Here are just a few of the things that the mysterious people who say things (“they say”), are actually saying about the comic, Chris Turner. They say he is a “virtuoso,” “flawless,” a “rap God,” maybe even a “super-freak” if you count the opinion of our writer, Max Green. But such praise is futile until you’ve actually seen Chris in action.
The way it works is Chris will get up on stage, be hilariously funny, and eventually ask the audience to shout out some random topics, such as “prostate exams,” “bacon,” “Ninja’s,” “sex with Donald Trump.” Then, once he is satisfied with the list, he will drop a coherent, fresh, funny, and epic freestyle rap using these topics, and he does it all without Googling, rehearsing, or even taking one moment to collect his thoughts.
After watching the above video, it is probably clear that Chris is also an “Oxford-educated white boy.” And when he is not educating himself on random topics that he might be asked to rap about at some point in his career, he is performing at the Edinburgh and Perth “Fringe”, the Comedy Cellar in New York, and at the Comedy and Magic Club in Los Angeles. Chris also hones his craft writing for the show, “Epic Rap Battles of History” which is entering into its sixth season this year.
So we figured that a man with this much education and talent would have some incredibly brilliant things to say about pranks, pickup lines, wearing boxers, and finding inspiration. And before we’d even thought about what else Chris could say, this happened:
URBASM: Hey Chris, how much practice did it take to be able to freestyle rap as good as you? Or maybe its just something you were born with?
Chris Turner: It’s definitely a learnable skill, rather than a solely innate one. Not to dissuade people, but I started when I was 12, so that’s 18 years of practice… but I think I was pretty good at it by the time I was 19 years old, and all the time since then has just been ratcheting the skill level up incrementally. (I’ll let you in on a secret: the hard part isn’t the rapping, it’s learning enough about all sorts of esoteric topics so that I have the raw materials to rap about.)
URBASM: What has been your favorite combo of words requested from an audience?
Chris Turner: At a recent gig in Hamburg, Germany, the audience suggestions included ‘The Uncanny Valley’, ‘Don’t Mention the War’, and ‘A Day in the Life of an Aztec High Priest’. I really enjoy suggestions like these – a combination of niche knowledge, trivial quotes, and totally out-there topics – there’s nothing more boring than a crowd that just shout unimaginative things like ‘Sex’ or ‘Donald Trump’. Please note, ‘Sex with Donald Trump’ would be an amazing suggestion, although I probably couldn’t post it online, due to fears about my Green Card.
URBASM: Good call, Chris. Can you do our writer Max Green a favor and drop a quick freestyle about bacon, ninja’s, Tequila, and high heels?
Chris Turner: I would if I wasn’t currently typing these answers in a cafe, and the fact that starting to rap about bacon right now would make me look absolutely bonkers.
URBASM: We wouldn’t want you to do that, Chris. Okay, switching topics – what inspires you to get things done each day?
Chris Turner: Not sure I have inspiration to ‘get things done’ on a daily basis. This morning I changed the filter in our A/C because it needed changing. I’ll write some jokes later because I need to have a new hour of material to perform in two weeks. Things need doing so I do them because if I don’t, I’ll have dirty air and a crowd of disappointed Australians.
URBASM: (Laughs) What is your favorite quote?
I put quotes as my desktop wallpaper, the two I currently have are:
You can scarcely imagine the beauty and magnificence of the places we burnt. It made one’s heart sore to burn them” – General Charles Gordon
Mortals rejoice that there has existed so great ornament of the human race” – Isaac Newton’s Epitaph
I’m currently interested in Colonial legacies and the collapse of empires, hence the first one. The second one I’ll probably use as a show title at some point.
My favorite quote of all time is Sic Transit Gloria Mundi, but nowadays more people know that so it feels less special. It’s still a favorite mantra of mine, though.
URBASM: What is one thing about you most people don’t know, and might not believe?
Chris Turner: My exterior bone density is six times greater than the average, and my interior bone density is five times less than the average. So I have Wolverine-like bone strength, but they would have a much harder time healing if they ever broke.
URBASM: We don’t even know what to say to that! Okay, what is the best prank that you ever pulled off? Or best prank ever pulled on you?
Chris Turner: On the last day of school, I orchestrated a plan to move my form’s classroom underground, into the foundations of the building. It has half a million views on YouTube:
URBASM: If you were to have a dinner party and could invite anyone, living or deceased, who would you invite and how would you choose to entertain them?
Chris Turner: If I was cool I would name a bunch of rappers and say ‘spit some freestyles’ but I am not cool so it would be a bunch of white, male poets and authors: the War Poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon (and his boyfriend Stephen Tennant), Byron, Shelley, Keats, Tennyson, Eliot, Dickens, Joyce; and I would let my wife conduct a lively discourse while I do the cooking and serve wine.
Chris’s Favorite Things
Shakespeare has some belters. Timon of Athens has two of the best:
“I’ll beat thee, but I should infect my hands”
“Away, thou tedious rogue! I am sorry I shall lose a stone by thee” (throws a stone at him).
It’s about a man being buried in a sky blue suit, and it’s not as good written down.
Memory of a first date?
I took her (a vegetarian) to a meat-centric restaurant in Paris where she could only eat a plate of expensive mushrooms, spent the meal talking about my ex, forgot my wallet, asked her to pay, told her I’d pay her back for my half. We’re married now (that’s not a joke).
Recent favourites include The Sellout by Paul Beatty and Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.
Not sure it’s my favourite but I’ve watched Catch me if You Can at least 8 times.
Fargo is great. (I hate ‘favourite’ questions, my favourites change so often).
Bucket list item?
I’ve done most of what I want to do, so we’re really into third tier bucket list items that I don’t particularly care about – almost catch a massive fish so I can tell the story in bars when I’m old.
My dad’s car got stolen, so I put on a toy police helmet and demanded they take me along in the prowler to ‘hunt down robbers’. I like that they humoured me. I must point out that A) I was very young, and B) this was in the UK where our cops murder way fewer black people.
“I’ve forgotten my wallet, can you pay and I’ll pay you back my half?”
Bonus: Speed Round with Chris
Nutella or Bacon?
Bacon. Nutella is also good. Did you know that 70% of the world’s hazelnuts come from the Black Sea coast of Turkey and are picked by children? It’s why they’re so delicious.
Boxers or Briefs?
Boxers, and I’m currently panicking as my favourite brand have gone out of business, so I’m going to have to hunt down new ones soon.
Piercing or tattoo?
I have neither, and both are not in keeping with my aesthetic; I’ll say piercing as they’re temporary.
Cat or dog?
Cat, specifically my cat Colonel Widdershins, who, in the words of the classic film ‘Barbie: Princess and the Pauper’ is “my doggish cat”.
Morning or night?
Night. Comedy doesn’t work in daylight.
Phone or text (for dirty talk)?
Text, so I can specify the accent it’s to be read in, as the English accent is laughable when trying to be dirty.
Thank you for chatting with us Chris. But your mentorship does not have to stop here. No! You can follow Chris on his Instagram and check out all his latest freestyles as soon as they drop on Youtube. And if you are in Australia (or planning to be) you can catch him live here or here. He also has specials available on Vimeo, and you can order personalized freestyle raps from Chris on cameo: cameo.com/christurnercomedy
And now we interrupt these promotions for more promotional material in the form of suggested reading.
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