Photos provided by BleuEntertainment PR, Interviewed by J’More
Making people laugh is an art form funnyman Affion Crockett knows all too well! Perhaps you’ve seen him on MTV’s “Wild ‘N’ Out” or more recently the Wayans Brothers blockbuster “Dance Flick”. But lately his youtube spoofs are taking the internet by storm. Affion has taken his impersonations of some of today’s biggest star to the next level. With his hilarious spoofs of some of your favorite celebrities including Kanye West, Chris Brown, Drake and even the Mike Jordan of rap, Jay-Z; Affion is just getting started. But don’t be fooled, there’s definitely more to Affion than just making people laugh…check out Affion chopping it up with Str8NYC.com about working w/ Nick Cannon on “Wild ‘N Out”, the making of “Hunt Chris Brown”, being a triple threat (rapper, actor, comedian), future projects, plus his new and latest spoof on Russell Simmons…HILARIOUS!
POP THE HOOD FOR INTERVIEW
Str8NYC: Where are you from?
Affion Crockett: I’m an army brat. So I’m kind of from everywhere. I grew up in Germany for about ten years. [Lived in] Fayetteville, North Carolina and my family lives in [New] Jersey.
Str8NYC: How did you get into comedy?
Affion Crockett: When I was still in [North] Carolina I went to Charlotte, they got a spot called the “Comedy Zone” and I found out about open mic night and all of that. You know back in the day, when Def Comedy Jam was poppin’ and it was hot, I was a young fan of the whole Hip-hop comedy genre. So I said ‘Well let me give it a shot’. I was always able to do impressions and I’m a dancer first. So, I took the stage presence that I have from being a dancer and my impressions and put them together on stage and it was poppin’ ever since.
Str8NYC: You were casted on MTV’s “Wild ‘N’ Out”, what was it like working with Nick Cannon?
Affion Crockett: It was cool man ‘cause a lot of people don’t understand the genius that Nick is. And it was cool to watch him; being a young cat come in and do so much. He had a lot of responsibility, but he was still able to jump on stage and be funny when he needed to and he was able to do the executive thing when he needed to. It was a good experience for me.
Str8NYC: Did teaming up with Nick Cannon help your career?
Affion Crockett: Oh of course! I was doing a lot of work before “Wild ‘N’ Out”…like “CSI NY”, “Curb Your Enthusiasm [and] I was doing a couple movies and stuff. But “Wild ‘N’ Out” is the thing that gave me more of a name. People knowing me as Affion Crockett as opposed to ‘That dude I saw on the TV show the other day’.
Str8NYC: Whatever happened to the show?
Affion Crockett: (laughs) Nah, we had four successful seasons of the show and we also had a spin-off show called “Short Circuitz”. So in essence we had five seasons on MTV and it was time to do other things. I went on to do my movie thing. I was in “Dance Flick” with the Wayans Brothers. Right before that I did “Soul Men” with Bernie Mac and Sam Jackson. So I’m not complaining at all (laughs). Nick obviously is on to bigger and better things as well. So it’s all love. We’re doing our thing.
Str8NYC: Everyone knows you online for your spoofs. I recently saw the “Hunt Chris Brown” spoof. How do you come up with these ideas? Do you have a writing team?
Affion Crockett: Nah, it’s just certain things will hit me and if it makes me laugh when I first think about it, chances are it’s gonna be funny. So I just take a gamble on the fact that I think it’s funny and just run with it. Literally with the “Hunt Chris Brown” [spoof] once I thought of a title…the rest was a wrap! I said ‘Yo that’s funny enough to build something on’, so I just started doing it.
Str8NYC: How do you prepare yourself for these spoofs? To get into the minds of these artists does it come natural to you or do you rehearse?
Affion Crockett: Nah, it comes natural to me once I start writing. The first thing I normally do with a music spoof is I sit down and I make the beat over. I start producing the beat and I listen to the original and I mimic everything in the beat. So I’m even doing an impression of the beat. So I did the track first. Then I start writing the lyrics. I’ll listen to Jay’s [Jay-Z] verse, listen to Kanye’s verse, listen to Rihanna’s verse and I just mimic everything they say– but I make it apply to the joke that I’m going for to change up their words.
Str8NYC: You did a really good impression of Jay-Z and Kanye, have you ever considered taking rapping seriously?
Affion Crockett: Umm..I thought about it a while back when we were doing “Wild ‘N’ Out” I was in that mode of trying to put out some serious stuff ‘cause I have some stuff online that I’ve done; collaborations with real rappers like Talib (Kwali) and Strong Armsteady and people like that. But, because of where rap is right now I don’t love it anymore from an industry aspect. I love Hip-hop, but I kinda don’t like rap. You see what I’m saying? So I really don’t desire to be in it [music industry]. I’m happy doing comedy and I make a good living at it, so I’m not really in a rush to be a rapper. Most rappers are trying to rap anyway, so I’m obviously in the right business.
