“Do you beatbox?”
Nothing about my four minutes on stage indicated that this is the question to lead with, but I’ve got to finish this drink, so let’s see where this goes.
“Just a vibe I got watching your performance.”
Could he ground his hypothesis in anything more ethereal? Then again, this dude is wearing several hemp necklaces. He may be doing the best he can with what he has: socially, mentally, hypothetically, realistically.
I’m being unfair. We all have flaws. By way of analogy, I’m the one you see rushing into the ocean as it recedes from the beach while the locals seek higher ground. It’s an imperfect comparison, though, because it’s not that I don’t know a tsunami is coming; I just think I can have a laugh before it gets here. It isn’t that a towering guy with dilated pupils and unrelenting eye contact doesn’t register as one of those “nod, smile, and walk away” situations. I just don’t think about that until I’m in way too deep.
“Your vibes are off, yo. I don’t beatbox,” I say.
“I like what you did up there. I like what everyone is doing up there tonight. The energy in this room tonight- I just feel it and absorb it and internalize it and now I want to give it back, you know? I’m a rapper and I’m a part of this whole collective with rappers and graffiti artists and DJ’s and beatboxers and skaters and ventriloquists…”
Yikes. This has gone off the rails. Did he just say he’s a rapper? I’ve got to ask a probing question.
“Yeah, bro! That’s why I thought I heard something in your voice. Something about your voice and how you were telling jokes. You got a flow with your words, so I thought you might beatbox.”
Sound reasoning, but if you want to keep talking, I need to start talking mad shit to make this worth it: “Listen, I’m glad my aura is so steeped in rap music that you came to that conclusion, but enough with the beatboxing. Why would anyone beatbox? It’s so uninteresting. I think they left it off the list of four elements to Hip-hop just so people would stop doing it.”
Kind of mean, but I’m testing mettle. His and mine, I guess.
“Oh, no, it’s cool, bro. I just was trying to connect with you because the audience and the comedy and the vibes and the other pseudoscience, new age buzz words; and I think I’ll throw in another ‘beatbox’ for good measure…”
“You look high as hell, dawg. What are you on?”
“I’m OFF fluoride.”
“Yeah, bro, fluoride free for four years. My consciousness is clearer now.”
“What water do you drink?”
“Some bottled water doesn’t have fluoride added.”
“What about toothpaste?”
“I use this special toothpaste from China.”
“Oh, so you’re fluoride free but not necessarily lead free? This is all starting to make sense.”
This is the point where my resolve breaks. I’m all about shitting on people who are in command of their faculties, but this deer-in-headlights, thousand-yard-ish stare, possibly lead poisoned hippie is where I draw the line. His staunch sincerity and lack of response to my ribbing doesn’t make me feel good.
“Cool, yo. I’ll, uh, I’ll check you later.”
The only thing that can prolong this is if he starts to…
“May I rap for you?”
“Every excellent rap I’ve ever heard began with a polite inquiry, so yes.”
He raps, but what I hear is stream of consciousness rambling containing the various joke premises and punchlines he could recall from the comics on stage earlier in the night. It could have been a beautiful collage of one night of Buffalo comedy at Milkie’s had he any sense of what words rhyme with other words or how rap works in general.
“…….. And… I’m… going to use the n-word/ but won’t because it’s offensive and that’s right/ unless that word is nnnnneeext….level… conscious rap!”
“I, uh… I like how you strung together ideas from, uh… different sets.”
“I’m humbled. Great connecting with you.” He puts his hands together and slightly bows. “Peace, man.”
– Kevin Thomas Jr
* Kevin is a local Buffalo Comedian, Regular contributor on PFF and co-host of “Another Podcast…”