Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Trapped in the Closet
I had the most hilarious Saturday night in a long time, thanks to my friend Valerie. It's difficult to explain, but I'm gonna give it a try.
It seems that R. Kelly, the rapper whom I think is still charged with having sex with a minor, is in the process of making his magnum opus, a multi-chapter "hip-hopera." You can buy the first twelve chapters on DVD on Amazon.com, and word is that Mr. Kelly has agreed to make at least 30 more! Here's the cover of the DVD to inspire you...
Two comedians, Aziz Ansari and Paul Scheer (from VH1's "Best Week Ever"), hosted a theatrical event at the Upright Citizens Brigade in Hollywood. They held a deeply ironic symposium during which they and several other "experts" deconstructed and celebrated Mr. Kelly's video achievement. Symbolism was discussed, names such as Austen, Shakespeare, and Rosa Parks were bandied about. Two actors from the video showed up, and the producer spoke to us from the audience. All of this helped us understand and appreciate a saga in which a Midget named Big Man shits his pants. And that's just for starters. You haven't seen acting until you've witnessed R. Kelly wrinkling his nose, gun in hand, looking for the source of the stink after Big Man lets loose. We only hear Mr. Kelly's voice throughout, rapping the story, in a singsongy, repetitive "melody," but the actors on screen lipsync their dialogue.
And such dialogue! Memorable lines such as "I'm gonna heat up this chicken" and "I am that ho" still ring in my ears and give me food for thought. The plot involves R, in his persona of "Sylvester" waking up in the bed of a woman not his wife. Her husband comes home, and Sylvester must hide in the titular closet. But the real shocks are yet to come! The husband turns out to have a male lover, and when Sylvester returns to his own home, he uncovers his woman's infidelity with a cop -- the very cop that just pulled him over to give him a ticket! Heated arguments and injured feelings lead to much pulling out of guns and brandishing of spatulas. The cop, played by the gifted actor Michael Kenneth Williams of HBO's "The Wire" (what the hell is he doing in this thing? Can't he get a better job??) returns home to find his wife Bridget preparing a cherry pie. There's a piece of pie missing -- but Bridget is allergic to cherries! The cop furiously searches every drawer and cupboard, only to find the aforementioned midget (note how that rhymes with Bridget!) whom Bridget has apparently hired to service her in his absence.
We the audience got to watch chapters 6 - 12 on a big screen. After each chapter, the DVD was paused to allow scholarly discussion and questions from the audience. "Experts" (really actors, including the guy who plays Jim on "The Office") discussed their experiences behind the scenes, waxed poetic on the symbolism of shitting oneself, and found deep political implications in the cherry pie, which is clearly a comment on abortion.
I urge you all to take a look at "Trapped in the Closet" if you need a good, hard laugh. It's a seminal work of American genius!