Does TED even understand it's being mocked?
May 26, 2012 12:50 PM   Subscribe

Reggie Watts gives the Ultimate TED Talk which means deconstructive, meaning-free, musical and far more entertaining than most.

Also, Reggie as a starship pilot is one of the highlights* of Hot Chip's very silly Peter-Serafinowicz-directed new video "Night and Day"
*along with Terence "Zod" Stamp lipsync-rapping and rhyming "Abba" and "Zappa"
posted by oneswellfoop (46 comments total) 77 users marked this as a favorite
An ironic young man ... may be viewed as a pest to society.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:01 PM on May 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

He is rather good, isn't he?
posted by milkb0at at 1:01 PM on May 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Super nice guy. I've had a beer with him.
posted by humboldt32 at 1:05 PM on May 26, 2012

"With the allocation and understanding of the lack of understanding we enter into a new era of science in which we feel nothing more than so much so as to say that those who within themselves comparary or non comparary will figuratively figure into the folding of our non-understanding and our partial understanding to the networks of which we all draw our source and conclusions from"

Love it, love everything about it.
posted by PipRuss at 1:08 PM on May 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

That code switch around 2:00? Wow.
posted by migurski at 1:13 PM on May 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Reggie Watts is a god. For someone with seemingly endless talent, who could be fronting a conventional band or producing records or something, I'm thankful this is what he chooses to do.

His lecture at Poptech last year opened with a similar bit if, like me, you can't get enough Reggie Watts.
posted by Lorin at 1:28 PM on May 26, 2012 [11 favorites]

Do youtube watchers of Ted presentations even understand they are being mocked?
posted by found missing at 1:29 PM on May 26, 2012

oh no, they could never be as clever as that, found missing.
posted by boo_radley at 1:42 PM on May 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

The hair of Reggie Watts is only dwarfed by his talent.
posted by mcstayinskool at 1:50 PM on May 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

What is that saying about how all war movies glorify war? I kind of feel the same way about TED talks. Even TED talks mocking TED glorify TED by making TED seem important enough to be mocked and 'hip' enough to make fun of itself.
posted by Pyry at 1:52 PM on May 26, 2012 [5 favorites]

posted by carter at 1:55 PM on May 26, 2012

He really is this weird crazy genius who just doesn't give fuck all, isn't he?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:58 PM on May 26, 2012

Anyone recognize the sampler he's using?

Also, neat presentation. Didn't know more than his hair previously
posted by monocultured at 1:59 PM on May 26, 2012

It's Line6 DL4 delay and an Electro Harmonix 2880 looper.
posted by Lorin at 2:02 PM on May 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

He’s also got a recently posted free episode of his upcoming IFC show, Comedy Bang! Bang!. Some pretty good bits in it…
posted by Chris Brummel at 2:03 PM on May 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Cheers Lorin
posted by monocultured at 2:04 PM on May 26, 2012

Hmm… Why didn’t that link work?

Comedy Bang! Bang!:
posted by Chris Brummel at 2:04 PM on May 26, 2012

loved it. I wished he'd used is Fuck shit stack version?
posted by greenhornet at 2:04 PM on May 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

The most talented thing I have ever not understood in my life.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:13 PM on May 26, 2012 [5 favorites]

Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?
posted by Rhomboid at 2:24 PM on May 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

his 2011 pop! tech send off blew my mind. the longer set lets him get into the flow... and results in a few of his best live moments.
posted by angelplasma at 2:29 PM on May 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Well, TED talks are done. There need never be another one. This is it.
posted by edheil at 3:10 PM on May 26, 2012 [5 favorites]

I see what he's getting at, but chicken chicken chicken.
posted by LordSludge at 3:44 PM on May 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Mmmm. Reggie Watts. He is probably the only person in the world I enjoy listening to when they're talking nonsense. The true irony is that he's no more nonsensical than most of the people you see in media every day.
posted by wierdo at 3:45 PM on May 26, 2012

The true irony is that he's no more nonsensical than most of the people you see in media every day.

