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Reggie Watts
April 30, 2008 9:42 PM   Subscribe

The performer Reggie Watts(wiki) is truly sui generis: comedian, musician, stream-of-consciousness performance artist, he rolls his talents and laid-back, slightly stoner persona together into something quite unlike anything you've seen or heard before (that's a long-ish video, but well worth it, BTW). Imagine Spalding Gray mixed with Andy Kaufman, channeling a hiphop Sly Stone while reading Gertrude Stein on LSD, and you still won't get what it is that makes Watts so great.

That vimeo link (just linked to) remains the best introduction to Watts' work, but the guy is all over the map: here is a brilliant NSFW hip-hop parody of sorts that is like Richard Pryor channelling Flavor Flav, and here is an hysterical fake ballad called 'Sara' that comes across like a lounge singer one card short of a full deck.

His webpage features a recent performance, and among his many youtube clips this song about a robot with a "special" feature, is recommended. Although Watts has been posted about on MeFi once before, that post is over a year old and was mostly about his talents as a "human beat box."

From what I've been able to gather on the web, Watts has an unusual background: the son of an african-American father and a French mother, he was born in Germany and raised in Montana. Trained as a kid on classical piano, he appears to have spent some time in Seattle in rock bands and the alternative comedy circuit. He now lives in New York.
posted by ornate insect (31 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
The stuff he's released with his band Maktub demonstrates that he can *belt* like nobody's business. Great voice.
posted by sdodd at 10:20 PM on April 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


sdodd--thanks for the link; I did not know about maktub.
posted by ornate insect at 10:23 PM on April 30, 2008


I've been thinking about making a post about Reggie Watts since one of his videos was linked here in a comment a couple weeks ago. He really is a trip.
posted by puke & cry at 10:30 PM on April 30, 2008


Love that song about blowjobs.
posted by dhammond at 10:30 PM on April 30, 2008


Quick story: I'm attending a Maktub concert at a club in Seattle. We're all standing around waiting for the band to take the stage, restless. Down front this afro appears -- can't see a face. The girls scream. And the guys yell. Reggie takes the stage with a shit-eating grin.
posted by sdodd at 10:37 PM on April 30, 2008


I've never heard of him, so thank you so much for posting this! I loved the video, gonna check out the rest now.
posted by Nattie at 10:43 PM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


here's an interview with Watts for anyone's who interested
posted by ornate insect at 10:51 PM on April 30, 2008


I've known Reggie somewhat tangentially for aboout 10 years now. In that 10 years I'd say a good 60% - 70% of my female friends have developed insane crushes on the dude. I actually find it quite humorous. It's like when anyone gets email for the first time and sends you that microsoft free money spam.

Can't say enough good things about Maktub. One of my favorite live club bands. The only band I've ever seen cover Led Zeppelin and actually pull it off without making me cringe.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:08 PM on April 30, 2008


Rock on Detroit.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:11 PM on April 30, 2008


Never heard of the guy either, but this is good stuff...
posted by eclectist at 11:37 PM on April 30, 2008


Very cool guy! And you get props, ornate insect, for using the term "sui generis" correctly.
posted by amyms at 11:54 PM on April 30, 2008


Man, all these years in Seattle and I've consistently managed to miss him!

Fantastically talented.
posted by Tube at 11:54 PM on April 30, 2008


that was pretty awesome.
posted by juv3nal at 11:55 PM on April 30, 2008


Seen him live in NYC a few times. My god the man just rocks.
posted by lalochezia at 11:55 PM on April 30, 2008


Wow, very talented!
posted by Wolof at 12:07 AM on May 1, 2008


Just watched the anything you've seen or heard before link, and yeah, this guy's got some nice stuff going on. Excellent live looping, nice and pockety. He's using one of these, and using it very well!

Slamming hair. The tap dance bit was way cool, too, very well done. I'll be checking all these links.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:25 AM on May 1, 2008


So you watched that vid and at 12.09 he said "lunchtime flapjacks".

Yeah, well.
posted by Wolof at 1:01 AM on May 1, 2008


Yup. And lunchtime for him is midnight for me, so you see there's some cosmic pancake connection going on.

