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Is There Life After Das Racist? Relax, Dapwell Says, Yes, There Is.

Is There Life After Das Racist? Relax, Dapwell Says, Yes, There Is.
Photo courtesy of the artist

Das Racist breaking up means hypeman Dapwell has been unleashed on the world as a free agent. Get ready for funny TV shows with rappers and something called Winky Taterz.

By Beverly Bryan
December 5, 2012

This is it. Das Racist broke up. It seems like everybody just needs to do their own thing, right? Kool A.D. (Victor Vasquez) is manifestly launching a solo career. Heems (Himanshu Suri) has his Greedhead label to keep him occupied. But what about hypeman Dapwell (Ashok Kondabolu)? We were, like, “what’s his next move?”

Since we’re sure you were thinking the exact same thing, we called him to see what he was up to. He was shopping. But, beyond that, it’s, you know, TV, movies, whatever. And, true to his role as extra comic relief for the always at least half-joking rap group, pretty much all of his ish is going to be funny.

You’re in a store? What store are you in?

It’s called Assembly New York. It’s a store by Katz’s they sell weird clothes and they have their own line, but the back section usually has a lot of older men stuff. I got this Issey Miyaki thing there, some weird jackets, really just some unusually cut, tunic shaped things. That’s why I like to come here. And the women’s section has some really awesome dresses and stuff.

It’s unseasonably warm. I’m hanging out with Despot. We just did our radio show [Chillin' Island] and now we’re going to go be dashing.

I heard Das Racist broke up and I want to talk you about life after Das Racist. I know you have, like, a million projects.  But is Das Racist really broken up. Is it for-real for real?

We’re broken up forever, probably.

So, definitely.

Yeah, I mean, who knows how broke we’ll get. Right now, I’m a solo flyer.

But if Coachella offers you enough money you’ll headline?

Coachella? Hell, yeah. You know, we’re as broken up as the latest offer. If somebody wants to offer us $50,000 to trot out the hits, we’ll trot out the goddamn hits, baby! And you can quote me on that.

So, the members of Das Racist just needed some time to do their own things?

Yeah, yeah. Well, Hima needs a lot of help with Greedhead so I do a lot of teeny tiny, tedious tasks for him. Mostly, right now, the biggest thing that I’m doing is talking with a certain producer about developing Chillin’ Island for a proper outlet. It’s going to be me and Despot. We’re working right now on finalizing that budget and locking down a sound stage.

Me and Despot do the interviews with a guest and the way we’re going incorporate Hima is we’re going to have him post-interview. He watches the interview and he wears a green turtleneck. Then we’re going to shoot his green screen scene and he’s going to be a floating head that responds here and there to our interview. So, if Despot says something, Heems can say “that’s stupid.” I think it’s a really interesting device to have somebody who is a floating head that gets to watch the interview after it’s been conducted.

Photo courtesy of the artist

Kinda like Space Ghost meets …

Yeah, a little bit like Space Ghost and that little fucker from Tom Green who used to be in the back.

Okay, and when you say “proper outlet” you mean Chillin’ Island would be like a late night show on actual television?

No, no. We have another TV project we’re working on right now with some friends and J-Zone.  And another comedian I can’t name who has an obligation on a big TV show right now. That would be something for TV. This would be something still on the holy Internet but we would get money and stuff.

So, you have two TV shows in the works, one will be on the Internet and the other will be on real TV.

In theory. Chillin’ Island is a go. The other one, we’re going to shoot the pilot ourselves and then when we do the presentation to different networks we’ll have that to show them.

What is Winky Taterz?

Winky Taterz is a stupid name that I came up with. I used to send out these Thanksgiving emails with little Photoshops in them and one of them was this little winky mashed potato and the name of the file was Winky Taterz and someone said that it sounded like an east London grime rapper and I started calling myself that and pretending I was a rapper. And that’s kind of actually still where I’m at right now, but I started tweeting about it when I was bored, so I’m going to put together a six-song EP in the next two months, mostly just to make music videos. It’s gonna be this mix of Quasimoto and Arca.

Good to know Das Racist breaking up is definitely not the end of music projects involving Das Racist.

Definitely, not.  Heems says he’s never going to make another rap album, but he’ll be back. And Vic has way too many albums coming out. He has something called Peaceful Solutions that’s coming out soon and his next album 63 will be out in the next few months. He has about three albums worth of music.

What’s going to happen to the material that was meant for the follow up to Relax?

I mean, there wasn’t much, but we do have a lot of songs in the vault. We’re not sure right now. Probably just hold on to it for a while, play some of the rough demos on my radio show from time to time. Maybe we’ll put something out.

Well, that’s an incentive to listen to the radio show.

That’s an incentive to not listen to the radio show.

Are you doing any projects with your brother? [Comedian Hari Kondabolu]

Yeah. We have something called the Untitled Kondabolu Brothers Project that we’ve been doing at The Peoples Improv Theater the last few years and we’re doing podcast. And a couple other things. We’re working on an old TV show that we wrote three episodes for called Royal Flush Port-A-Potty Company.

I got to see the movie Dosa Hunt recently. [Directed by Amrit Singh and starring Himanshu Suri and Ashok Kondabolu, among others. Check it out.] How would you describe the movie to someone who hasn’t seen it?

It’s half a rainy day in the lives of a group of friends in New York-based buzz bands enjoying a south Indian breakfast food.

What makes a good dosa?

I think it comes down to the technique of the person who is ladling out the lentil and rice flour into the pan. It’s, like, extremely difficult. I tried it a few times and they ended up being really gummy. I like mine extremely crisp. Sometimes I like them with onion. That’s the way I grew up eating them in the house. And that was one of the problems I had with some of the dosas we had in Manhattan. They didn’t have the crispness.

Homestyle is best?

Yeah. That was what was funny, because I was the only south Indian there. I was the only one who really grew up eating dosa, like in my house and stuff like that. So, I felt kind of weird about the whole thing. It was cool though. It was like if a Mexican dude and three Venezuelan dudes went on a molé hunt. The one Mexican dude, you know, there’s nothing wrong with it, but he’d be like “what the hell?”

Last question. In my opinion, food movies are supposed to be sexy, like Chocolat, Tampopo, Like Water for Chocolate. Do you think the movie is sufficiently sexy?

I think there’s quite a few handsome brown men involved. Dosa, honestly, might not be the sexiest food in the world, but I think we more than make up for that with our physical appearances.

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