It's not irony, it's the whole point.
posted by robcorr at 3:53 PM on May 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

It's not irony, it's the whole point.

I think the irony is the point.

That's the real irony.

Fuck. We're stuck in a loop.
posted by howfar at 4:03 PM on May 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Remember when Thomas Pynchon didn't show up to accept Some Fuckoff Big Award in the 70s and some other dude showed up for him, typical really, and it was basically this talk only it was before hiphop existed?
posted by waxbanks at 4:17 PM on May 26, 2012

This was so much better than that TED OSX beachball flashmob antic feebleness linked here a while back. No I won't link to it. If you missed it and saw this, you are way ahead on the deal and I will not disrupt that.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:18 PM on May 26, 2012 [6 favorites]

It's not irony, it's the whole point.

I think the irony is the point.

That's the real irony.

Which is why irony was declared dead over 10 years ago (by Jon Stewart, if I recall).

So this is obviously zombie irony.

No wonder it's crying out for bra-a-a-i-ins.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:25 PM on May 26, 2012

Reggie Watts is one PoMo MoFo.
posted by drlith at 5:53 PM on May 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Reggie Watts is really interesting to me because he gives such a magnetic performance for everyone across the board. If we could easily divide performers into categories, then I think it would be hard to place Watts not because he's eclectic but rather because he relies on cognitive bias and misdirection like a magician. He presents himself in oddly mismatching clothes, somewhat unkempt head and facial hair, speaking fluent foreign languages, uses pseudo intellectual speak, and then jumps into some funk-soul-hip-hop medley. He constantly shifts our perception right in front of us without coins, cards, or rabbits. Change blindness is a sneaky little thing, but I feel as if Watts is a master at it. Instead of two guys with a mirror he merely shifts his weight, voice, and the subject matter and accomplishes the same thing.
I don't think this was specifically tailored to TED, because I've seen quite a few of his other bits that come quite close, but it works well here nonetheless. Some of his good stuff he reuses, and a lot of his stuff is free flow improvisational. I really wish I could unremember his past bits just because it is so great to see him for the first time. Although, like other great performers, it always great to see him slowly hone and change what he does so fantastically, and end up being even more lovingly jealous everytime.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 5:57 PM on May 26, 2012 [11 favorites]

My first exposure to Reggie Watts was this video (Warning: Ponies). It's the song that greenhornet linked to above, but the addition of My Little Pony characters really pushes it over the top.
posted by radwolf76 at 6:50 PM on May 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

I saw him at Yoshi's recently. Third row. Everyone's consensus after the show is that he is one of the most attractive people alive. So much talent that I finally understood what being magnetic means. The closer one gets to him, the closer one wants to be.

Don't miss a chance to see him live. Our tickets were under 20 each, SAIT.

The same friend who dragged me to see Watts also dragged me to see The Bad Plus. Completely different, but the same kind of talent. There is a certain mefite I'd love to see live in Tokyo if I can get my job to send me there on business. From his YouTube videos I can see he has the same kind of talent going on.
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 7:03 PM on May 26, 2012

The wikipedia article on change blindness reads like Reggie talks:

In visual perception, change blindness is the inability to detect changes in objects or scenes being viewed.[1] This does not mean that representations of visual scenes are incomplete, sparse, or segmented. According to traditional and accepted theories of perception, people have a complete model of a scene that is created from various views and geons. In order to detect a change, one must be able to relate the image before the change with the image after it. Short exposure makes creating the mental images a difficult endeavor, but the notion that bits and pieces of scenes are retained and processed separately is incongruent with past findings. Therefore, it is not fractioned representations that lead to change blindness, but, rather, it is an inability to make comparisons between two scenes. The fact that observers can correctly identify the summary statistics while failing to recognize the change gives further credibility to this outlook. Since they do notice some characteristics of a scene, it can be concluded that they have an overall visual representation.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 9:05 PM on May 26, 2012

What Reggie really wants to know is, what the hell's up with that big ass purse?
posted by lazaruslong at 9:14 PM on May 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Super nice guy. I've had a beer with him.

