Ben Bailey Smith, aka Doc Brown, brings his seamless mix of rap and stand-up to the BBC as he dissects country life, fatherhood and being cool.
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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
SOFTLY: 'Sup, bitches?
Ha-ha! How we doing? AUDIENCE WHOOPS
-Feeling good? AUDIENCE:
Do you want to stop being addressed as a non-specific homogeneous group?
LAUGHTER Start being catered to as the unique individuals you obviously are?
Er, there isn't time.
Er, yes, I'm Ben, sometimes known as Doc Brown.
I'm sure that's how you know me.
I'm a comic, and also an actor and a rapper.
People always ask me, especially in interviews,
why, why do you take up so many different disciplines?
You know, and, I tell them like I tell you, you know, that,
deep down, honestly, I just feel that I really,
I REALLY need the money. LAUGHTER
You know? But also, I diversify because
just being a travelling comic, it can get a bit,
it's just boring, man, it can get a bit tragic.
You know? A bit lonely.
So, I try and do just enough TV and other stuff to make sure that
I only have to do the gigs I want to do.
Pick and choose, you know?
So, I tend to just do gigs around 30 minutes or less from my house.
Which is the reason I'm here tonight.
That is the reason I'm here tonight for the BBC
because I know I can finish work and get back in time for
Match of the Day. That's the only reason I'm here.
But there are, there are, there are other reasons.
Um, I mean, there's elements, I should say,
to being a travelling comic that are OK.
I've seen the whole of the UK, I've seen everywhere,
everywhere in the UK, and believe it or not, there's some positives to that.
There are some positives.
Like, especially in the little towns and villages that I visit
those are my favourites because I've noticed if I, if I, like,
get my swagger on,
I'm walking through the little town centre and whatnot,
I see people's eyes, some of them,
they assume that I might be a little bit gangster.
And I love that!
I play up to that, my friends. I will, you know why,
because I don't have that luxury in the city that I come from.
I don't have that luxury in London. You out your mind? Listen,
ask anybody I know, ask my closest friends, my family, ask my mum. They'll tell you,
"Who, Doc? Oh, yeah, he's a pussy, that guy.
"Yeah, yeah... Yeah, that guy." LAUGHTER
And what can I say? Nothing. I was born a coward, I will die a coward.
It's got me out of many scrapes many a night. You know?
I like it, I don't mind it, you can call me a pussy,
I will take it, I will wear it, OK? Because it's true.
But you know what it made me realise travelling around the country,
is that it's all relative.
It's all relative, my friends.
You can call me a pussy in London, I will take that all day long.
But hey, let me tell you something, give me a baseball cap
and a bag of weed in the Cotswolds...
I am Tupac Shakur resurrected. OK?
I will be spitting gangster bars all over your village green.
Talkin' 'bout roll into your village like a boss, it was necessary.
First black guy you've seen since last February.
Huh! And I'm turning heads.
Bruv, you know the score.
Till I'm big news on your parish notice board.
In bigger cities, I'm light skinned. Now I'm dark.
Two spliffs on me, that makes me Howard Marks. Cos now the table's turned.
It's all relative.
That's right, old retired soldier, you better shift and take your
sheepdog with you and your zimmer frame.
Cos a bigger name just arrived in the game.
Listen, I'm too different, tip cows and shoot chickens.
Bruv, I do a crip walk while I'm fruit pickin'!
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
Oi! I didn't leave any money for the strawberries
at the side of the road and I'm taking more. Geez!
Oi, I'm camping here, this is my tent, bro,
and I'm walking on your grass, though your sign said no, whoa.
On your nature trail, kick a tree. What?
Rearrange all the doilies in your tea shop.
I'm your worst nightmare, bruv, it's not a dream.
If I'm on you, I'm on all your scones and clotted cream!
Mosey out of your village now with my kind of swag.
Return to London and I'm like, "Hi, guys, I'm back."
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
I can't be gangster in London, you out your mind?
Suicide. I cannot be gangster in this city.
I'm a parent. You know?
I can't be gangster rolling around London with my children!
Like, "Yeah, dis my crew."
She's 11, she's 8, what?
No! Give it up, you know? Give it up.
I mean, there's a lot of people, they still don't realise,
even after having children, you've made the supreme sacrifice.
You've made it. You've got to lay in that bed now.
People don't understand how many sacrifices you have to make.
I've sacrificed all the things that I hold dear.
That happened overnight, almost.
You know? All the things I used to enjoy, right?
You know, the girls, the drugs, the raving...
All the money I used to spend on trainers. Right?
Soon as the first one was born, all these things were deemed luxuries
and therefore, pffft! They were the first things to go.
And yeah, I resent my kids for that, sure. LAUGHTER
So, yeah, I kind of decided, you know,
that I would talk about some grown-up stuff.
