A lot of Philadelphia comedians got their start at the Wednesday-night open mic at the Laff House on South Street. For many a young Philly comic, The Legendary Wid — long-time emcee of the Wednesday mic — was the first face they saw.
Many continue on to “the grind” or “the trenches” where they run into Wid again, witnessing his manic yard-sale pun-a-thon at suburban clubs or fire-halls. He’s induced his fair share of groans, but if you give him a chance to make you laugh, he’ll always get you with something.
Here are some tidbits about Jersey native Michael Baldwin, aka The Legendary Wid, Philly’s prop-savant comedian extraordinaire…
The Wid started out as an antique dealer in Princeton. He would entertain customers in his store by riffing on all the merchandise. He put together a two or three minutes of material for a local gong-show, and from there he was off to the races.
In or about 1999, after a comedy show on South Street, Wid was attacked by skin-heads. They called him “Waldo” and he told them to fuck off. They chased him down and beat him, leaving him with a concussion which stalled his headlining career.
Ronaldo Spettacolare, of PHIT’s house team Outside Voices, will be performing his character based/musical/performance art act Yung Creamed Currency Panty Dropper Billionaires this Thursday at the independent comedy-showcase-who-could Hey, We’re Cool.
WitOut: What exactly is the YCCPDB?
Ronaldo Spettacolare: The Yung Creamed Currency Panty Dropper Billionaires, is a one person, eight member rap group starring myself as Uncle Jungle, Hustle Sproutz, Fifi Dundutta, Pup E. Luv, Spettacoloco, Rapeshaun Biermot, Drapes, and Jozay Pesos. Makes sense, right?
So, basically, I’m all eight members of the group whether they’re live on stage on in the studio.
WitOut: Did you start doing YCCPDB before you started Improv or vice versa?
Spettacolare: The YCCPDB came into fruition roughly a year before I started taking Improv classes at the Philly Improv Theater, but it/they were created within a manner consistent with Improv. It started out with my buddy making beats on a beat machine and me rapping in different voices. We recorded it on my phone, and after laughing at the song, I decided to create names for the members and for the group.
WitOut: How does one medium inform the other?
Spettacolare: Improv and the YCCPDB have been able to complement each other immensely, both behind the scenes and live on stage.
Every YCCPDB song, since their inception, has been made up on the spot. It’s safe to say you won’t find any real handwritten YCCPDB lyrics on eBay in fifteen years going for a whopping sum of money. The entire first album (and the soon-to-be-released-because-it-isn’t-finished-yet second album) consist of songs that are all Freestyle, or “off the top of the head” if you will.
Although the songs performed at their shows are the ones you’ll find on the album, everything about the show, from the dialogue between members on stage between songs to the dance moves during them is all improvised. Being an improviser has made being on stage an even more comfortable thing, and it shows in every performance.
WitOut: How would you classify YCCPDB? Is it parody? Is it homage?
Spettacolare: The YCCPDB is pure satire. Each member is basically poking fun at the real “rappers” you’d find in mainstream music today. For example, upon seeing and hearing Fifi Dundutta first time, you’ll see he clearly spoofs Lil Wayne with his high pitched whiny voice and braided hair whereas Drapes just straight up makes fun of Drake.
Honestly, I feel as if the music that you’ll find out there today is absolutely terrible. So, the idea with the YCCPDB was to make something worse, ultimately making it so that the only option the world would have left after the YCCPDB makes their mark is to try to and make things better.
WitOut: YCCPBD is getting a reputation for larger than life performances. What should people expect when they come to see you perform live?
Spettacolare: There’s only one thing to expect at a YCCPDB live performance: ANYTHING. Yes, anything goes at a YCCPDB show, and that’s usually made apparent within the first thirty seconds. The goal for the live shows is to create a feast for both the eyes and the ears that’ll have you leaving fully satisfied with what you just witnessed.
Follow the YCCPDB on Twitter @YCCPDB and on Soundcloud . YCCPDB will be performing this Thursday at Hey, We’re Cool (8pm, L’etage, $5).