When I was younger I thought it'd be cool to be the guy who knew stuff, that people went to with their questions about stuff. I could not have been more wrong. So far the highlight of my professional life involved holing up in a little office in the basement of a Mega-Pharma's HQ, probably getting accidentally irradiated and exposed to antibiotics floating around, cranking out code at a furious pace. Those were happy times. Now if I get 10 minutes to think about the same thing without an interruption, it's like I took a vacation to fucking Disneyland and they were giving out Vicodin on the monorail. Not that I have a Vicodin habit. That would be wrong.
I watched 'The Flavor Flav Roast' the other day. I remember being very obsessive about Public Enemy starting around the time of 'Do The Right Thing'. In the car, we listened to 'Fight the Power', and occasionally another song. The album 'Nation Of Millions' was also great, hooking us white boys with the Slayer sample in 'She Watch Channel Zero ?!??!?!' and somehow entering our minds and altering them until we thought the abrasive air-raid siren noise of 'Rebel Without A Pause' was really wonderful music. Flavor Flav had an essential role of adding a modicum of levity to the proceedings, without which everything would have collapsed under the weight of taking itself entirely too seriously (scientists call this the prog-rock effect).
Unfortunately even around that time Flav did not seem overburdened with self-awareness. In an interview he described his role as being 'the guy who breaks it down for the man on the street' as opposed to 'the guy who says "YEAHHH BOYEEEEEE!"'. At the live show we saw during Black Expo one year (the same concert where Trouble T-Roy of Heavy D and The Boyz died after a tragic fall from the upper levels of Market Square Arena, which is now a Parking Lot), Flav gave a rambling speech about the media being out to get us and stay in school. He also did the 'Yeah Boyeeeee!' bit.
The Roast was star-studded, mostly with 1993 stars. Peers Ice T and Snoop Dogg were there, some tiny comic named 'Katt Williams' (?) was there as host. There were several white boy comedians including Patton Oswalt, Jimmy Kimmel, Carrot Top(?) and some guys I've never heard of, and a white woman comic named Lisa Lampanelli(?).
Things got off to a shaky start with the Pimprechaun laying into my man Patton Oswalt, one of my favorite comedians, mainly because Patton is an atheist and doesn't really make a secret about it. He (Katt(?)) was making jokes supposedly, but was having a hard time hiding the fact that he pretty much wanted to tie Oswalt to the stake and light him up, ruling out 'Ratatouille II' (which would be a shame, I liked that movie). P.O. took this in stride and later got his licks in against 12 ounce mouse when it was his turn.
Actually there was many a good insult joke lobbed about that night, although I felt guilty about laughing, kind of like I felt guilty watching Flav on 'Surreal Life' and later 'Strange Love' (I tuned out completely by the time 'Flavor Of Love' came around.) 'Ice T's so old, the first thing he bought with his record money was his freedom' some white guy with an Italian name said. 'Why are you wearing that clock? You haven't had to be anywhere for 13 years!' Lampanelli asked. 'Chuck D. couldn't be here tonight. The D. is for dignity' said somebody else (it doesn't really matter who. I'll never see most of those people again).
Everybody ended with 'aw man I'm just kidding you're great' and a hug for Flav, wearing a comical gold crown (kings lose crowns, but teachers stay intelligent, KRS-One once observed). When Flav got his turn he lobbed a couple of insults of his own, singling out the comedian with the stubble (he's Bennigan'z) for the harshest abuse: 'I'm giving you a rap name: old ugly bastard! Your jokes were racist, straight up, simple and plain, mother-fuck you and John Wayne!' he cried, quoting the aforementioned 'Fight The Power'. Bennigan'z shouted something back, which I couldn't make out.
So that was the Flavor Flav Roast. I feel bad for Flav. He was out there in the 80's and early 90's doing his thing, trying to set a good example, and everything went to hell. Public Enemy's DJ, the enigmatic 'Terminator X' (he only speaks with his hands) last I heard was an ostrich farmer in South Carolina, good honest practical work, but all you hear about or see is Flavor Flav's televised trainwrecks.
I picked up a CD today: 'Dr. No's Oxperiment' by a guy named 'Oh No', who's actually MadLib's brother. It's good instrumental hip-hop, in the vein of Jay Dilla's 'Donuts', only in this case he goes for really out-of-the-way samples (psych from Turkey, Lebanon, Greece and Italy) instead of the over-fished breakbeats we've heard plenty of times by now. Recommended!