S5 E41 | Affion Crockett
On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN sat down with entertainer Affion Crockett to talk about his career, having limits in stand-up comedy, and more.
Born in Fayetteville, N.C., Crockett’s career began in the ‘90s when he appeared on HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam.” From there, he became known for his slapstick routines and spot-on impersonations of celebrities. His talents later afforded him the opportunity to cross over into television and film, and he appeared alongside many comedic legends such as Martin Lawrence, Marlon Wayans, and Larry David, among numerous others.
These days, he still headlines tours across the country and his first stand-up special “Mirror II Society” debuted on Kevin Hart’s LOL network last year. He has also garnered a massive following on social media, where he regularly posts various parodies, impersonations, and skits.
To help give fans a recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine facts we learned from the Affion Crockett interview. Take a look at them below.
1. On Working with Spice Adams
Chances are, if you’re a fan of Verzuz, you’ve probably seen Crockett’s Instagram spoof videos of the series with Spice Adams. He explained during his interview that despite the pair’s undeniable comedic chemistry, they had never met in person before deciding to work with each other. “We had already commented on each other’s shit and we were always giving flowers to each other, but we never worked together or even met in person,” the comedian said. “We didn’t even know each other. [After creating our videos], people tuned in. And Timbaland and Swizz, they were all tuning in and laughing. Then I was like, we got a little something. And we kept doing it from there and it just grew.”
2. On Veteran Comedians Not Embracing New Performers
In nearly any career, you have to pay your dues when you’re just getting started. Crockett explained on “Drink Champs” that comedy is no exception and seasoned comedians can often give rising performers the cold shoulder. “There’s always going to be a rite of passage in anything you do,” he said. “It depends on the comedian. Some OGs…might be a little bitter because they feel like they haven’t gotten [to] a certain level. They become bitter and become a dick to everybody. It just depends on who it is.”
3. On Having Boundaries
Dave Chappelle’s latest controversy has recently caused many people in the news to question the boundaries in comedy. On “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. raised the topic of comedians having limits by referencing Kevin Hart’s 2017 infidelity scandal. He explained that, at the time, most of Hart’s peers decided to leave the topic alone but Michael Blackson didn’t have a problem with firing jokes off. Crockett explained that he has boundaries in his material. “To each their own,” he said. “Some people don’t give a fuck and they talk about whatever. There’s a tactful way to be funny, I believe. And then there’s a mean, ‘I just don’t give a fuck about your soul’ [way]. For me, there’s always boundaries to this shit.”
4. On Preferring to do Movies Over Stand-Up
It’s no secret that Crockett is a veteran in stand-up comedy, but his film career also spans two decades. When asked by N.O.R.E. which one he prefers to do, he revealed that it’s the latter. “I love them both but for me, movies are a way to control what you’re presenting to the audience,” he said. “You can film it, polish it, edit it, rewrite it, and really get it to your perfection. So that’s my preference, but I love the stage too because you’re in front of the people and you can get that real time reaction and that energy.”
5. On Kevin Hart Not Receiving the Same Respect as Eddie Murphy
In the ‘80s and ‘90s, Eddie Murphy dominated comedy and ultimately became a legend. Years later, in 2016, Forbes named Hart the highest-paid comedian, cementing his legacy as one the top comedians of this generation. When asked by N.O.R.E. why he believes Hart doesn’t get the same respect as Murphy, Crockett explained that it’s because Murphy originally broke the mold for Black comedians. “The difference with Eddie and everybody else is that no one had ever seen what Eddie did,” he said. “Eddie was the first to do a lot of shit. Even though he patterned himself after Richard [Pryor], he took it a different place. Just like Michael Jordan patterned himself after Doctor J. Kevin gets compared because he’s beastin’, but the difference between Kevin and Eddie is that by the time we [saw] Kevin’s success, we had already seen Eddie, Martin, and the Wayans family, so we had so many people before. But when Eddie broke, there was no one doing it like him.”
6. On Social Media Comedians
These days, fledgling comedians can utilize social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter to carve their own lanes to success. Meanwhile, some veterans in the industry may look down on these stars because they didn’t follow a traditional path. Crockett believes that there is no particular “right way” to success as a comedian. “When it comes to comedians, no matter the platform you use, if you are on social media and you have funny shit, to me, you’re funny,” he said, “I use all platforms because I can do it all. If the platforms are available, use all of that shit.”
7. On Mo’Nique’s Battle Against Netflix
In 2019, Mo’Nique filed a lawsuit against Netflix and claimed that the media company only offered her $500,000 for her comedy special, while Amy Schumer was offered 26 times more per show. Crockett explained that he concurred with Mo’Nique’s motion to fight back. “You always have to fight for what you’re worth,” he said. “There’s sometimes going to be people on your own team that don’t see your worth and you have to take your stance. If you know that you can deliver, fight for what you’re worth. I’m never mad at someone trying to get their food.”
8. On Performing the Same Jokes on Tour
A common misconception among comedy fans is the belief that comedians use different material for every show while on tour. On “Drink Champs,” Crockett explained that it’s industry standard to use the same jokes at each show. “Every city you repeat,” he said. “Once you get your act or set, you repeat that show. Even if you in the same city and you do two different nights. Most people that come to the show, they want to see it again. It’s like seeing a movie.”
9. On Cancel Culture
In the past, comedians had free reign to push the envelope during their routines. But these days, they aren’t excluded from being “canceled” by social media for crossing certain lines. Crockett believes cancel culture is trivial because it’s fleeting. “In my opinion, we put too much power in cancel culture,” he said. “Kanye West is a genius. This nigga hugged the devil with a MAGA hat on. Multiple times, they wanted to cancel Kanye for all kinds of shit. We’re in a society where everybody’s attention span is so fucking short. You can say some shit tomorrow and get canceled. And then two weeks later, [you can] drop a new single.”