The Black Eyed Peas are an easy punchline, but don’t deny hits like “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling.” And the group’s Will.i.am, seen throughout last year waging a ridiculous legal fight with Pharrell Williams over the words “I am,” made it into SPIN’s 2013 Hall of Shame — even Tyler, the Creator fired shots at him. Still, lately the mockery has been directed not at the man who made Alanis Morissette’s “My Humps” video possible, but NBC political talk show Meet the Press, which had Will.i.am as a guest on May 4.
Here’s Huffington Post: “Will.i.am’s ‘Meet The Press’ Appearance Has People Asking ‘Why?'” And Mediaite was similarly quizzical: “Will.i.am Debated a GOP Rep. on Meet the Press. Yes Really.” They’re not wrong to wonder why Will.i.am was on the show formerly hosted by the late Tim Russert, but the rapper and producer to the stars mostly held his own. He sparred with Jason Chaffetz, a Republican congressman from Utah who, as you can tell from that description, wanted to talk about Benghazi.
“There’s an opportunity for America to make sure companies like Apple are in Detroit and we’re educating young kids at an early age to learn and be digitally literate,” Will.i.am said at one point, which seems reasonable enough. He failed to correct Chaffetz’s misinformation about the Affordable Care Act — the program has dramatically recovered from its slow start — but hey, we’re talking about the guy behind the song “Let’s Get Retarded”; it’s probably host David Gregory’s job to know about facts and stuff. (Texas governor and putative 2016 Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry was on the show, too, but he has his own information deficits.)
And that’s just the thing: Will.i.am might not have exactly proved himself to be the next Stephen Colbert or anything, but this time he isn’t the punchline. As Slate’s Dave Weigel writes: “Lay off Will.i.am. He’s not the problem here. What you want is longer and more probing interviews with more seemingly boring people.” Or at the very least, bring in a really good rapper. Is Kendrick Lamar available? Or — you know what — Tyler, the Creator would be the most entertaining MTP guest ever.