So a funny engineer and a lawyer-turned-rapper walk into Theatre 99. Yeah, it sounds like the makings of a clichéd joke. But it’s really going to happen on Sat. Feb. 12. Viet Huynh is an engineer and stand-up comic, while Eugene Ahn, otherwise known as Adam WarRock, quit his job as an attorney to focus on his nerdcore rap project. Together, they’re presenting “An Intimate Evening of Comedy and Rap Music,” an intentionally lengthy title for their unique show.
“We wanted it to sound like it’s a real classy thing to do even though it’s stand-up comedy and rap music,” Ahn says.
Huynh currently lives in Atlanta but was raised in Goose Creek. After reaching the finals of the 2010 Charleston Comedy Festival stand-up competition, he maintained a good relationship with the Theatre 99 folks. Meanwhile, Ahn lives in Memphis. He spent three years hating his life as a lawyer while making music on the side. A couple of his songs got attention around the internet, so he finally quit the daily grind and has spent the last six months pursuing his passion.
Huynh found out about Ahn through a comic book podcast, and Facebook eventually brought the two together. Charleston will be their second performance; the first was in Atlanta, where the combination of standup and rap was well-received, despite the weird mix of performance genres.
“Comedy definitely sets the presence to get you to listen. It’s not like a band playing in the background at a bar, where people are having their own conversations and trying to listen to people,” Huynh says. “If you’re at a comedy show, you need undivided attention. I think that sets it up perfect for what [Ahn] has to do later, after I do my set. Hopefully they’re in a good mood and they’re happy.”
Ahn considers the collaboration the best show he’s ever done. “In my mind, it was never a weird kind of mesh, but it works for people who haven’t seen that together before,” Ahn says. “I think it works better than you think it would.”
Huynh’s act goes into what it was like growing up Asian-American in the South, with some observational humor and relationship stuff thrown in. Then Ahn raps about Ira Glass and Star Wars while telling the story of quitting his job. His set involves a lot of audience interaction, which Ahn says is much easier to get out of a comedy crowd.
“A lot of the music that I do is … it’s not necessarily humor music, but there is a sense of humor in it or it’s not deathly serious rap music,” Ahn says. “I often find that when I go and do shows for a hip-hop crowd or an indie rock crowd, they’re not nearly as receptive as a comedy audience is. I really enjoy that atmosphere.”
The guys get plenty out of the format. Ahn says that at their first show, he was audibly laughing backstage throughout Huynh’s set; he almost forgot that he needed to perform. Huynh’s perspective is a little different. “Eugene talks about how he quit his job and everything, and I still have my full-time engineering job, and the more and more I listen to his stuff, the more I’m just like ‘I’m just going to quit. I’m going to do it,’” he laughs.
Charleston comedian David “Apples” Appleton will open and host the show. The guys will also make an appearance at Captain’s Comics earlier that evening. Call (843) 766-6611 for more info.