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Comedic Musician Reggie Watts Likes to Be Ready, Makes Utility Tools Fashionable


Published: Friday, May 25, 2012

Updated: Friday, May 25, 2012 19:05

Reggie Watts is a man that makes an impression without saying a word. An improv comedian and brilliant musician, Watts doesn’t have a standard set to play every night. A mixture of beat boxing, sampling, singing, storytelling and bold creativity go into his comedy.

Watts released his Comedy Central Special, “Reggie Watts: A Live At Central Park,” earlier this month and will play band leader/sidekick in a new IFC talk show (of sorts) this summer.

College Times: Is there any prep needed before you go on tour?
Reggie Watts: No, not really. As long as I can get there I’ll be okay.

I guess there’s no rehearsing if it’s all improvised.
No, I wish there were but, no, there’s not.

How would you describe one of your live shows?
Well, I guess I would say it’s an improvised fantastical journey through familiar things that might not be so familiar.

Is there any musical guilty pleasure you have?
I do sometimes like Katy Perry songs. I liked “Teenage Dream” for a while. I thought that was kind of an amazing song.

Is there something funny that shouldn’t be funny?
I like to make fun of Radiohead because I think they are kind of a ridiculous band. No one ever makes fun of them because they are so highly regarded.

What’s it like living in Williamsburg?
It’s great. I use to live in a different part of New York. I use to live in Brooklyn Heights, which is the part close to the Promenade where the movie “When Harry Met Sally” [filmed the] famous kissing scene. I use to live there, and it was mainly just brownstones with kind of upper-middle class, a few white rich people and their ethnic nannies taking care of their white babies. There’s a lot of strollers going up and down the street with all these women that are obviously not the mothers of these children just walking around. And then some kind of boring college students going to whatever university is there. It’s the most uninspiring place to live. [laughs] If you’re an artist, never live in a family community – unless you draw inspiration from children and nannies. It’s just horrible. But then I moved to Williamsburg and it was awesome. It was just perfect. Even though there are a bunch of partiers, there are really great artists amongst all those people. And it has great stores and shops and restaurants and a cool promenade. It’s really a fun, happy area. Kind of the best area to live in.

It gets ragged on a lot, though.
Yeah, which is good. The good thing is that it makes other people [too] annoyed to live here. The less people move here the better. Now we’re starting to see outside of coffee shops, like, six strollers. It’s either the hipsters that live here are getting older and having kids or the kids are moving to Williamsburg. I like kids, but kids kind of bum me out. It’s fine. I mean, people need to have kids. It’s just, like, you kind of go, “Aww, where are the adults having fun?” Instead they’re running around asking, “Do you need some milk now?” I love that they’re trying to still stay cool, you know. The parents will get their babies CBGB shirts.

How would you describe your sense of style and how did you come to have such a cool wardrobe?
[laughs] Some people might not call it so cool. Growing up in Montana I started to get a lot of hand-me-down clothing from my dad’s closet or a thrift store. It [was] before going to thrift stores was cool. My friends from high school and I would go to Goodwill or Salvation Army. So that sensibility I carried over with sweaters, things of that nature and suspenders that I wore as a little kid. Now I really like finding a blend of a really tacky sweater and high-tech very functional clothing, like pants with crazy tough material. I like being ready for everything. I like having utility tools and headphones on my person. It’s a combination of having utility and being in travel mode and also just being a goofball.

You also have impeccable facial hair. Any tips you might have to share?
Uhh, you know, sometimes I just get up and leave. When I take a shower I wash my beard and comb it out and that’s kind of it. Once in a while I need to get it trimmed. You’ll never experience this but when you grow a mustache and it’s long it starts to get in your way. Eating or drinking is just annoying as hell. I have to go to a professional like every three months. It’s low maintenance.

What else do you have in store this year?
I’m in a (IFC) TV show called “Comedy Bang Bang” with Scott Aukerman. It starts in June sometime. It’s a really wild, abstract talk show with lots of interviews and all sorts of video sketches. I play a kind of a combination of Paul Shaffer and Andy Richter. I’m doing music and I’m involved in sketches, too. It’s gonna be crazy.

Reggie Watts, Crescent Ballroom, May 29, 8 p.m., $25 adv, $27 dos
 

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