AFFION CROCKETT: In The Flow
Comedian Affion Crockett talks “In the Flow”, his rhyming skills and his new APP full of exclusive sketches and skits.
Words: Angel Diaz
Image: Kwaku Alston
Affion Crockett is a funny motherfucker. As the Lil B of this comedy shit, he’s been hitting us in the head with parodies of our favorite rappers for a minute via his YouTube channel; 43 million hits, son! And now he’s finally gotten a chance to show that he belongs with his new show, In The Flow With Affion Crockett on FOX. So read on as we talk Little Brother, Drake and his new app.
How does it feel to have your own show?
It feels great man. Coming out to LA and I always had a dream to do it at a certain level and to be on a network with my own sketch comedy show for the world to see it, it’s great.
How did you link up with Jamie?
We both went to FOX with ideas for sketch shows, but we went independently of each other. We didn’t have it planned. By the time I met with them, they were like, “We just met with Jaime Foxx and he wants to do a show too.” So, they figured they’ll just put the two of us together to do a show.
What’s your new show about?
We had a five-episode run that just ended on Sunday. We have everything on there, whether it be original characters to impressions, movie trailers— a little bit of everything. We had Michael Strahan, Sam Jackson, Chris Brown, Russell Simmons, Snoop Dogg and a few other guests came through and showed support. So far it’s gotten a good response from the viewers and hopefully it gets picked up for good.
When did you know you could do impersonations?
When I was kid, man. I used to do cartoon characters, imitate teachers in school; it just became something I did. I never thought I would be able to make a career out of it. I didn’t take it seriously until I seen other comedy shows and other guys were doing impressions, and I was like, “Well, hold up. If that’s what it takes to be a comedian, then I could do that. I’ve been doing it all my life.”
And you have a business degree, so it’s not like you want to dress up in a suit and tie all day.
[Laughs] Not unless I’m playing a character. I’ve been a fan of sketch comedy since I was a kid, so yeah, definitely following in the footsteps of In Living Color and those cats like that.
Who’s your favorite to impersonate?
I like to do Russell, man. Especially because he was a fan and wanted to get in the sketch with me. That was an honor to have him be funny with me, it was a brilliant move. He’s a funny dude, that’s definitely one of my favorites right there.
What’s the science behind the things you come up with?
I don’t know, man. It just hits me, you know? Sometimes I’ll be driving in the car and I’ll start doing someone’s voice. Then, I’ll go to my team and we’ll write a sketch around it. It’s always different methods to how these ideas come about, but if they’re funny, that’s all that matters.
You really get into the characters, from the costume all the way down to the skin color…
You got to go in. One of the things I hate is when I see someone do an impression, but not really have the look down pat. I like to incorporate all that.
Do you have a vendetta against Drake?
[Laughs] Not at all, man. I’m a fan of his. He’s seen my impression of him and he loves it, he tweets about it and all that. It’s all in fun.
Do you ever ask permission to impersonate someone?
Nope, I just do it. I don’t mean any disrespect, it’s about the laughs and appreciation of the art. I’m a comedian.
How shook was you when Peter Gunz was acting mad?
I kind of knew it was a joke once Freeway came in, but me and him had already talked on Twitter so I knew he was cool with it; he retweeted the video. Then they brought Peter in, and I thought, “Um, this could be a joke.” But then I remembered the history of violence in NYC radio shows, so I didn’t want to play too comedic and just waited to see what was going to happen, like does he have a pistol on him? [Laughs] It worked out, though. Me and Pete are cool.
What new things should fans look out for? Any new songs or characters to look forward to?
I have a new app coming out actually, like the Affion Crockett APP on iPhones and Droids. I’m going to be doing stuff exclusively for that, have skits from the show available and I might even do a new Drake song just on that, so we’ll see.
Do you write the raps from your spoofs yourself?
Oh yeah, I’m an emcee too. My impersonations of the rappers I do comes about because I know how to write.
That makes sense because it’s all original stuff.
Just type my name in YouTube and check some of the real raps that I did with Talib Kweli and Strong Arm Steady. You know, me and Chino XL have done live shows together. I have a good rapport with emcees that know I really get down— like I’ve done live shows with Method Man and Redman. So, I’m really on that emcee stuff, but because I’m a comedian I can’t really let that serious side come out right now.
I believe you, yo the raps in your parodies are better than some of these rappers’ actual songs.
Oh I go in [Laughs]. If you ever run into Chino or Talib they’ll validate it for you. I’m a student of Nas, Rakim, Big Pun and all those guys, man. So, when I do those songs I take it seriously as an emcee and try to emulate the best.
So what Hip-Hop artists are you rocking with right now?
I’m rocking with Little Brother, Foreign Exchange, 9th Wonder— my North Carolina brethren. They preserving that real Hip-Hop sound. I love J Dilla and his brother Illa Jay; I actually have some features on his Illa’s last album, so you should check it out. And of course I rock with Drake, Lil Wayne, Jay and Kanye.
What albums do you have on heavy rotation?
Oh man, let’s see. I keep the Capital Punishment in there, some Kweli albums, some Elzhi, Slum Village, a little Tribe; I try to keep it authentic.
Image by Kwaku Alston.