Remember back in the day whenever a rapper got famous, that rapper’s crew of fellow MCs would eventually get their chance to shine, too? Tupac had Thug Life. The Notorious B.I.G. had Junior M.A.F.I.A. Eminem has D12. 50 Cent has G-Unit.
Kevin Hart may not be a rapper (though he does have a fake-rap persona, Chocolate Droppa), but he does have a posse of comics he rolls with every time he’s on tour. This crew includes comedians Na’im Lynn, Will “Spank” Horton and Joey Wells, who also writes some of Hart’s material. They even filmed their own stand-up special (presented by Hart, of course) in 2014. The crew’s name: the Plastic Cup Boyz.
“What happened was we were on tour, and we always had red plastic cups in our greenroom,” says the New Jersey-born Lynn, 39, on the phone from his LA home. “And we would go to after-parties after our shows, and we started taking the cups with us, so we didn’t have to drink out of the glasses at the club. And we just started calling ourselves that, and the name stuck. Now we don’t have to bring them – they just know to have them for us. If we ever have an after-party, we gotta have the cups.”
But even when Hart gets through doing another of his sold-out, stand-up tours, the Boyz don’t stop grinding. Since 2012, Lynn and Horton have been hitting the road, headlining their own club shows.
“Every time our tour ends with Kevin, then he and I go out on tour together, just to keep the momentum going and keep working,” says Lynn. “We do shows by ourselves sometimes, but we sell more tickets when we go out together.”
It’s fitting that Lynn and the Philadelphia-born, LA-based Horton, also 39, would be tourmates. They’re both known for unleashing raw, raunchy, proudly unfiltered jokes on audiences.
“I mean, we’re both old-school comics,” says Lynn. “We don’t really care about being P.C. As far as being similar, I mean we may have a few subjects that we both talk about, but we’re very different as artists, you know. I’m more laid-back, lower-energy, clever material. He’s more high-energy. His responses are probably based off of his performance, whereas my responses are more based off of the material.”
Lynn has been out on the stand-up scene for 19 years. Three years into his career, he started performing with Hart. “It was just he and I at first and, then, other guys came along eventually,” he says.
Since then, Lynn has certainly gotten a higher profile touring alongside his always-enterprising, superstar partner. “I mean, it’s helped me perform in front of so many people and has helped me gain a following on social media. Also, it gives me the opportunity to perform in these cities without him, because we have these shows and, when we do well, you create a larger fanbase.”
As for all the other things he’s done as an actor and comedian – guest-starring on the shows “Shameless” and “Survivor’s Remorse,” doing his own half-hour Comedy Central special – Lynn insists Hart wasn’t integral to making those opportunities happen.
“As far as the onscreen stuff that I’ve done, it has nothing to do with him,” he says. “All of my personal-success stuff, it’s not relative to him at all. That’s just stuff that I’ve gotten on my own.”
Lynn continues to pal around with Hart and his Boyz. They recently filmed a pilot for a Travel Channel show, which will have them enjoying the sights of whatever city they’re doing stand-up in. Lynn is also working on pitching his own show. Until then, you can catch him and Horton at Goodnights this weekend. And, for the love of God, don’t expect Hart to show up.
“When we went out a few years ago, we had a few problems with that,” he says. “But that’s because Live Nation was trying to – the way they worded it, it made people confused… I demanded that they change it, because you actually had some people come to the show like, ‘Well, we expected to see Kevin!’”
Hart won’t be there, but you can definitely count on the Plastic Cup Boyz to keep the party going.
Who: Na’im Lynn and Will “Spank” Horton, with Ryan Davis
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday, 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where: Goodnights Comedy Club, 861 W. Morgan St., Raleigh
Info: 919-828-5233 or goodnightscomedy.com