Comedy songs, from Flanders and Swann to Morcombe and Wise, from The Flight Of The Conchords to Tim Minchin, it’s a type of comedy we’ve probably all experienced before. Though I wonder how familiar you are with Chap-Hop?
Chap-Hop very much does what it says on the tin, a fusion of stereotypical British behaviour and interests (think tea-drinking, cricket and the art of etiquette), explored through polite raps and big Hip-hop beats.
Hip-hop (rightly or wrongly), is a genre often criticised for glamourising violence and degrading women and so the juxtaposition of Jeeves and Wooster meets Jay- Z is potential for comedy gold.
On Saturday night I was at the Exeter Phoenix for the Steampunk Ball. What’s Steam Punk you may be thinking? Well it’s tricky to explain, but think a subculture of 19th Century Britain, Victorians, steam-powered machinery and science fiction and you hopefully will begin to get there…
Never one to shy away from dressing for the occasion, I dusted off my corset and Victorian-style velvet, eager to see the headlining act, Chap-Hop performer Professor Elemental.
Professor Elemental was on fine form, energetic, engaging warmly with his audience and very obviously enjoying himself on stage.
A master of audience participation, Elemental actively encouraged the audience to get involved throughout by having them sing back his humour-laden lyrics and even improvising a rap with their suggestions. A particular highlight was his deliciously silly, ‘A Cup Of Brown Joy’, about the wonders of drinking tea,
‘When I say Assam you say lovely.’ ‘
‘When I say herbal you say no thanks’
There are of course other notable Chap-Hop performers out there, Mr B The Genteleman Rhymer, is especially skilled in parodying popular Hip-Hop hits, check out ‘Straight Out of Surrey,’ his homage to N.W.A’s ‘Straight Outta Compton’ on YouTube and do catch him live if you can.
But Elemental really impresses with his ability to use humour to deliver positive messages through songs such as ‘All in Together’-a song about celebrating our differences. he also uses humour to touch upon more serious topics in ‘Don’t Feed The Trolls’- a song tackling online abuse.
Elemental undoubtedly held the audience in the palm of his hand throughout his performance, even inviting them on stage for a dance at the end-they happily obliged. Although Mr B and his banjolele also make for an entertaining evening out, Professor Elemental’s talent for breaking down ‘the Fourth Wall’, makes him the Chap-Hop champion. Go on over to YouTube and see what I’m making a fuss about.