Many of my generation might recall Anthony Anderson’s short monologue as the Burger Shack employee in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.
“…In fact, just thinking about those tender little White Castle burgers with those little, itty-bitty grilled onions that just explode in your mouth like flavor crystals every time you bite into one…just makes me want to burn this motherfucker down!”
Doesn’t ring a bell? Then you’ve probably seen him in such films and television shows as The Departed, Hustle and Flow, the Scary Movie franchise, The Shield, Law and Order, Chappelle’s Show, and Entourage just to name a few. The multi-faceted actor/writer/comedian/producer has recently teamed up with the very funny Royale Watkins for a truly unique NYC monthly comedy event referred to as none other than the Mixtape Comedy Show. Watkins, a star in his own right, has performed on such popular stand-up programs as Def Comedy Jam and Comics Unleashed. He is currently a staff writer for TBS’s Are We There Yet? Just in time for the holiday, I had the opportunity to speak with the hilarious duo about their new popular NY show. It was interesting, to say the least. Let’s just say I spit (or “rapped” for you less hip folks) a hot eight bars that won’t leave the recording.
For those who don’t know, what is the Mixtape Comedy Show?
Anthony: You know what, Zach? This interview isn’t for those who don’t know, so we can move to the next question. It’s that simple. We only address the people that know about us. We’re not interested in cultivated a following or relationships or new friends.
[laughs] Oh, I see.
Anthony: Royale may think differently. I don’t know.
Royale: I feel completely different. Actually, I feel the complete opposite.
Anthony:Okay, that’s why we’re partners in this—yin and yang!
Royale: Exactly. For those who don’t know, the Mixtape Comedy Show is a mixed platform that has been cultivated on the internet using social media by myself and the incredible mayor of all entertainment, Anthony Anderson. It’s really a platform for comedy and music. There’s a live production that goes down every third Sunday at Gotham Comedy Club in New York City, Anthony hosts and I co-host. We bring up an eclectic mix of four comics, we do a rap free style battle, and we close with a music artist. Typically, we’ve had old school hip-hop acts, everybody from Naughty by Nature to Kwame, but we’ve also infused some independent artists as well as some new-school artists.
Who came up with the idea for the show?
Royale: Anthony and I were goofing around on Facebook, talking back and forth, and the fan base said, “You guys should do a show.” Anthony was in New York at the time doing Law and Order, so we said let’s just put on a show in New York City and see where it goes. We put on one show in January of 2010 and all of our followers on Facebook packed the club. We had a great time. It was just a comedy show at that point. We were fortunate enough to have people excited enough to say you guys should do the show again. We said, “Cool, we’ll do the show again next month.” In between the first show and second show, Anthony and I ended up doing this rap battle that was kind of exciting…
Anthony: And one sided, I might add. I can’t even call it a battle because it’s only a battle if you have a formidable opponent. Needless to say, I didn’t have an opponent.
Royale: I said it was exciting. We couldn’t leave it at that, Anthony?
Anthony: No, you also said it was a battle. You said it was a battle.
So who’s the better rapper?
Anthony: It was more…I would have liked to have called it a massacre. You know, that wasn’t really a battle. They didn’t call it a battle. They called it a massacre. So that’s kind of what it was. There was a rap massacre between Royale Watkins and myself.
Royale: To answer your question, Zach. I will give credit to Anthony being the better freestyle rapper, but I challenged him. Anyway, we believe in using social media for everything to keep the fan base engaged and also give them the opportunity to help produce the show. We put it out there online that we battled each other. Then, the fan base said, “You guys should battle each other at the next show.” So that’s what we decided we were going to do. So we replied, “all right, we’ll do the comedy show but then at the end, he and I will have a rap battle at the end of the show.” We put the next show up, and we were fortunate enough to have Kangol of U.T.F.O. in the house, an old school rapper. He came up on stage to judge and mediate the massacre, as Anthony so called it. When we recorded everything, we went back and looked back at the footage. We said, “Wow this is kind of interesting and unique.” We have a comedy show, driven by a very exciting host. We have a freestyle rap battle, though not with professional rappers, still we have a rap battle. Then we have a music artist closing the show. Okay if we can move these pieces around, we have something completely different from what everybody else is doing, and it’s exciting. Also, people seem to enjoy it. So we sort of got the format of the show handed to us in that way.
Wait, so how do I sign up for the freestyle battle?
Royale: Zach, you don’t even sound like you want it. No freestyle rapper ever said “How do I sign up for the freestyle battle?”
Anthony: Yeah, you might just want to continue with your freelance writing.
I have a couple rap songs. They’re not very good, though.
Anthony: Hey Zach, I think we already knew the answer to that. Do you need a beat? You about to put a beat on and give us a hot 16? Is that what you’re about to do right now?
I’m too embarrassed…can I email my rhymes?
Royale: No Zach, as a part of this interview, you should actually spit a hot 16 and see where it goes.
I don’t think that’d be a good idea. I think we’d have another massacre that doesn’t need to happen.
Anthony: It’s only the three of us and you’re recording this, so you own the tapes so just go! You can delete it and edit it as you please.
Maybe if I get good enough, I can try to do the freestyle battle at the show.
Anthony: You’re invited to every show every month and you’re more than welcome to get up during the freestyle battle.
Royale: That’s an official invite right there, Zach, to come get your ass handed to you.
Thank you, I appreciate it [laughs]. I saw on your website that your show has a contest. Can you explain a little bit?
Royale: We actually have what we call the “Mixtape VIP challenge.” As a part of the show, we collect cell phone numbers from our patrons in the audience and have a raffle. In the middle of the show or toward the end, we pull one person’s name and pick up their check for the night of up to $100. It’s just another way to give something back to our fan base in the venue with us.
Are there any other plans for the show in the future? Is there anything you guys would like to try to do with it?
Anthony: World domination, Zach.
Royale: I think our end goal is to be able to expand the Mixtape Comedy platform so that we can do television, so that we can do live touring, and so that we can offer the patrons out there who I think are not getting the best entertainment for their dollar these days, a premium brand of entertainment at a reasonable cost— wherever they are. Again, we stream the show live. It’s completely free for those who want to check it out on mixtapecomedy.com or on youtube.com or ustream.tv. We’re on all of the social media platforms. They can follow us on twitter @mixtapecomedy, @andersonanthony, and @royalewatkins.
One of the things we’re working on is a college tour, hopefully for the spring. Spread the word. Any college kids interested in bringing the Mixtape Comedy Show to their school should absolutely reach out to us.
Lastly, Anthony; you played Brown in The Departed. Any chance in getting Jack Nicholson in on the freestyle battle?
Anthony: About as much chance as you winning the freestyle.
[Insert my lukewarm 8 bars here]
Well, I guess we won’t be seeing Jack Nicholson spit some hot fire because my chances in the freestyle battle are fairly slim. Although, I do encourage you to go check out The Mixtape Comedy Show because Anthony and Royale are a very entertaining duo. Visit their website for more information and ticket information.