I know people have expectations of me now.
They've seen me a few times and whatnot
but I'm a grown-up and I want to talk about some grown-up shit.
I heard there was a 21-year-old in here.
Is there anyone younger than that?
Have we got people younger than that? We got some young people in the house?
HANDFUL OF SHOUTS
Ah, I see someone waving over there. Poor man.
Well, listen, I ain't got nothing for you. All right?
You know, like, I mean, I appreciate your custom and shit but, um...
I ain't got nothing for you. All right? I don't know.
There's an assumption made about me, I suppose,
maybe because I rap and whatnot that I have some kind of
affinity with young people, you know?
I get a lot of calls from promoters.
There's always people asking me, "Hey, Doc,
"you want to come and do this gig? It's going to be great.
"It's gonna be, sort of like you know, it's an underage thing,
"you know, there's no bar but we're going to pack it with young people.
"They've seen you on YouTube, it's going to be amazing, you're going to love it."
And I always think, well, that's such a subjective observation,
you know, because I hate young people. LAUGHTER
I hate everything you stand for, you know? I do.
I hate, it's jealousy, really,
I hate the fact that you are people who are younger than me.
That bugs me. You know?
But it is jealousy, really, it's not really hatred, it's a frustration.
Because, to be honest, like, when I was that age,
when I was like 16, dude, I was a teenage rapper.
I did not believe that I would live this long. OK?
I didn't foresee that. It wasn't in the plan, OK?
I thought I would hit, like, 27 and die of a weed and pussy overdose.
That was the plan. THAT was the plan! LAUGHTER
It didn't work out that way. Still here!
Yeah, I'm still here, man.
I'm still here.
Now, I'm a rapper in his 30s with kids and a shed, you know?
LAUGHTER I just think, what do you know?
What do you young people know about this shit? What d'you know?
You know, what d'you know about having a pair of trainers
specifically for garden use? What do you know? LAUGHTER
What d'you know about back pain?
What d'you know about receding hairlines and chilblains?
What do you know about the '80s,
when the coolest thing you could say was, "Baby, page me."
What d'you know about four-channel telly?
Corned beef hash and spotted dick in your belly?
Getting shoes that ain't Nikes and drawing the swoosh?
What d'you know about finding porn in a bush?
What d'you know about no smartphones?
Calling your girl's house but her father's home. Hello, sir.
I'd like to have sex with your daughter.
Nice one. Cos we're way past dry humps.
Matter of fact, what d'you know about dry humps?
Fully clothed on the bed where you find us.
Innocent, like two little angels. Nowadays, kids want first date anal.
Instant action, thanks to that Tinder thing.
What d'you know about waiting two months for fingering? Nothing.
Nothing! Nothing. Nothing.
I'm trying to sound cooler than I am. I'm not as...
You know, if you're trying to sound cool or you're trying to look
cool, you already lost the battle, that's the rules.
That's the rules. I hear it a lot, people telling me, I'm cool.
And I just think, "You don't know me, man."
You've seen me on the TV, or you've seeing pictures of me.
I'm trying to act cool.
You know, that's what I do, I'm an entertainer.
You ask my friends and family, we know what they'll tell you.
Right? Strangers, "Hey, you're cool." What?
"No, I just wanted to say, you're a cool guy.
"You're cool, you're so cool." Ha-ha!
I appreciate that, bro, but, I'm actually not.
I know you've see me around,
you should come and see the stand-up, man, and see the real me.
"No, I'm just sayin', you're cool, that's all, it's a compliment, innit?"
No, I get it, I get it but... I'm not. I'm just being real with you.
"Why can't you take a compliment, bro? I'm telling you you're cool."
"You're a cool guy." I know, bro, I know.
But I'm just saying, you got it wrong
I'm telling you who I am. "I'm telling you what I think of you, bro, you're cool.
"You're a cool guy." I know, bro, you're making me raise my voice and shit.
I'm just saying, I'm not... Listen, I... I wave back at boats, OK?
You happy now? APPLAUSE
Don't get involved in that, by the way.
You know, the whole boat-waving subculture.
It really is, it's a slippery slope.
I don't even know why I do it, you know?
It's the weirdest thing and don't try act cool like you don't know what I'm talking about.
You know what I'm talking about, you'll be riverside, by the canal,
be at the seaside, at the seaside, right? You're on dry ground, OK?
Doesn't matter whether there's two people in
a canoe or 200 people on a ferry.
They will wave at you, my friends. LAUGHTER
THEY will wave at YOU.
All I'm saying is, don't encourage that shit. You know what I'm saying?
Why would you?
I'm guilty, that's what I'm saying, like, I could be walking down by
the Thames, all right, and I might have my girls with me,
fresh haircut, new trainers on, I'm feeling cool.
