Bobby Moynihan, the driving force behind the new animated gay-rapper comedy Chozen, comes by his hip-hop influences honestly. “I grew up listening to a lot of Snoop Dogg and the Wu-Tang Clan,” he says. “Actually, I was a huge Wu-Tang fan.” The SNL star, 36, voices the namesake protagonist, a gay, thuggish MC who emerges from prison to plot a return to the game – and revenge on the thug who sent him there (Phantasm, voiced by the Wu’s Method Man). “To get to work with him was just insane,” adds Moynihan. “When he says my name, it still blows my mind.”
To develop his new character, Moynihan simply loaded his PC. “There’s a guy on YouTube named Mac Lethal – he spits hot fire,” says Moynihan, who delivers Chozen’s filthy dialogue (former Eastbound & Down writers’ assistant Grant Dekernion writes and performs the raps). “He’s confident and kind of stocky like me. Plus he does this cover of Chris Brown’s ‘Look at Me Now’ called ‘Making Pancakes’ that’s super like, ‘This is what I do.’ That attitude is the most badass thing I’ve seen.” Still, Moynihan is careful to give too much credit. “Chozen’s origins are in no way based on Mac Lethal,” he says, rightfully crediting Chozen’s creator (and his boss) Dekernion.
There are also traces of his recurring Saturday Night Live character Niff, the loud-mouthed McDonald’s-turned-Barnes & Noble-turned-Best Buy employee with a fondness for berating his colleagues. “When I first got the email for the audition,” says Moynihan, “there was a picture of the characters in there. I read the script and was just like, “Oh, I know what to do for this. There’s small, medium and large. Small is Niff, Medium is [Moynihan’s retired SNL character] Mark Payne and Chozen is Large. He’s the most blown out version of this character.”