2015 seems to be the year for Freestyle Funny Comedy Show. The improvisational and original stand-up group has recently been ranked amongst Comedy Hype’s Top 10 Rising Comedy Acts. FFCS consists of 4 members; Brian “BDaht” McLaughlin, Darren “Big Baby” Brand, Demar “Osama Bin Drankin” Rankin, and Anthony “Chico” Bean. Each member proving to be inanely hilarious as well as proud products of HBCUs. BDaht and Chico Bean both attended Winston Salem State University, while Darren Brand and Drankin attended North Carolina A&T. In an exclusive interview with HBCU Buzz, the group let us know all about FFCS and how it all originated.
BDaht: I went to A&T and there was an event being hosted at the Carolina Theatre. [Darren] Brand was hosting and he just had the whole Carolina Theatre singing the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song. This was a decade ago and I was just like “I’ve never seen anybody do that before, that’s crazy! Why didn’t I think of that? That’s brilliant! Who is this guy?”… Bean and I, we went to Winston Salem State [University] together, but Bean was a couple years behind me….I met him more once we started doing the comedy… Drank and I met through radio, he was just a very off the chain guy…When I started the FFCS I was like “We need some guys to rock with.” … we needed some folks to make the group, and those were the guys that I was rocking with at the time, and those were the guys that I knew were trying to some things on the comedy level; and that was that.
Chico Bean: I knew Drankin, we were in the same fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Me and BDaht went to school together… When I came in as a freshman he was like “the guy” at the school… and then Brand, and we all came together through comedy.
When asked why they chose to go HBCUs, each member gave different yet side splitting answers.
BDaht: My grades would not allow me to go to [University of North] Carolina. Three years after high school my mom got remarried and my step dad told her that I needed to get a job and get my own place, or I needed to go to college… I decided “well listen If I can get into college, that’s another 4 years where I can be a bum and somebody else can pay for me to live…so where can I go? …I said lets go to Winston Salem State. I applied…I got in, and then 6 years later, boom, I graduated.
Darren Brand: I actually got in to Carolina and was going to go until I went to orientation–
BDaht: Are you serious? You were accepted and you didn’t even go?
Darren Brand: I got the acceptance letter and everything…when we went to college it was 2002, so you know if you were black and you got over a 1,000 on your SAT, you could go anywhere. I went to [University of North] Carolina and it was just a lot of people that weren’t like me. I already went to a majority white high school because all my friends had flunked out by sophomore year. When I came to A&T I was so amazed that that many black people was actually trying to attend class, and felt at home and I had to go.
Osama Bin Drankin: …I was familiar with HBCUs already…When I was a junior in high school I visited A&T’s homecoming, and then my senior year, I visited A&T on University Day I believe it was. After those two parties, I had those two visits, man it was a wrap for me. I knew where I was going. I always wanted to go to an HBCU…
Chico Bean: I came to college because of D.C Tag and D.C Lee. I’m from Washington D.C and my senior year in high school they said that wherever you go, if you’re a D.C public school student they [were] going to pay half the tuition…so at that point I was like “I can afford to go to college now. I went to A&T they were on fall or spring break so it was nobody there so I was like “man it’s dead out here…”then we went to Winston Salem State [University]. When I got to Winston Salem State, true story, I saw 20 women before I saw one dude. I was like “this I where I’m going to school right here…”
Though the men’s choices to attend weren’t your typical responses, each admitted that their experience at their respected HBCUs, played important roles in their career. Naming reasons such as family orientation, confidence building, and perfecting of craft. FFCS banded together in 2009 and they’ve been performing ever since. The guys let it be known that their beginnings were indeed humble.
B-Daht: We like to see the progression of what we’ve done, because our very first show, what was it 32 people there? Is that being modest?
Chico Bean: No that’s being unrealistic.
Darren Brand: It was a good 17 people there.
Since then, the guys have gone on to perform across the nation in front of 50,000 plus people per year via their collegiate tour. The group began doing college tours early on. Chico Bean openly admitted that initially it was because they were in need of money. Getting their start with collegiate tours involved the crew attending National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) Conventions, and showing what they had to offer to different university representatives. They’ve toured at least 60 colleges, ranging in size. Traveling through all types adversity figuratively and literally to deliver their comedic gifts, FFCS will not stop. “We drove out to a college one time and it was so much snow that the GPS told us to get out and walk to the destination,” B-Daht stated. Two of the four members of FFCS, Chico Bean and BDaht, are currently cast members of MTV 2’s Nick Cannon Presents: “Wild ‘N Out”. Darren Brand will be making his debut on the show when it premieres this summer. The general consensus amongst the group was that being a part of the show is a great experience for them.
Outside of Freestyle Funny Comedy Show and Wild ‘N Out, each of the guys also have their individual careers and lives. Osama Bin Drankin and BDaht are both a part of North Carolina’s 102 Jamz morning show, “3 Live Crew”. Darren Brand is a part of Nxlevel, a promotional company, Product of Better Judgment (PB&J) clothing line, as well as dual hosting with Chico Bean. Chico Bean is working on a plethora of different shows and establishing company, New Legends; which gives young men a platform to display their talent.
FFCS is humbled by the opportunity to be featured on Comedy Hype’s Top 10 Rising Comedy Acts. The group’s vibe and chemistry has made them a force to be reckoned with thus far in their careers. Delivering different comedic styles individually, yet still being able to gel together as a cohesive group could be difficult for others, but definitely not these four. According to Chico Bean, “We all carry each other.”
To find out more about the Freestyle Funny Comedy Show, and future performance dates, please visit theffcs.com.