Doc Brown performs Unfamous
Gifted rapper, brother of bestselling novelist Zadie Smith and a man who has shared the stage with Mark Ronson, Amy Winehouse, Kayne West, De La Soul and Lily Allen… a round of applause for the still ‘unfamous’ Ben “Doc Brown” Smith.
The impressive personal inventory listed above may not have made him a household name, but his first person tales of life in the rap business and extreme excess (complete with name dropping) present a humbling and honest salute to nearly making it. After turning his back on the bravado and balls world of hip hop, the UK comedian is bringing his spoof raps and distinctive stand-up style to Australia for the first time on the tail of a 2010 sell out Edinborough Fringe show. After his subsequent success at Adelaide Fringe, we caught up with the “unfamous” rapper and asked for some of his favourite ‘Un-‘s.
Unforgettable tour moment to date?
“Easy! Penultimate night of my two weeks at London’s Soho Theatre a guy in the front proposed to his unsuspecting girlfriend live on stage. It was right at the end of my show which has quite an emotional denouement anyway, so every woman in the audience burst into tears (and one or two men as well!).”
Unofficial theme song of your tour?
“Has to be the Kanye West song Power – it sounds like the stuff of Hollywood action movie soundtracks, and the chorus bears the legend “No one man should have all this power”, which is how I feel sometimes when I’ve got a thousand people sitting in silence waiting for me to speak – it can feel like too much responsibility!”
“It has to be the sudden temptation to get back into free sex and drugs after performing. I’m married with kids now, so I tend to just have a few beers until the adrenaline turns into exhaustion.”
Unfair judgment of your character?
“I think maybe people who haven’t seen me think I’m some kind of Urban Musical Jester with a gangster background. That’s cool, as soon as they see the show they realize they couldn’t be further from the truth.”
“I know a lot of people like it, but I don’t go for all this shock comedy stuff – you know when comics go on about rape and paedophilia and stuff – I feel like it’s just to provoke a response, not because it’s particularly funny. I’m no goody-goody, but I just think shock for shock’s sake is as lazy as it is unpleasant.”
Uncalled-for heckling at your show?
“I have very rarely been heckled on this tour (touch Australian wood), but back in January I did have a guy in the front row who waited for the first real moment of quiet tension in the show, then broke out a family bag of nachos and a huge packet of individually wrapped boiled sweets and started crunching away like he was at the circus. We immediately got into a tete-a-tete but it all ended in good spirits.”
“I look 6’ 2”, but I’m actually 6’0.””
Unlikely role model?
“I definitely am one. But mine is probably Jesus. Not Christ, just the Spanish guy who works in my local car wash. He’s a maverick who plays by his own rules. Very inspiring.”
Doc Brown performs Unfamous at Melbourne Town Hall’s Powder Room from March 31 until April 24, except on Mondays. Tickets range from $23 - $29.50 and the performances happen at 9.45pm from Tuesday – Saturday and 8.45pm on Sundays. Book online at comedyfestival.com.au or buy tickets at the door.