Fine, humboldt32; just don't elect him President.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:17 PM on May 26, 2012

Ok, TED talk marked for later, but after perusing Youtube, I only have one pertinent question:

posted by bruzie at 9:39 PM on May 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Years ago, '99, I was in Seattle and there was this band Maktub I made friends with. Whenever they played, I went to see 'em. Great gigs in small places. The lead singer Reggie even came over to my place a couple times. (I was doing OBEY back then and had just begun a very public battle with my partner with Seattle as our battleground. Reggie was a fan of street art and OBEY.) We went around the city a couple times and discussed street art.

The album Maktub had out at the time was titled Subtle Ways. It is great. In fact, after not having it around for about a decade, I just ordered it on Amazon. And I could never get over how living genius Reggie Watts and Reggie from Maktub sounded so much alike. It was uncanny.

Then, onefellswoop posted this fpp and I thought, "My god this sounds so much like Reggie from Maktub. And so I googled reggie watts maktub.

Imagine my surprise!
posted by Mike Mongo at 10:26 PM on May 26, 2012 [5 favorites]

If the musical bits were too short for you, sugar's got it going on.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:25 PM on May 26, 2012

Also, and here's a how-to for the audio geeks. This is as good a class in loopism as you'll find anywhere.

If you want to get into this, it would cost you about $600 to duplicate this setup with used gear from eBay. The microphone is a Shure SM58. The black box at lower right is a Boss Digital Reverb pedal; reverb is what gives a voice that nice spacey quality and helps to distinguish foreground from background. The green box is a Line 6 DL4 delay line; good for short loops and echos. At very short loop lengths with high feedback you can get all sorts of wacky pitch changes by twiddling the delay time. (As a matter of fact, almost all sound effects built from delay feedback, but now we're into audio engineering instead of music so that's a story for another day.) The Electro-Harmonix Classics 2880 is a 4-track looping recorder that's very popular with guitarists. although this device has a good many tricks up its own sleeve, you can see here that Watts basically uses it to keep three background tracks going, which he switches in and out, but otherwise he's singing a duet with whatever snippets of his voice are coming from the delay pedal.

You don't have to use this gear to get these effects. They're sort of best-in-class as far as both power and ease-of-use go, but if you hunt around you could get something quite similar for a good bit less (a company called Zoom makes extremely cheap effect boxes and recorders that sound far better than the price would suggest), and if you don't mind using software, then all you need are a copy of Live Lite, some USB controller pads from Korg, and some sort of USB microphone. It's easier and more fun to do it with hardware though. Enjoy!
posted by anigbrowl at 12:12 AM on May 27, 2012 [11 favorites]

"If you like anything you enjoy..."

No shit, I'd pay good money for a serious Reggie Watts throwback album of old 60s/70s soul covers.
posted by youandiandaflame at 6:27 AM on May 27, 2012

Saying this is "mocking" TED sort of feels like saying Shaun Of The Dead is "mocking" zombie films.

And I wish I could be like Reggie Watts. Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa.
posted by Peevish at 6:51 AM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Who is this man, why isn't he my Uncle and why will I never be a fraction as talented as he is?

Also, I'd probably kill to get his awesome beard/fro combination. I am very jealous right now.
posted by zoo at 1:14 PM on May 27, 2012

I think what Reggie Watts does is Semiotic Standup Comedy.
posted by JayCruz at 12:27 PM on May 29, 2012

Holy cats, at 2:43 he sings "I'm trolling you."
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:13 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Markov generator standup. I love it.
posted by benzenedream at 9:41 AM on May 31, 2012

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