I sometimes use that Line 6 delay too...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:16 AM on May 1, 2008


I really have tried to use effects, I really have. Every time I find it gets between me and the music. Even a really good digital delay on my Gary Willis fretless, which is practically obligatory for Jaco impersonations, I can only bear for so long.

*goes back to whacking the fuck out of a StingRay, à la Louis Johnson*
posted by Wolof at 1:58 AM on May 1, 2008


I had no idea he did the funny stuff, having only seen a film of him doing a lovely 'straight' song before. Cheers for the post.

Also, the 'hip hop parody of sorts' reminds me of Fur Q's hit song Uzi Lover.

I linked to the above Watts clip in reply to an AskMe question about vocal looping a year or so ago, and thought about posting it to MetaFilter, but thought, "Nah, it'll just get loads of 'Oh yeah, so-and-so did that better in 1897' and 'Hip hop smells of wee' comments, so I won't bother.". How wrong I was!
posted by jack_mo at 5:32 AM on May 1, 2008


flapjax at midnite writes 'cosmic pancake connection'

Great name for a prog rock group, that. (Though I fail to see what flapjacks have to do with pancakes.)
posted by jack_mo at 5:34 AM on May 1, 2008


(Though I fail to see what flapjacks have to do with pancakes.)

jack_mo, I see from your profile that you live in Scotland, where "flapjacks" means these. But when Americans say "flapjacks", they usually mean these.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:33 AM on May 1, 2008


Ornate Insect,

Watts is incredible.

(Sometimes I wish there was a way to force every Mefite to watch talent like this. I so nearly went past it - truly best of...). Thanks so much.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:17 AM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I seem to recall seeing Maktub at Bumbershoot, probably in 2000. My memory is kind of hazy though. Long weekend, lots of shows. But the words that stuck in my memory are "weird" and "thumpin". Thanks for the reminder, I haven't listened since then I think. Time to revisit musical goodness.

Also, I had no idea that flapjack meant something different in Scotland. Fun stuff.
posted by afflatus at 7:27 AM on May 1, 2008


"..and here is an hysterical fake ballad called 'Sara' that comes across like a lounge singer one card short of a full deck. .."

Okay.

That's it!!

Tears of joy rolling...(seriously, I've been involved in family funeral arrangements - a distant but still very miserable affair - since watching the first links this morning. I just very gingerly went for the "fake ballad". He is almost too brilliant. The protean bastard!).

Ornate - I am sending the paltry handful of Mefites I've mefimailed on one thing or another - snotty arguments included - a message to come here and watch. If I could bribe cortex to do a (made up) meta-alert, I would. But it actually hurts to think people might miss this.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:18 AM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


maktub had the practice room next door to ours for several years. Mr Watts is a genuine and kind person, in addition to being wildly talented and HI-larious.
posted by mwhybark at 9:26 AM on May 1, 2008


Alright, summoned by a Jody Tresidder MeFi-Mail. I wasn't too impressed with the longish clip until the last two minutes when he was beat-boxing, then I checked out the "What About Blowjobs" power-ballad. Pretty awesome! The man definitely has talent, now I might end up checking out one of his shows.
posted by onalark at 10:11 AM on May 1, 2008


flapjax at midnite wrote: (Though I fail to see what flapjacks have to do with pancakes.)

jack_mo, I see from your profile that you live in Scotland, where "flapjacks" means these. But when Americans say "flapjacks", they usually mean these.


I did not know that. The personality implied by your username has just shifted massively in my mind (from a 'buys stuff from the all night garage while stoned' kind of person to a 'whips up a nice little snack in the kitchen' kind of person). I think I finally understand why comics fans become distressed by what they call 'retconning'.
posted by jack_mo at 10:16 AM on May 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Of course jack_mo can catch Reggie's three-hour-long, starts-at-midnight, hosted-by-Reggie-with-guests show this August if he shuffles across to Edinburgh. Don't know for sure what his plans are but I'd probably put money on him doing it again at the Green Room.

It was teh awesome last year.

How many instruments can the guy play, anyway?
posted by genghis at 9:19 PM on May 1, 2008




zaelic writes 'Reggie Watts on the Scottish flapjacks phenomenon. '

How about that!

And I'll be sure to go to the show, genghis.
posted by jack_mo at 5:09 AM on May 2, 2008


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