Mike Epps: Release Therapy
Throughout Mikes career, hes had to shoot down critics. Folks said hed never make it in comedy. The man went on to host Def Comedy Jams. People said hed never make it in comedy movies. Next Friday, Friday After Next and All About the Benjamins became late-night classics. Cats even swore hed never make it in comedy movies that didnt star Ice Cube. As far we know, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins and this months dark comedy Next Day Air made zero mention of the rapper-turned-actor.
Cubes name does come up towards the end of this interview, but not before the fun-hearted Epps speaks on humility, his approach to comedy and one day having his own sitcom.
HipHopDX: You seem to keep an optimistic outlook on things. With the ups and downs youve had in your life, would you consider yourself a success story yet?
Mike Epps: Yeah, you know, Im definitely a success story from where I come from. But I feel like my book hasnt been told. It aint fully-written. When youre tellin a book that aint fully written, youre leaving it open for people to know more and what more.
DX: Are you at a point now where folks in their early 20s are looking to you as a mentor?
Mike Epps: Oh yeah. Today, Im going over to the childrens hospital and Im going to metro [correctional facility] to talk to the juvenile kids. I do that all the time, without nobody knowing about it.
DX: What was it like working with famed music director Benny Boom on Next Day Air?
Mike Epps: Benny Booms gonna get a lot of work in the business. Benny Boom was really strategic about what he wanted. What I liked about him was you could tell he went and did his homework. He wasnt just like, Oh, I wanna be famous for makin movies. You get a lot of those first-time video directors and they just wanna be in the business. But Benny Boom really, really got into it. When you see the film, youll see all the great movie influences like the Guy Ritchie movies, Pulp Fiction and Dead Presidents. It has a lot of elements of other great films.
DX: Talk about your character in the movie.
Mike Epps: I think Brody is definitely in the streets. Hes definitely a crook. Hes a lil more led on by his partner Guch, played by Wood Harris. Wood is a good actor. He played that menacing role. My character was down for the robbery. Who that character was as a person, had [the script played out differently], he would have probably changed. Nah, I aint fuckin with that shit! My character was like, Lets get the money. Lets have a good time."
DX: What was it like getting those first couple of checks from doing stand-up?
Mike Epps: It was good. Ive never really been a materialistic person. Ive never really been caught up on it. I like nice stuff, but Ive been able to adjust without it. Thats why I think my comedy has been so good. I have relied on that when I didnt have nuthin. A guy with money cant outdo me around the ladies. Ima walk out of there broke with all the girls because Ima crack the jokes and give something your money cant buy, baby! Thats what a lot of kids and people have to do. They gotta rely on what God gave them and use it to the fullest. Talent replaces everything. I dont care what it is. Even in your profession- journalism. Thats a God-given talent cause youre able to pull stuff outta people like us. Its almost therapeutic. For real. You make people say stuff they wouldnt normally. Actors and stuff, they dont open up to everybody. But in interviews, they say things they dont normally say. I know I do. Its therapeutic.
DX: Ive heard that doing comedy is therapeutic too. How has your approach to the stage changed over the years?
Mike Epps: I know exactly what I want out of it now. At first, it was like, What do I want? Now I want to make my fans happy and I want to walk away successful. I want people to be able to say, I liked the way he set that up. I liked how he broke it down. Details are important to me now. Im more into what Im doing as opposed to just going out there freestylin. I like to know what Im doing and how to attack.
DX: Will there be a Mike Epps television show?
Mike Epps: Oh yeah. Im working on a TV show right now, a sitcom thats gonna be really, really funny about my life. Ima change my regular life, so that life Im playing on TV will be my past. The life you see me in right now will be my past when I get the TV show.
DX: Whats the timetable for that?
Mike Epps: About in another two years.
DX: And what about the movie with Ice Cube, Janky Promoters?
Mike Epps: It aint comin out yet. Youll get another interview for it.