talent selection we’ve had this year. Even in sorting out the beats for the show we’ve managed to snag some great talent, DMC WA champion DJ Angry Buda will be providing the lush soundtrack for the night.
‘Comedians vs. Rappers’ did four sold-out shows last year at Fringe, so essentially you’ve tried to make the 2016 edition a bigger and better version?
We did really well last year, but it was definitely a learning experience. I’ll definitely say that the first show we did was not the best. Around the second or third show we really hit our stride, and it got to the point where on the fourth night people were expecting another encore, and we actually had to come out and tell them to leave. Plus, it was at a small, sweatbox venue. This time we’ve got a bigger venue, with air-conditioning. In fact, make sure to specifically put that in your article. Air-conditioning! Shit, I should’ve put it on the poster.
On a final note, can we look forward to anything more Raptrap Entertainment are taking on in the coming months?
Oh, for sure. With Raptrap we wanna continue putting on great comedy shows like ‘Comedians vs. Rappers’, but we’re also looking into having music shows, MC’ing private events etc. If we can grow Raptrap into a network of like-minded Perth artists that’s the ultimate goal really. With such a small city like Perth we think there’s some legitimate potential for artists to come together. Bringing out more unique or outside-of-the-box comedy shows is definitely a big part of our agenda. Everyone has seen stand-up before, but no-one’s seen it quite like this.