Three years ago, I had an exclusive phone interview with Aries Spear about his upcoming performance at the Washington D.C Improv. Thanks to my New Years resolution in keeping a tidier home, I was able to find this old tape recorder in the back of my drawer.
Spears is a lauded headliner in the area. He often sells out multiple shows within the day his tickets go on sale.
So seeing an Aries Spears show is brag-worthy. In addition, Spears has a strong underground following due to his large stint on the Fox sketch comedy show MadTV from 1997 through 2005. Spears has appeared in over 198 episodes, making him the second longest-serving cast member. Spears uncanny impersonations of LL Cool J, Michael Jackson, Mike Tyson, Bill Cosby, Denzel Washington, Paul Mooney, R.Kelly, 50 Cent and OJ Simpson have forever cemented him as a cultural icon.
After MadTV ended, Spears had segments in All Star Comedy Jam in 2009, performed in the TV series The Underground, released a discography of his comedic skits called “I aint Scared (2005), and spearheaded his own comedy special called “Aries Spears: Hollywood, and Look I’m Smiling which was shown on Showtime, Aries Spears: Comedy Blueprint (2016).
On youtube, fans can watch perfect rap mash-ups of him freestyling as Snoop Dog, Jay Z, LL Cool J, and DMX, and laugh hysterically over his original short parodies: What you wish you could do, The Cosby Show, How a Fat person sees food, Help the Starving kids and Helpless Animals, and various other stand up specials.
As I was listening to this old, black, sony tape recorder (that cost me an arm and a leg back then) I detected nervousness on my part. I’ve been a huge fan of the comedian since I was 11 years old, watching MadTV whenever I wanted to stay up late on a Saturday night. I would try to mimic his sketches to friends and although his skits were a bit on the racy side, I developed fond memories of his impersonations over the years. As I grew older, I got into his stand up specials and comedy on Pandora’s comedy station. So looking back, I can see why I giggled, fangirled, and guffawed a bit too much during this interview.
Since this interview is more like an archive, read it like it’s a relic from the past.
Sherryn: Aries, are you excited to be back in D.C?
Aries: Yeah, I am excited. You know this is one of my favorite cities. This is one of my favorite places because it’s chocolate city!
Sherryn: Great. Next question. Do you keep in touch with anyone from “Mad TV”? If there is a reunion, would you ever be a part of it?
Aries: Well that ship has sailed and gone. Every now and then, I run into Will Sasso and a couple people. Debra and I were really close but I haven’t spoken to her in a long while.
Sherryn: So you will never do a reunion.
Aries: Nope. Not interested.
Keep in mind this is an interview from 2015. Spears did participate in the MadTV 20th anniversary reunion in 2016 right here and also guest starred in subsequent episodes of the show, when it was revamped that following year.
Sherryn: I love a lot of your shorts on youtube. What’s your personal favorite?
Aries: Well, I kinda like them all. But the one called “What you wish you could do” is pretty up there. Along with the Direct TV parody and the State Farm parody.
Sherryn: That one was hilarious.
Sherryn: For all the impersonations that you do, which one is your favorite.
Aries: Paul Mooney. He is an interesting character. It takes a lot to capture who he is and what he says. It takes more brain power to play him. Paul Mooney, from a personal perspective. Jay Z is fun to play since I am a huge Jay Z fan.
Sherryn: Do you have any new projects coming up?
Aries: I am about to do a new special. In the end of September (2015). Fingers crossed, hoping to get my own sketch show. I am kinda doing what Chappelle did but a lot racier and a lot edgier. Trying to get on a network like Showtime, HBO or even Netflix. Where I have no censorship.
Sherryn: I know on previous interviews, you have often called out celebrities. You have stated in the past that Kevin Hart hires writers for his skits? What is the verdict?
Aries: I think Kevin Hart is a phenomenal guy. A talented comedian. I kinda look at it like sports. How you dole out credit for being a superb athlete. If its all you and just you, then you deserve all the credit. Then all the negative is not warranted. People helping you develop who you are and what you say. There should really be an asterisk in there.
Sherryn: I see what you are saying. My last question is a bit goofy but If Shaq ever does a sequel to “Kazaam” would you ever consider being his genie friend?
Aries: Uh… Hahahaha. Depending on how much they pay me. I will be his genie bitch.
*Feature photo courtesy of CJSportsblog.com