Bay Rizz (born Bayonet Elizabeth Rizzo) is a satirical fictional character created and performed by filmmaker Mike Rizzo. Launching himself through a youtube campaign “Bay Rizz For A Better Bay Ridge” in February 2007, he portrays a neighborhood Mayor that is the voice of the community and a liaison between the people and the local government. Through interviewing locals and short storytelling, Bay Rizz captures real honest reactions of people to shed light on issues of Bay Ridge through humor and satire of grandeur.
Development of the character
The character of Bay Rizz plays on the stereotype of a buttoned up politician who revels in the mixture of protecting the underdogs and lampooning Guido culture. Bay Rizz’s purpose is to expose truth’s in the neighborhood of Bay Ridge and surface important topics through filmmaking. Being of fine Italian-Irish background and having a delicate library of ambient music in his pocket, Bay Rizz is able to set himself apart. However, many question the intent of the character after feeling that they might have been tricked in a filming, but that’s where all the notable moments happen..where people are unsure if it’s real or fake.
Bay Rizz first came to prominence during his first self launched youtube campaign “Bay Rizz For A Better Bay Ridge” where filmmaker Mike Rizzo and brother Jay Liquori under film company Paxen Films, went out with their camera to document what people thought of living in Bay Ridge. They interviewed the locals and some racists asking “how can Bay Rizz make this a better place for you to live?” The team opened a web forum and a paper petition dedicated to the community and their feedback in hopes that Bay Rizz would make their message heard. One local who was foaming at the mouth to be interviewed by Rizz said “I don’t hear English words being spoken anymore.. The upper Bay Ridge is more White.” That was the spark that fueled the team into overdrive on their next few projects. “Bay Rizz: Tornado hits Bay Ridge” and “Bay Rizz: Save The Green Church”. Both at the time were hot topics and now act as a historical piece for the neighborhood. The Green Church film was later written up by the Daily News for it’s witty-controversial content and then highlighted on News 12 Brooklyn. Soon followed the “Food Is Key” film which focused on the Keyfood supermarket closing in upper Bay Ridge, which serviced the largest number of elders and disabled. Bay Rizz’s love for dancing led him to hit the clubs to fully uncover Bay Ridge Nightlife, cars and bling. Dressed to kill in his Saturday Night Fever outfit and new microphone he was featured on BCAT amongst other artists. At the same time, the recession was ever so present and small businesses couldn’t stay afloat. In an effort to promote local shopping and awareness “Bay Rizz: The Rescue” was made and screened in many festivals, winning the Audience Choice Award at Zero Film Festival in 2009.