CHARLESTON’S Mystery Meat drops The Mixtape, Vol. 2 this Saturday night.
The duo consists of Jordan Scott Edwards’ BLKPAPA and Josh Christian’s DJ White Smoke. Their show is a blend of a hip-hop concert and a sketch show, and the audience is sure to be entertained.
Front Porch Improv hosts the hilarious night.
We spoke with Christian and Edwards last week.
How did you two meet up and decide to perform together?
Christian: Jordan and I met performing improv at Theatre 99 in Charleston. We’ve always been friends, but two years ago, Jordan was performing some solo sketches and songs, one of which needed some extra support from the sound and tech guy. I happened to be in the tech booth that night, and we were on the same page almost immediately. White Smoke was born moments before bringing Jordan on stage, and we quickly discovered a playful and high energy chemistry that’s only grown and evolved since.
Edwards: Yeah, he was always fun to do improv with, but it was the moments offstage where we laughed about the same dumb stuff when I knew that we had a similar sense of humor. When I first started doing Mystery Meat, I asked him to be my tech guy because I needed someone I trusted and who understood the show to run the lights and sound. Then I started writing parts for him into the songs and sketches. He directed our first hour long show, and after that, we realized/ that having him onstage was the most powerful use of our comedy abilities.
What’s a Mystery Meat set like? What can fans expect from this show?
Christian: Mystery Meat is part sketch show, part hip hop concert, and fans can expect just about anything and everything. We’re the Key and Peele of Soundcloud, the MadTV equivalent of Dr. Dre and Eminem. Our ideas and characters range from the practical realities of writer’s block or eating enough vegetables to the absurd—a DJ who whisper raps you to sleep—and everywhere in between. While the show is scripted, there is plenty of room to improvise, so sometimes we don’t even know what’s going to happen next!
One of our core beliefs is that the audience can’t have fun if we aren’t, and since we’re always trying to surprise ourselves, it’s a guarantee that even if you’ve seen us perform a song or sketch before, it won’t be exactly the same.
Edwards: It’s high energy. We bounce back and forth between songs and sketches. We’re all over the place. It’s our first time doing a full hour of material where we’re both onstage for a majority of the time. We’ll both probably sweat a lot. I jump around a lot, so I know I will.
Who/what inspires you in your comedic writing/performing?
Christian: Personally, I write a lot from day to day life—songs I hear on the radio, something that happened at work or the gym, people I meet in line for the bathroom at a bar, etc.—and then blow it out to the most absurd end or chase whatever I think is the most fun and brings the most joy. It usually starts with a one sentence concept which is followed by a lot of, “And what if this happens, or this is there?” until a character or concept is fleshed out. I’ll dial it back when necessary, but I love to stretch the limits to see what we can create.
Edwards: I think Josh and I both subscribe to that “that’s so dumb” method. For example, one of us pitches an idea, the other one laughs and says “that’s so dumb,” and the agreement is made that the idea is great based on its stupidity. I grew up watching a lot of SNL, Mad TV, Chappelle’s Show—anything sketch comedy. And I listen to a lot of hip-hop. So as far as Mystery Meat goes, I’m constantly just trying to mash all that stuff together like a mad, dumb scientist.
Christian: “That’s so dumb” is my favorite compliment. And like Jordan, my comedic sensibilities come from what I grew up watching. Sure there are sketch shows—Mr. Show, In Living Color, plus all the ones Jordan said—but also Saturday morning cartoons, sitcoms and all that. It’s crazy how sometimes I’ll say something and realize it doesn’t sound like me, but more like a character from my childhood.
Jordan, tell me about BLKPAPA, and Josh, tell me about White Smoke. What’s the chemistry like between you?
Christian: To really boil it down, White Smoke is my inflated wrestling alter ego. What The Rock is to Dwayne Johnson, White Smoke is to me. White Smoke is the world’s greatest Spotify user and hypeman. He’s loud. He’s brash. He’s here for a great time and expects you to be too. He’s sensitive and supportive and kind. He’s the man men want to be and women want to be with. We all know that where there’s Smoke, there’s fire. And you best believe we’re bringing the fire!
BLKPAPA and I are the best of friends. Ride or die. Funny or die. Just trying to make ourselves laugh, even if it’s at the expense of each other. But make no mistake, that support thing is real—every time we go on stage, I’m just trying to make my guy look good. Have you ever heard of Biggie Smalls and Puff Daddy? We’re even closer than those guys; I’ve already written the remix of “I’ll Be Missin’ You” for the tragic day the world loses BLKPAPA.
Edwards: BLKPAPA is a part-time rapper. He’ll never be Kendrick level or Jay-Z level. He’s not out here kicking freestyles. But just like Batman, if you give him some prep time to write a rap, it’ll probably be pretty alright. He’ll come up with a few punchlines. He’s willing to make fun of himself for the sake of making you pay a few dollars so you can laugh. I think BLKPAPA and White Smoke always have each other’s backs, but they’re willing to roast each other. With Josh using The Rock analogy, makes me think watching them together is like watching The Rock and Kevin Hart mess with each other. Except instead of us being gigantic and the other being short, one of us is black and the other one’s white.