ONE THING IS PRETTY CERTAIN about the newly published Double Snaps book: Your mama won't like it.
Especially if "Your mother is so fat, she lives in two zip codes!" Or "Your mother is so ugly, she makes blind kids cry." Come to think of it, Dad may have problems, too, unless he warms to lines like "Your father is so dumb, he stole a car and kept up the payments."
Double Snaps, compiled by New Yorkers Monteria Ivey, Stephan Dweck and James Perceiay, is a compendium of rude, crude and funny put-downs, many aimed at the victim's relatives. Many blacks regard "snapping"—aback-and-forth, can-you-top-this insult contest—as part of their cultural heritage. "We're not the creators, we're the curators," says Ivey, 34, a stand-up comic who hosts HBO's Snaps specials, the first of which aired in January. "It's part of our folklore."
The three partners met in 1992, when Perceiay, 38, went to Harlem's Uptown Comedy Club to check out new talent for Hearst Entertainment. He was the only white guy in the audience, and Ivey, who was hosting the show, began ragging on him. Dweck, 34, an entertainment lawyer and childhood friend of Ivey's, says, "I felt bad for Jim, so I went over and said, 'Don't worry; we do this all the time.' "
Soon the trio had formed a production company: 2 Bros. & a White Guy. That gave rise to their first book, Snaps (which sold 200,000 copies last year), and the TV specials. The partners are now developing a Snaps clothing line, they have an album planned for spring, and they've started an online Snaps computer bulletin board.
Hey, their mothers would be proud.
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