By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Luther Campbell
Since late January, Larceny has spent nearly every night keeping an eye on a trio of monitors and directing a three-man crew in the filming of the Big Chuck Show's first thirteen episodes. Big Chuck has convinced prominent local artists and businessmen to appear, among them Chef Creole (the Little Haiti restaurateur), and hip-hop superproducers Cool & Dre. The final episode will feature a medley performance by Poe Boy's finest: Brisco, Flo Rida, and, of course, Rick Ross.
Unless things change, starting April 1, those with Comcast's "digital classic" package will be able to watch the hour-long episodes on channel 689. Every Saturday night, viewers in Puerto Rico, South Florida, and New York will be able to see Big Chuck from 11:00 p.m. to midnight. Those in South Florida with rabbit ears will be able to tune in locally on channel 48.
The show looks something like a varietal of Sabado Gigante.Three sultry dancers in booty pants and tight tees stand behind a velvet rope licking glossy lips and shaking hips. They close the hour by circling Big Chuck in a languid shimmy and showering him with fake money. Chuck's Ed McMahon, "Officer Bow-leg," is an overstuffed private security guard in a Milli Vanilli wig, buck teeth and plastic numchucks, who crawls around at their feet and gathers up the bills.
Big Chuck's interviews sometimes take on the feel of an infomercial about Miami: Guests are encouraged to self-promote and plug at will. When a local DJ muttered nervously in the green room that he "hates interviews," Big Chuck just shrugged. "Just act like you the shit," he told him.
Big Chuck's boundless enthusiasm for all things Miami stems from a passionate belief that the town has become the jewel of the rap empire. Luis Diaz, a paunchy, balding producer who made his name sound-engineering the Baha Men's hit "Who Let the Dogs Out?," agrees. "It ain't Gloria Estefan and Julio Iglesias anymore," he says. Diaz made his debut on the show on a recent Wednesday. He and his brother Hugo now do production work for high-profile local rapper Pitbull.
When Big Chuck and the Diaz brothers took their seats, the small audience of friends and associates in the Doral studio showered them with applause at the mention of "Who Let the Dogs Out?" When Chuck asked if they had any advice for struggling artists, the Diaz brothers announced their phone number into the cameras.
On February 15 a little-known Overtown-based rap group called the Co-D fendents performed a raucous number titled "Stick and Roll," while Big Chuck shoulder-shook his way in and out of the frame. "Why do you call yourselves the Co-D fendents?" he asked with a wide grin, following the song's end.
Vito, the lumbering lead singer with long, ropy dreads, tossed his head and flashed a gold grill into the camera. "You know, you go out, you do your thing, you get caught," he said. "You gotta have someone to go through it with. Then they charge you with conspiracy."
"Look," Big Chuck interrupted, glowing. "They can't charge us with conspiracy to make millions and millions of dollars!"
Big Chuck plans to open up next season's tapings to the general public at a yet-to-be identified South Beach locale. Guests will be flown in from out of town, and a private driver will be contracted to transport them to the show. "It's gonna be something you can bring your girl to," he booms, throwing his hands out like Michelangelo's Creator.