Head on over to the Shubin Theater tonight for a serious dose of comedy courtesy of the PHILLY IMPROV THEATER. Local favorites REAL HOUSEWIVES OF PHILADELPHIA, FLETCHER and M@& are all set to perform, along with NYC import, SNAKES.
Snakes is a comedy rap duo comprised of Billy Scafuri and Adam Lustick, a couple of gentlemen you may know from the sketch group Harvard Sailing Team. Billy and Adam recently won an ENCY Award for Best Musical Comedy Act. They have a knack for pleasing audiences with hard-hitting tight beats matched to outrageous lyrics on some very uncommon rap subjects… everything from economics to underwear, with all the sandwiches and proctologists in between.
Fresh on the heels of last month’s win, we got a chance to talk to them as they prepare to roll into the Shubin tonight:
Did you two meet via Harvard Sailing Team, or does your partnership predate the sketch group?
After writing comedy in college and working at Saturday Night Live, Billy started the Harvard Sailing Team with his childhood friend Chris Smith, an acting student at NYU. Many other of Chris’ friends were then brought onto the team; one of whom was, and still is, Adam. Although, before we had officialy met, we did carry a couple kegs of beer up a flight of stairs together. But basically, we met doing Harvard Sailing Team.
While we’re beginning to see comedic rap in various places, it still seems to be a relatively new platform for comedic expression. What about the format attracted you?
A trend of comedy rap certainly seems to be bubbling to the surface. Between Aziz Ansari putting out his RAAAAAANDY rap album, Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) burning it up, and the Flight of the Conchords fellas doing their thing, silly music of quality is enjoying a resurgence and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.
For us, the whole thing is predicated on a deep love of hip hop. Both of us grew up worshipping Biggie Smalls, Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Nas, the Wu Tang Clan and so forth, and have always had the utmost reverence for and the desire to be rappers. Billy flexed his skills by winning a few freestyle rap competitions against other comedians in NYC, asked Adam if he’d want to start a hip hop group, we hooked up with legit music producer Rich Royce and the rest is Snakes history. Snistory.
What sort of challenges have you faced in exploring your comedy musically?
Trying to strike the balance between a funny song and a catchy song and realizing the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
Rap is a genre that has seen more that its fair share of controversy over subject matter and explicit lyrics. Anything too taboo for Snakes?
You have our word that we will never, and we mean NEVER, rap about the political constructs and intrinsic class divisions in 18th century Austria under the rule of the Hapsburg Empire. Some wounds are just too fresh.
Speaking of avoiding wounds… in listening to your songs, you seem to be able to manage a respect for the genre while still poking fun at some of its more egregious and hackneyed truisms. Do you find it difficult striking that sort of balance?
It can be tricky. Thanks to our producer, Rich Royce, the beats are deadly serious and with hip hop, if you have a beat you can nod your head to, you’re halfway home. And it’s due to the sincerity and the legitimacy of the music, that we’re able to rhyme about underpants, sandwiches, Tamagachis and the Dalai Lama and get away with it.
Congratulations on your recent ECNY award win.
Thanks for the congrats…
Are you surprised at the notoriety and buzz that Snakes is garnering?
We’re not not surprised. Just jazzed people are enjoying the music.
What do you see as a next step for the group?
We’ve been working on our second album, which will be out this summer. We have music videos, a TV pilot and film scripts in development. We’re looking to tour colleges, prisons and nursing homes. And we’re in the market for an Italian restaurant that leaves you full but not too full.
You can get in on what everyone’s talking about by checking out Snakes at 8pm tonight.
FRIDAY, APRIL 9TH
SNAKES + REAL HOUSEWIVES OF PHILADELPHIA – 8PM
FLETCHER + M@& – 9:30PM
PHIT @ THE SHUBIN | 407 BAINBRIDGE
$10 EA / BYOB | TICKETS