Saturday, April 21, 2007

Uh Oh

I had a funny idea for a scene. I have a scene partner in an acting class who's black, Muslim, maybe a little bit of a drama nerd, and in some ways a very typical sweet-tempered Texan. I like rap music, and I was just listening to Redman, and I had this mental image of her coming to the door. If you don't know rap music well, just take it as given that Redman is not the typical music of sweet-tempered, well-mannered, religious Texan drama nerds, and if a given individual of that description happened to be black, that would probably not be enough in and of itself to sway her to becoming a Redman fan.

Redman is rowdy.

Anyway, having gotten this funny image, I thought of a way to amp it even further. There's a New Orleans rap classic whose chorus goes, "I'm the nigger nigger nigger." I know a white guy who loves this song. He used to be a music journalist, it's one of those songs that was huge in New Orleans and I never heard it. Actually this guy's half Indian, half Dutch, but when I translate him into this scene in my mind, I make him an average white guy who happens to be a former music journalist, because it's funnier that way. This is what I picture: I'm rocking out to that song, instead of the Redman one, and my scene partner comes to the door. I'm suddenly embarassed, but it gets a thousand times worse when you hear my roommate, this white guy, in another room, saying the words along to the song. He comes into the room still parrotting the song, suddenly notices the INCREDIBLE faux pas, and goes oh shit.

It would have to be an incredibly compassionate and fair script for a scene like that to work -- but the truth is, everybody knows white guys who listen to rap and are absolutely comfortable with saying the N-word, if they're parrotting a rap song, yet totally uncomfortable with it if they're hearing it said to somebody it might actually describe. That kind of tension, that kind of irony, that's comedy.

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