“Negroes on Ice,” the father-son sketch comedy music performed in the main by Prince Paul (De La Soul, Handsome Boy Modeling School) and son, P.Forreal, at Upright Citizens Brigade last night promised to equally offend all types of viewers. In short, the performance did just that, and did its share of amusing and disappointing. While the show is billed as a musical sketch comedy based on tales told by P.Forreal growing up, we hoped the performance would exhibit some level of comedic maturity. What it did do was offer a slew of hip hop and cinematic references and weave them into bizarre stories with impeccably timed sound effects (thanks to Dad, Prince Paul, on the tables).
The show opened with an endearing intro by director, Sasha Jenkins, and his observations about how hip hop has been able to bridge the generation gap. He pointed to Prince Paul and son as an example and asked Prince Paul to elaborate. Rather than continue that dialogue, father and son leapt into the show asking for a showing of hands for Black, White, Hispanic, East Indian, Gay, Straight, Bi-Sexual, and Bi-Curious audience members, then assuring that no one would be left out of the teasing. P.Forreal then dove into an hour long story (all made up) containing an avalanche of bizarre anecdotes featuring RZA, Rosie Perez, Ice T, T-Pain, Freddie Foxxx, Steven Seagal, Madea, and Famous Amos Cookies.
But for the presence of famed producer and rapper, Prince Paul, and an elaborate audio-visual experience, “Negroes On Ice” could have been a performance in one’s living room after a holiday dinner. While P.Forreal has a great energy, hilarious pop and lock dance moves, and a knack for comedy rapping, the show (of which he is the star and main performer) lacked any kind of arc. In many respects the purpose of the show – telling a story that goes everywhere without rhyme or reason – was its biggest downfall. It was difficult to engage in the story-telling aspect of the performance because, well, the story didn’t mean anything.
That said, the house was packed and the diverse audience belly-laughed throughout (though it was difficult to discern whether they were laughing at the jokes or the randomness of it all).
Several rap-comedy songs, set to videos mocking the classics, saved the show. “I’m a Geee,” “Textual Healing” and “T-Pain = Autotune” were among the highlights. This is where “Negroes On Ice” thrived. P.Forreal and friends are gifted at mocking common memes. Perhaps we can hope that on “Negroes On Ice, II,” the songs will be the emphasis.
The show was directed by Sasha Jenkins SHR and produced by Peter Oasis.