MC Steinberg Does Aaron Carter
By Gili Malinsky
The Special Without Brett Davis begins, as is to be expected, without comedian Brett Davis. A public access show on Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN), its latest episode features two women talkshow hosts ready to interview special guests, newscasters with a slew of awful news and a downtrodden weather man. Except, of course, Davis is front and center, playing one of the women and clad in a wig, red lipstick and a dress. The show's hosted each week by one of his characters (Dracula, the very serious Smith, a scientist pedophile ...) and features cooky storylines, punk music and the colorful genius of New York's alt comedy scene. Davis spoke to us about the creation of The Special, as he prepared for its live rendition on November 17th.
So when did you start doing these characters?
[When I was 15,] I called into "The Best Show", which is Tom Scharpling’s radio show - I thought it would be fun to prank call - and he kind of hung up on me. I called in again and he hung up on me and I was doing this weird voice the third time and he was like, OK, what’s your deal? I said my name was Steinberg but when I rapped my name was MC Steinberg and he was like ... let me hear one of your songs. And [I rapped] an Aaron Carter parody but by somebody that's really sad. He was like, OK, you can call in every week.
You inherited this crazy time slot on public access when hero Chris Gethard's show moved to Fusion. What do you love about it?
There’s nobody telling me what not to do. At the end of the day, my idea is the thing that happens ... There is a lot of compromise but ultimately, if I wanna do an episode that’s got a weird squid monster, there’s gonna be people who come in Wednesday that are gonna build this squid monster. And that’s very cool.
What's hard about it?
I get anxious thinking, like, how could I ever pay back this favor to these people that are so talented and making my really stupid ideas come true ...
It's a pretty chaotic show, but still somehow perfectly cohesive. And all the many actors, comedians, guests, musicians - everyone looks good in the end!
That’s the cool thing about The Special - it very quickly stopped being a showcase for myself.
Who's someone you love having on?
There’s a thing on The Special - we talk about the Reynolds Rule. There are certain people that I’m not gonna write for ... [Comedian John Reynolds] did an episode where he played Brian Wilson [from the Beach Boys] and I was like, just do this story beat and this story beat and then say whatever you want [in the middle]. And he was like, “Fuck yeah! I’m Brian Wilson! Fuck you! Sorry I threw your bed out the window last night .. I was so fuckin' trashed on ass.”
What's something people really remember you by?
Our top clip on YouTube is "Big Baby Gets a Diaper Change," which is literally the least amount of thought we’ve ever put into a bit. But adult baby diaper fetishists, they love the clip.