Gimme That Jelly

Tourettes' 10th anniversary features the greatest rapping pastry alive.

Ten years have passed since Jamie DeWolf launched his monthly
variety show Tourettes Without Regrets. Within that time frame,
Jamie changed his last name (formerly Kennedy) so as not to be mistaken
for that shitty actor in all the Scream movies. In 2002, he
staged a “Puke for Peace” protest at UC Berkeley. (The signs read
“Don’t bomb Iraq, drink Ipecac.”) Last Valentine’s Day, he allegedly
mailed pigs’ hearts to people he didn’t know, based on allegations from
their ex-boyfriends and girlfriends. In the interim, he’s created the
most consistently spectacular event that Oakland’s ever seen. It began
in Benicia (where DeWolf launched his poetry career and soon became
persona non grata at every open mic in town, according to his MySpace
bio). But it moved to the Oakland Metro early in life, and has stayed
put ever since — but for a couple one-offs at Merchant’s Saloon
when the Metro switched location. Over ten years, DeWolf expanded his
cult of personality and garnered many acolytes, some of whom can be
quite irritating. Yet he’s also been a community booster of sorts,
particularly by introducing the rest of us to such people as the Sauras
(a serial gambler who has an amazing gift of gab) and Jelly Donut (aka
Andrew Bancroft), the greatest rapping pastry alive.

Cuteness and a soft jelly inside don’t always become a rapper, but
Bancroft has made those qualities his stock-in-trade. Jelly Donut was
Bancroft’s nickname when he was a chubby baby, and it served him well
in the hip-hop arena. He began rapping in college, then launched a
parallel career as a sketch artist, performing with Killing My Lobster
and starring in a monthly show called “Late Night with God.” The way
Bancroft describes it, “I would play God, my buddy Ken Taylor would
play Moses, and I would freestyle answers to people’s questions about
the world.” DeWolf caught the show in 2005 (he would later guest as a
Satanist) and recruited Bancroft for the rap battles at Tourettes.
There, Bancroft performed in various guises — an angel with a
diaper and wings, an old lady, George W. Bush — before finally
settling on the doughnut costume. He managed to get a big, lumpy,
fairly realistic one custom made by a friend who designs pillow
sculptures. He then shanghaied a couple friends to form a chorus line
of “Donut Hos.” From there, it was a rap.

At this point, Jelly Donut is so wildly popular that Bancroft has a
hard time getting onstage without the costume, even though it hinders
his ability to rap. “It’s sort of like wearing a futon,” he said. “It’s
not easy to see or hear, especially when you’re trying to hear
someone’s rhyme or stick with the beat.” Yet, he continued, that does
add to the “below-budget dumpiness” of the whole thing. At Tourettes,
it fits right in. Jelly Donut will perform Thursday, Nov. 5, at
Tourettes Without Regrets’ 10th-anniversary show, along with the
Sauras, comedian Justin Scales (aka the Scalesman), spoken-word group
the Suicide Kings, beatboxer Infinite, Proletariat Bronze, and many
others. The mayhem begins at 8:30 p.m. at Oakland Metro (630 3rd
St.). $10.

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