If laughter is medicine, then comedy music is the remedy that keeps on giving. Think about it. Stress is one of the biggest causes of both illness and aging. Humor is literally an immune system booster, because it significantly lessens stress. Marry it with the universal language of music and you’ve got an entertainment double whammy that you can’t get out of your head—nor would you want to. LOL-apalooza is a new blog series that spotlights the finest minds in the genre. Knowing both yoga and eating organic will inevitably show up in countless New Year’s resolutions, we asked DJDave of Fog and Smog, the California collective behind recent YouTube standouts “Yoga Girl” and “Whole Foods Parking Lot,” to drop some knowledge on our noggins.
Earliest music-related memory?
Probably selecting “Stayin’ Alive” by The Bee Gees on the jukebox at the Round Table Pizza on San Pablo in Berkeley. Or was that Albany? El Cerrito? Can’t remember.
At what point did you notice you had a boner for being funny?
I don’t think I’ve ever considered myself a comedian at all, or a rapper for that matter. I’ve worked hard at playing drums, DJing, and then as a composer, but some of the ironies of life– especially these days for me–have just become too apparent not to point them out. And I guess they turn out funny sometimes…so great!
When did you start writing rhymes?
I’ve been messing around with hip hop from a young age but it was usually from a producer’s perspective. Guys would come over to my parents house and we’d put together shit using 4-tracks, janky samplers, extra tape decks, etc. Everybody would freestyle and mess around. Only a few were really good. I don’t consider myself to be one of them.
Were you inspired by specific hip hop artists or comedians?
I love comedians who don’t really give a shit. I think Chris Rock is great that way, he can be really honest about tough things and it still works. Sarah Silverman doesn’t really give a fuck and I like that about her. I like Katt Williams a lot because of not only his incredible physical comedy, but because he has kind of a spiritual damn near self-help component to his show. He connects with people and makes them feel better about themselves, but from this pimp-like perspective. It’s odd–I like the connecting part. That’s what I think is incredible about comedy is the connection it draws on between folks. We’re thirsty for that connection. Hip hop, I grew up with that traditional “golden age” kinda stuff, Tribe, De La, etc. I love Premier for beats first and foremost, and, you know, on down the line. Later on, Dilla, Madlib, grimier shit. I was taken with hip hop culture when I saw breakdancing on TV as a little kid in the early 80s. And DJ culture was again from TV–Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit” on the American Music Awards or whatever that was. With the mannequins and the scratching, I’m like, I’m in. I don’t even care what this is. I’m in.
Comedy and/or comedy music gods?
I think I mentioned some before. OH, and I love Cedric the Entertainer. Probably the most naturally talented dude I can think of. I always loved Rakim, KRS and GURU, Always loved most of the dudes you’d hear rattled off in so many “top 10” type conversations. Lots of respect for Jay-Z and Eminem. I really find the art of freestyling to be the most engaging and interesting part of hip hop. That and battle DJ shit, which has 100 percent passed me by with all the shit folks do these days–computer-based shit and all the tools. They’re sick though. I like to scratch. I come from the scratching for hours until you’re sweaty in your one bedroom apartment type place. And mixtapes. I’m kind of old. But yeah, freestyling, that shit is on some battle and bare your soul type shit.
Do you practice yoga outside of music video sets?
I have. I have this Baron Baptiste video I’ll do at home. I used to go to this gym. That shit is hard man. I’m a tall dude and not flexible, but I really appreciate the practice. I like how it really focuses you on the line between tension and release, a deep concept if you can apply it across other parts of your life. I need to get back in there, come to think of it.
Ever actually dated a yogini?
Yeah, I dated one girl who was big into yoga right when it was emerging as super popular. As yoga emerged, our connection subsided. Didn’t work out. Had nothing to do with yoga.
What do you do when you’re not rapping about yoga and Whole Foods?
I write music for TV commercials. I also score films. Check the website out: DavidWittman.com I’m also working hard at picking up tennis but it’s slow going.
What does the horizon hold?
Having fun man. Trying to make sure all the relationships stay strong and healthy, do good work. If more funny shit comes from me, cool, if it comes from other folks, cool. I’ve got this talented group of friends that have come together serendipitously. And it’s an exciting and special thing.
George Peele enjoys strapping on height enhancers and aurally ambushing strangers. He is Music Features Editor for 303’s print edition. Follow him on Twitter: @Orangepeelmoses. Avatar image courtesy Jonathan Shoup.