Monday, May 11, 2009

Mike Epps: The “Next Day Air” Interview

with Kam Williams

Headline: Epps Day Air

Indiana native Mike Epps is one of the funniest entertainers around. Dividing his time between stand-up and film, the scene-stealing comedian has dominated the screen in everything from Next Friday to Friday After Next to The Honeymooners to All About the Benjamins. And Mike has made just as many memorable appearances in support roles in such flicks as Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, Soul Men, Hancock, Roll Bounce, Something New, Talk to Me, Malibu’s Most Wanted and Resident Evil 1 and 2.
Here, he talks about his new movie, Next Day Air, an ensemble comedy co-starring Donald Faison, Mos Def, Lauren London, Wood Harris and Debbie Allen.

KW: Hi, Mike, thanks again for the time.
ME: That’s alright.
KW: What interested you in Next Day Air?
ME: Well, it was an edgy script which was much, much different from what people normally see me doing. So, I had to sink my teeth into that. You know what I mean? I had to, because I felt like I had been boxed in, anyway. You feel me?
KW: Yeah, you felt like you were getting typecast. What film does Next Day Air remind you of?
ME: Pulp Fiction. It’s a dramedy, so people get to laugh and they get to see action. It’s a very entertaining, fun-filled movie.
KW: How was it working with such a talented cast?
ME: It was great working with a set of real actors, man. Of course, I respect all of them… Mos Def, Wood Harris, and the whole nine.
KW: You also had Donald Faison, Debbie Allen, Lauren London and Darius McCrary.
ME: Yeah, it was a nice gumbo, a nice mix.
KW: What did you think of Benny Boom as a director?
ME: I think Benny Boom is going to be in this business a long time. He was really, really great at bringing all the different cast members together and then shooting the movie that he envisioned.
KW: What would you say is the message of the movie?

KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?
ME: Yeah, I want you to ask me, “How does it feel to be a black man coming from the ghetto, with no education, no support, making it all the way to Hollywood, and you’re still in the ghetto in your mind?”
KW: Okay, so tell me how does it feel to be a black man from the ghetto with no education or support who has made it in Hollywood yet is still in the ghetto, mentally?
ME: It is very, very hard to make the adjustment. I’ve got so many attachments from my past that I damn near can’t enjoy all the great things that are going on in my life because of all of that stuff. It seems like the same thing that got me here is the same thing that worries the [expletive] out of it. It’s very, very weird man.
KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?
ME: [Hesitates]
KW: Last year, you answered, “Sometimes.”
ME: I was just about to say, “For the most part.”
KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?
ME: Yes I am, I do have fears. One of my biggest fears is killing somebody out hear for [expletive]-ing with me. I mean literally, for real, because there’s a thin line when you’re a comedian and you want people to take you seriously. I get a lot of people trying to take advantage of me because of my kindness. So, I’m either real nice to you, or I want to cut your head off. There’s no in between with me. I’ve got to find a happy medium, but I haven’t found it yet.
KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?
Last time, you said, The 48 Laws of Power.
ME: The Secret.
KW: The Rudy Lewis question: Who’s at the top of your hero list?
ME: Barack Obama.
KW: How did you feel when he became President?
ME: I felt great! I felt complete.
KW: What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?
ME: The biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome is loving myself 100%. And that’s still a battle. I love myself, but sometimes you can be your own worst enemy. And I think I’ve been my worst enemy in life, because others haven’t been able to do anything to me unless I allowed them to do it.
KW: The music maven Heather Covington question: What music are you listening to nowadays?
ME: I’m listening to John Legend, of course, Young Jeezy, Estelle and Gucci Mane.
KW: The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you had a good belly laugh?
ME: It’s been a while. I laughed hard when those Somali pirates hijacked that ship in the Gulf of Aden. I think they thought it was the Tom Joyner Cruise, and got mad when they got on board and there wasn’t no music or dancing. [Laughs]
KW: The Laz Alonso question: Is there anything your fans can do to help you?
ME: By being [expletive]-ing considerate!
KW: The “Realtor to the Stars” Jimmy Bayan question: Where in L.A. do you live?
ME: I ain’t gonna say that.
KW: How do you want to be remembered?
ME: The same way as I answered you last time. I want to be remembered as a funny, loving guy.
KW: Thanks again, and best of luck with the movie, Mike.
ME: I appreciate it too, man. Thanks for interviewing me again.

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