For all intents and purposes, I'm FEELING cool, right?
But then it's like the nerd in me just, argh!
It just explodes, just escapes out through my skeleton,
up out through my mouth somehow. It just...argh!
Next thing I know I'm engaging in probably the most pointless
gesture in Homo sapiens culture.
Right? You know, the...
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
HIGH VOICE: Who's that man, Daddy?
Hm? Erm, I don't know, baby.
Yeah, I don't know, man.
I don't know, a lot of the time, I talk to my closest friends about it.
I don't know if I'm cut out for, like, showbiz and stuff.
Like, I know I can do it,
I know I can entertain but it's just a weird job, you know?
The one thing I know for sure, I feel absolutely 100% certain,
I don't ever want to be the subject of the last item on the news.
That's the only thing I'm certain of. You know why?
Because if you're the subject of the last item on the news,
you are either pathetic or dead.
There's no middle ground.
There's no middle ground, it is either, "And finally...
"Actor and comedian Doc Brown,
"after 30 years of making us laugh and cry,
"Alone. In his palatial home."
Right, it's either that or it's...
"And finally, actor and comedian Doc Brown,
"after 30 years of making us laugh and cry,
"has started keeping bees!"
"His makeshift farm produces up to 3 jars a day,
"which he sells to friends and family."
I don't want that. I don't want that. You know?
And I talk to my friends and family about it.
They say, "Hey, dude, listen, just
"remember where you at, remember who you are, you know?"
And that's helpful.
You know, try and keep yourself grounded because if anybody can,
my friends and family can. And it's a constant reminder,
a constant reminder that your personal life is always,
ALWAYS more important than your professional life.
Always. You know?
It's the same reason, I guess, the same reason that in interviews,
when people ask me, like, "Hey, what's your proudest moment in life?"
It's always perennially really difficult not for me to say,
going five days at Glastonbury without taking a shit.
Because THAT... That was a feat. That was a feat...
..I'm very proud of.
An incredible experience and an incredible example of mind
over matter. You know?
My brain just took one look at those toilets and just said, "No. No.
"We don't do this. Not happening."
And let me tell you something else as well, from the heart.
That first poo that I took when I got home...
Dude, it was emotional.
It was like... LAUGHTER
But also, it was intense. It was...
This is hard to say but it was a bit like,
it felt a bit like being sexually assaulted from the inside out. OK?
And, dude, I turned around, I looked down
and I felt pride. I'm not going to lie to you. I felt pride.
But then, as a result of the straining, I contracted piles.
I went into the GP, right?
And, you know, they've heard it all before, so, straightaway,
he was like, "Yeah, it's exactly what I thought it was,
"it's piles and I'm going to write your prescription for this cream.
"You're going to have to apply it yourself twice a day."
Tears it off, hands it to me.
The cream I've got to buy is called Anusol.
So, as if this, this experience weren't devastating enough already,
I've now, I've now got to walk out of here into
a public arena and ask a stranger for
a tube of Anusol!
And the doctor says, well, actually, it's pronounced "An U sol".
"An-U-sol, An-U-sol." I said, well, what's the point?
What's the point in having the letters A-N-U-S
so prominently featured?
On a product that you're using on your anus if
you're not going to pronounce it that way? You know?
You're thinking about your anus when you go in to buy the cream,
you've got your anus on your mind, of course you have.
So when you see the letters A-N-U-S, in that order, you're not going to
automatically think "An-use", are you? No!
And the doctor says to me, "Look, can you just leave my office,
"I've got so many more patients to see."
Right? NHS, you know, so, I mean, fair enough. I leave.
And I go across the street to the pharmacy right opposite,
approach the counter.
MUMBLING: Yeah, erm, it's, erm, a prescription. Cream.
MUMBLING: Prescription... "What's it for?" It's, it's a cream.
SOFTLY: It's called "An-U-sol", it's called "An-U-sol".
"Sorry, say it again?" An-U-sol, it's called " An-U-sol"!
"OH! ANUS-OL!" LAUGHTER
And see when he said that to me, that's when I thought,
"Ah, OK, I know what's going on here. No, I understand now."
I see it clear. I OVER-stand it.
It's just a big game for all you lot, isn't it?
The doctors, medicine guys, the pharmacists. Just a big laugh.
At our expense. Just taking the mick.
And you know how I knew for certain?
Because when he turned around to get the tube off of the shelf
behind him, I was watching him.
Right next to the tube of Anusol,
there was another cream called Vagisil!
Right? So, so, so, when you've got a problem with your anus hole,
And similarly, when your vag is ill...
Vagisil. These guys are taking the piss out of our lives.
We're letting it happen!
I don't know.
But, you know, I say, like I travel across the UK
and I talk about how much I love it, and I'm not lying to you,
I do, I consider myself a patriot, you know?
