Rehearsal with DC Young Fly and Emmanuel Hudson
When we arrived at the rehearsal space it was 10 pm and The Ratchet People live show run through was on schedule. We left at 2:30 am, laughing almost every minute. After allowing an ample amount of creative bickering, bantering, laughing and complaining it was time to say a prayer. Something not rare in entertainment amongst black people and very common here in The Bible Belt, prayer made me feel a since of order.We were invited into the circle. Balancing the camera on it's monopod, I joined the circle and and locked hands. First there were more jokes about who was praying then there was jokes about the prayer itself. Reverence was no where to be seen. Still the prayer still seemed to have meaning.
We saw first hand the delicate balance that was taking place. Even in the most reverent of occasions, comedy came first. The balancing act continued through the The Ratchet People Meet live show rehearsal. Ratchet People Meet began as a way for Emmanuel Hudson and his brother to mock dating online and take advantage of the relatablity of relationship comedy using online comedy skits. They gained over 100 thousand followers in the account's first month and now have over 1 million followers. Capitalizing on the success, Ratchet People Meet evolved into a live show that incorporates stand-up, sketch comedy, and music.
It's not easy to wrangle the minds of young comedic geniuses, who could at any moment stumble upon the joke, the catch phrase, or ad-lib that could represent another million followers. Or better yet...million dollars. Still, the rehearsal goes very smoothly. Lines are forgotten and steps are missed but with each new take, the skits improve dramatically, growing exponentially in entertainment right before our eyes. The process is working.
The largest problem of the night? The troop cant't seem to get on beat for a gospel song about erectile disfunction. The director has incorporated a live pianist and though it has added a great sonic advantage, some choir members just can't find the rhythm. DC Young Fly, acting as preacher, entertained for up to 30 minutes as the choir struggled to find the cadence of the song. Finding new ways to change his jokes in the same tone that Kirk Franklin would use to inspire an audience to praise the Lord, Fly examined every possible way to sing the song. He stumbled on gold along the way. Eventually he acted as choir director to synchronize his choir, over-emphazing the direction a process that gained success.
From start to finish, the show is crude and vulgar but honestly reflects contemporary black culture and it's issues. From the on-going struggle with the african-american population and police, to the effect of social media on relationships, Ratchet People Meet examines many of today's most palpable issues head-on. As a millennial, I've found many of the issues that we face aren't given a platform in mainstream media. Perhaps that's why so many of my friends don't have cable. Our stories and ideas are being told online in their purest form.
Throughout the night, people would randomly scream out, " blasphemous!" as they struggled to control their laughter. Mixing religious ideas and comedy has always been hard to swallow but for Emmanuel Davis and DC Young Fly that seems like the plan from the beginning. After the rehearsal, Davis told us his entire goal in comedy is to glorify Jesus and Fly shared that although creating content that the world will laugh at can be demanding. he knows he's on God's path. Since he's found his path, he can't stop.