Affion Crockett: Laughs.
Str8NYC: When you do these spoofs how do the artists react? Kanye West, Drake, Lil Wayne etc…?
Affion Crockett: The thing about it, I haven’t ran into [Lil] Wayne or Drake or any of these guys. But, I know Kanye [and] I know Chris. Chris Brown, we talked days after I put the spoof up and he was lovin’ it…him [and] his road manager. He put it on his Twitter page. Chris Brown loved it! For the most part these dudes know that I’m not coming at them sideways. They know that I’m just funny and I got the respect from “Wild ‘N’ Out” and they know what I do. So I hope they didn’t take any hard feelings to it ‘cause I don’t mean for it to be hard. I just mean for it to be funny and you know everybody laughs and we just move on.
Str8NYC: How did you come up with the “Hunt Chris Brown” spoof? I’m pretty sure you didn’t just wake up one morning and said ‘I’m going to make fun of Chris Brown today’.
Affion Crockett: (Laughs) Well, like I said, when I’m listening to the song and I say ‘Well you know what I can do Kanye pretty well, a lot of people don’t know that, but I’mma introduce it’. Everyone knows that I do Jay, I can do Chris Brown and people didn’t know that either. So when I listened to the song I said ‘The only thing that really fits “Run This Town” is “Hunt Chris Brown”’ and it was real appropriate (laughs). Especially with Rihanna on the hook. The video looked like everybody was warriors, they had fire, gang members and all that stuff. And then the Chris Brown/Larry King interview had just happened…I mean a couple weeks before that. So I was like ‘You know what it’s a good time to just finally put a button on this whole Rihanna/Chris drama’ and that’s just what came out. The Kanye verse I did, he’s really addressing some real issues with you know…relationships. How women choose men; it’s like sometimes you can’t be mad at what happens based on who you chase. Not to condone it [domestic violence], but you know at the end of the day it ain’t the nice guy that’s going to get the girl.
Str8NYC: Do you ever intend to step out of the comedic realm and become a serious actor?
Affion Crockett: Even though I do comedy, I’m already a serious actor. You mean like a dramatic actor?
Str8NYC: Yeah, you know how Jamie Foxx switched up his flow? Steve Harvey is like a relationship guru now and Monique has completely stepped out of the comedic scene and is hosting shows and doing very serious films. Do you ever see yourself doing that?
Affion Crockett: Oh yeah! I’ve already done some of that type of stuff. So it’s only going to get bigger and better. I’m going for that Will Smith status, you know what I mean? That Brat Pitt status–being able to do everything. Being able to do crazy drama characters; back to comedy. It’s wide open.
Str8NYC: Hollywood is crazy and people just end up breaking down because the pressure is just too much. Why do u think comedians such as Martin Lawrence and Dave Chappelle ended up breaking down. Do you ever see yourself in that position?
Affion Crockett: Nah, I keep myself pretty level headed. But, I understand why someone would break up or breakdown rather because if you don’t know this Hollywood thing and you haven’t really walked in their shoes, you can’t really judge them. Especially Dave and Martin, they put it down so well so you just gotta imagine all of the behind-the-scenes politics as a Black man that you gotta break through and it can definitely get to you.
Str8NYC: Are you currently working on any projects? If so, what are they?
Affion Crockett: Yeah I am. I can’t even talk about that because it’s just so big! I’m like a kid waiting to open up a present.
Str8NYC: Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
Affion Crockett: It’s hard to say. Like I said Will Smith status is the best I can describe it. Here’s a good thing for me ten years from now, you know where Adam Sandler is right now? Where he has a production company, ‘Happy Madison’, he’s producing a lot of movies, he put some of his friends on, he’s discovering talent, he’s making blockbuster movies–a hundred million plus at the box office. That’s going to be me. Or even Will Smith, he’s producing with Overbrook and discovering more talent, putting out movies, and producing his own blockbusters…that’s me! I’mma be in that lane. I’mma have my hands in a little bit of everything. I might even go Russell Simmons for some of that stuff. Talking to kids, philanthropy…all of that stuff.
Str8NYC: What do you want the world to know about Affion Crockett?
Affion Crockett: I have a good heart! So don’t mess with me (laughs)!
Thinking about searching for Affion on Facebook, think again because you’re search will come up empty! Affion’s reason for being absent from the social site is primarily because Facebook only allows one to have a maximum of 5,000 friends and he’s a busy guy who needs people to know what’s he up to. Affion refers to YouTube as his “mixtape”, so make sure you subscribe to Youtube.com/affioncrockett to stay in the loop! To keep up with Affion you can also follow him on Twitter @affioncrockett.
Be sure to check out his latest spoof on Hip Hop DIShonors where Russell Simmons & Rick Rubin talk about Def Jam 25 VH1 Hip Hop honors. The yoga poses to the slurred speech had us dying!