Don Quixote had Sancho Panza. Wyatt Earp had Doc Holliday. Conan O'Brien has Andy Richter. And KBXX DJ Madd Hatta has James Garrett, better known to the ballers and shot-callers of H-town as Jay Mack.
Every weekday, between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., Mack serves as a right-hand man, a second banana, a Big Pun to Madd Hatta's Fat Joe, if you will. The seeds for this alliance were sown a few years back when Garrett met Hatta (née Benjamin Thompson) and started calling him every week in the hopes of a radio hookup. "One day he said, 'Jay, come up here. My producer is gone. I'm gonna give you the opportunity,' " Mack remembers. The rest is history.
As fans of the popular program (it's No. 1 in its afternoon drive-time slot) will attest, the relationship of Mack to Hatta is actually more like that of Gilligan to the Skipper than Panza to Quixote. Mack is usually set up as the feebleminded comic relief, a willing target to Hatta's verbal darts. Mack doesn't mind; it's just part of being a radio personality.
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"Actually, the person I am on radio is totally different from the person I am in real life," Mack says. "On radio, I get the opportunity to act, be different people, get laughed at, you know. And my whole thing is to entertain -- no matter what. Even if I'm the butt of the joke every day, I guarantee you, somebody is out there laughing. And that's the whole goal to me."
But Mack leaves the goofball act at the mike. He may be the dim-witted co-host of Hatta's show, but he's also the producer. And he works in promotions for Hatta's label, Paid In Full Records, which might come in handy when his own album, Mack's World, is released next year. (Mack claims that he can't rap, but he has been taking private "rap classes" with local MC Lil' Flip to work on his skills.) A straight-to-video movie, also called Mack's World, will coincide with the release of the album. It'll be an "untrue biography" of Mack's life and times.
With all these solo projects, maybe Jay Mack should change the title of his album to I Ain't No Damn Gilligan!
The Madd Hatta Show (with Jay Mack) airs on KBXX/97.9 FM "The Box" weekdays, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.