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In nearly two decades of furious Hollywood social climbing, Jamie Kennedy has had his share of peaks and valleys; he earned two Golden Raspberry nominations for 2005's stink-bomb flick Son of the Mask, and he also had the somewhat dubious distinction of having the top-selling hip-hop album in Canada. But none of this could have properly prepared him for the savage attack from Oral B and Billy Buttsex, aka the Cock Brothers Team, self-described as the "world's most popular homosexual hip-hop artists." On a nearly nine-minute dis track released through their Web site, B and Buttsex happily slam Kennedy's career, talent and sexuality:
Give up rapping, work on acting/It ain't time for a switch/When the only role you know /is straight playing a bitch.
Apparently, the CBT were enraged by the alleged homophobic undertones in a song called "Bologna" on the soundtrack album from Kennedy's MTV show Blowin' Up. Additionally, the actor probably didn't help endear himself to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community with his appearance on Carlos Mencia's Comedy Central series as Will Pillowbiter, the epicene athlete. CBT's chief complaint is about Kennedy's liberal use of the term "faggot," yet the question remains whether these rappers are serious in their contempt, or if satire and irony are perhaps lost on a guy who bills himself as "Billy Buttsex?"
Whatever the fallout is from one of the most ridiculous media flame wars in recent memory, it isn't likely to slow down the ambitious and prolific Kennedy. He's at once ubiquitous and largely unknown, working the outer edge of fame's fringes since the early '90s as an actor, comedian, pseudo-rapper and TV prankster. It's in this last role that Kennedy is perhaps most famous, as the creator and star of WB's The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, which for three seasons toiled in a nebulous middle-ground between Tom Green's gross-out histrionics, the old fashioned giggles of Candid Camera and the celebrity-fueled antics of Punk'd. The show focused on elaborate stunts and on Kennedy's various recurring skits and characters, such as talk-show host Virginia Hamm or clueless white rapper B-Rad Gluckman (who was spun off into his own 2003 feature film Malibu's Most Wanted). By 2004, the show had run its course. Since, Kennedy's done more film work, penned an autobiography and returned to his stand-up comedy roots with this year's Unwashed: The Stand-up Special. Now he's taking the comedy act back on the road, with a stop in Ferndale.
Few performers work as hard to get noticed with such middling results. Kennedy, despite his efforts, still isn't a household name.
But a new strategy is evolving from his camp Kennedy's tooling tired MySpace to spread his gospel, and it's working.
Along with partner Stu Stone, Kennedy has certified viral video success with the Rollin' With Bob Saget clip, which features the formerly friendly Full House TV dad, now "The illest muthafucka in a cardigan sweater" partying hard and pimp-slapping bouncers at a velvet rope nightclub. The clip accompanies a reality show-themed sketch that follows the stars' attempt to become players in the rap game; and in a post-ironic, meta-twist, the whole affair lands the duo a major label record deal with Reprise.
Is this the just deserts of an industrious entertainer, or a cynical bit of savvy marketing? Hard to say, since repeated attempts by the Metro Times to contact the comic went nowhere. But hey, we understand, Kennedy's a busy dude. He's a bit of an asshole too, but a busy asshole.
Two shows: 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 15, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-544-3030.
Corey Hall is a freelance writer. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.