I love this country, I love the UK, I love being British because I
think the people are progressive and I know, like, we moan about it,
no matter what your politics are, right or left,
liberal or conservative, so,
everybody moans about our country, everybody moans about Britain.
Let me tell you something, do some travelling around the world.
OK, there are countries that I've been to where you could get
stoned to death for wearing the wrong shit. Right?
Which is mental, you know? And don't get me wrong,
there are some kids on my estate who are exclusively styled by JD Sports
that I would love... I would love... LAUGHTER
..to pelt with rocks, but we're better than that. We're better than that.
We are better than that.
We're in an amazing place and don't ever forget it.
Travel the world and you'll remember how good it is to be British.
You've got it better than you ever could have dreamed.
You know, but at the same time, we shouldn't get too smug.
We really shouldn't. Because I got my smug liberal friends,
they love comparing us to lesser places in their minds.
Like, America is a big one,
they're always having a go at America, especially about race.
"I tell you what, America, you know, done a lot of great things culturally,
"but they are in the Stone Age when it comes to race.
"They are a million light years behind us on race, they really are."
And I always think, "Yeah, dude, they had a black president for eight years."
Eight years! Black! President! You know how amazing that is?
You know, who have we got? Who have we got?
Dude, the closest thing we've got to a black leader in this
country is probably Dizzee Rascal.
You know? And listen, I'm not saying I wouldn't vote for him.
Er, listen, his socioeconomic policies do leave
a little to be desired but, tell you something,
his stance on keeping your trainers looking fresh really speaks to me.
No, we've got, erm, we've got Chuka Umunna. That's who we've got. Yeah.
We've got Chuka Umunna.
That's right. Labour said, "You know what?
"Let's find a dude with a name even blacker than Barack Obama."
Just see what happens. LAUGHTER
see what happens... You never know.
I sometimes wonder if Chuka listens to rap, you know?
I'm sure I'm going to meet him one day and I feel like it would
be a meeting of the minds or the foreheads, you know.
LAUGHTER I'd love to know.
Because you never know, he could be one of those politicians who
just totally just discounts rap.
The whole genre, just totally no interest whatsoever.
I don't think you can discredit a whole genre of anything
because that kind of ignores that there are sub-genres
underneath that umbrella that can be as different from
each other as, you know, like,
I mean, there's sub-genres of rap that are as different to each
other as like classical and metal music. You know, it's nuts.
Like, you can have intelligent rap, rap that you consider intelligent.
Might not necessarily be good, might be amazing, might be shit.
You know? You can have intelligent rap that is boring as hell.
You can have dumb rap that's incredibly entertaining. You know?
Some of my favourite rap is dumb as hell, man.
Some of the dumbest shit I've ever heard and I can't deny I love
it, it's entertaining. You know? You know like those dudes who have, like,
just discovered metaphor and simile, like TODAY? You know those guys?
LAUGHTER Oh, love those dudes, man! They're my favourite guys, you know?
# So much ice on my watch, I could freeze time! #
Bruv, I don't think you heard me.
I said, so much ICE on my WATCH,
I could FREEZE...TIME!
Do you see what I'm saying?
So, essentially, yeah, essentially, cuz, are you following, yeah?
Essentially, yeah, essentially, the hands of time are what, bruv?
Are what? Frozen.
Yeah? Frozen. And what is the nature of ice, cuz? It's cold, bruv!
It's too deep!
It's too deep, cuz! It's too deep for certain heads!
Oh, yeah! Blood, whoo...
Bruv, I'm havin' visions, cuz!
Whoo! It's too deep for certain heads, cuz.
Man's having visions. LAUGHTER
Ladies and gents, that's the show. That is the show.
That's basically how it ends. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Erm, yeah, that's... That is it.
A bit weird, innit?
Bit of a weird ending.
Bit of a weird ending but there you go, there you go. You know...
Erm, yeah, that's it, you know, just go in peace, you know.
That's it, enjoy your lives. LAUGHTER
And I mean lives, because I'm never going to see you again,
that's not going to happen. You know? Enjoy it. Enjoy it.
And don't enjoy your lives because someone told you life is short, all right?
Don't feel like, "Oh, YOLO, you know, who cares?"
Don't enjoy life because life is short.
Enjoy it because it's long and it's boring as hell, all right?
So, just make the most.
I'll tell you what is fleeting, what is fleeting is love and happiness.
When those two come past,
you should grab hold of them and try not to let them go, all right?
Now, listen, you lot have been great, I love you,
my name is Doc Brown. I'm out of here. Peace.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Fresh from co-starring with Ricky Gervais on his movie Life on the Road, Ben Bailey Smith, aka Doc Brown, brings his seamless mix of rap and stand-up to the BBC as he dissects country life, fatherhood and being cool.