Childish Gambino will be rapping in Las Vegas this weekend, but alas, Chank Smith will not.
“He’s from Primm, but he’ll be in L.A. He’s trying to get that record deal, dude. He’s not as successful as Childish Gambino,” says Chris D’Elia, the comedian behind the faux rapper.
Gambino has become a valid alter-ego of actor Donald Glover (“Community”). But Smith hasn’t done a live gig and won’t find his way into D’Elia’s three-day stint at the South Point.
“It’s a whole separate thing,” D’Elia says. “I’ve always loved hip-hop and I think it’s ripe for being made fun of, especially nowadays.
“The music was such a part of my growing up with my friends. I’m obviously not or never would be a rapper, but I think it’s funny to take it seriously and then do it that way. I know it’s a joke, but I feel like the character, Chank Smith, doesn’t know it’s a joke.”
D’Elia is busy enough anyway. TV fans who remember him as Whitney Cummings’ boyfriend on two seasons of “Whitney” will see him back on NBC May 29 with “Undateable.”
The new series from “Scrubs” and “Spin City” creator Bill Lawrence has D’Elia’s character mentoring three friends played by fellow comedians Brent Morin, Ron Funches and Rick Glassman.
“Those other three guys are comedians I’ve known for a while,” he says. “It’s so cool, it’s like going to work every day with your friends.”
D’Elia’s father, Bill, is a veteran TV director, so Chris, now 34, grew up visiting the sets of series such as “Northern Exposure” and “Dougie Howser, M.D.” But he made his own way in stand-up before returning to acting.
“Nobody’s going to laugh unless they think it’s funny,” he says. “They don’t care who your dad is. You can’t argue nepotism or whatever. Nobody’s laughing based on who anybody’s dad is.”
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0288.