Technology with attitude

A Second Chat with Reggie Watts

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Image Credit: Noah Kalina

Reggie Watts is set to perform at the Neptune Theatre on Monday June 4 at 8:00PM. Tickets are $25 and are available here. Don’t miss this show. He’s getting so famous now…who knows when the Neptune will be too small, or for that matter, Earth.

The last time Reggie chatted with CultureMob he was excited at the idea of performing in Berlin. That has since happened. At this point he doesn’t have any specific places or stages on his to-do list anymore. “Performance-wise, I feel like things are okay,” said Watts via telephone. (I’d say a little better than okay, but I’m a fan.)

Watts has now also performed at the TED Conference. Owners of spaceships have seen him perform. This bodes well. “It was a trip,” Watts said. “It was something I’d wanted to do for a very long time. A life goal, for sure. It was nice to finally get there and have a good reaction from it. To meet such incredible people and to be part of that community is a huge honor. It’s nice to be around people who are really passionate about what they’re doing, and what they’re doing is on the edges of human concepts. It’s nice.”

Reggie has a whole lot going on. He’s on tour to support Reggie Watts Live at Central Park, his Comedy Central album/DVD/special. Also, on June 8th Comedy Bang Bang will air on IFC. It’s a sort-of, not really, talk show with Watts as a bizarro Paul Shaffer to Scott Aukerman’s bizarro Letterman. I asked Watts if this is where he wants to set up camp. “Not necessarily TV,” he said. “I want to get into films a little bit more. TV’s alright, but… it’s TV. It’s cool, but that’s not like my dream-dream.”

You’re as likely to see Reggie Watts on an episode of Conan as you are to hear him on a comedy podcast, see him on a Nerdist YouTube channel video, or on a flyer for a show in your city. It’s as if he has his eye on the next emerging media, but according to Watts that’s not really the case. “I’ve been lucky in that interesting things have come up, and great opportunities have happened. Some things I’ve had my mind on, but a lot of things have just come down the road and end up working out.”

Watts isn’t shy about calling out Kanye West for his singing, or Skrillex for being Skrillex. He’s done it in his act, or on videos. Though he concedes that he’s taken a little flack, as he sees it, it’s the prerogative of the comedian. “I’m happy to speak my mind.” he said.

So of course I asked him about his thoughts on psychedelic drugs as it relates to his creativity. (He has a reputation, it wasn’t entirely out of left-field.)

“I think that psychedelics have been a great tool for me,” Watts said graciously. “I actually haven’t done psychedelics in a while. But they’ve always been a great tool for me. I’ve had amazing insights on them. I definitely look at those types of things as tools. It’s never been a party thing for me. It’s been more like an exciting exploration, you know? Amazing things have happened from it, and it gave me great insight and perspective into various ways of seeing life.”

More importantly, he hears life.

Someone with perfect pitch can sing a A# when asked. Or middle C. That’s not what Watts has. “I have what’s called relative pitch. It’s something I’ve always had, a natural thing. I definitely can hear melodies in my head, and start singing the melody and it happens to be the right pitch, but it’s not a consistent thing. If someone gives me a root note, or like a system of chords, I can hear all the melodic possibilities.”

What Watts does on stage is like an beautiful invasive species. Without discounting his brilliance, it can also be said that there aren’t a lot of natural predators for his wholly improvised looped vocal comedy compositions. That he does it at wizard ninja level pretty much guarantees that his growing notoriety will only continue to expand.