Reggie WATTS!

Reggie Watts is incredible. I could watch his performances all day long. We are hoping to score an interview with him, not only because of his skills and magic, but because he grew up in Great Falls, Montana! Thanks for the laughs Reggie and hopefully we can talk soon. PEACE.

Early life (1972–1990)

Born in Germany as Reginald Lucien Frank Roger Watts,[1][2] Watts is the only child of Christiane and Charles Alphonso Watts; his mother is French and his father is African-American. His father was an officer in the United States Air Force and the family lived in Germany and Spain before relocating to Great Falls, Montana, where Watts was raised and graduated from Great Falls High School.[2] Watts also took piano and violin lessons from the age of five until he was 16.[3]

Seattle (1990–2004)

Watts moved to Seattle at age 18 where he briefly attended the Art Institute of Seattle before eventually studying jazz at Cornish College of the Arts.[1] He went on to play in a number of Seattle bands of wildly varying styles/genres, including Hit Explosion, Swampdweller, Action Buddy, Chiarrscuro, Clementine, Smell No Taste, Wayne Horvitz 4+1 Ensemble, Das Rut, Synthclub, Elemental, Eyvand Kang Seven Nades, Free Space, etc. He became the front man for soul, rock, and hip hop group Maktub, with which he has recorded five albums.[4]

In Seattle, Watts became interested in alternative performance styles. He composed musical scores for Northwest dance choreographers KT Niehoff, Amy O’Neal, Maureen Whiting, Pat Graney and Beth Huerta. He dabbled in sketch comedy with future theatrical collaborator Tommy Smith.

Watts’ genesis as a solo performer started to emerge at the beginning of 2002. While touring years earlier with the Wayne Horvitz 4+1 Ensemble, Watts was forced to downsize his effects pedal from a Roland Space Echo tape delay to a Line 6 DL4 delay modeler, a smaller device that makes it easy to travel. He began using the Line 6 in live shows with Maktub, in order to replicate the duplicate harmonies from the recorded material. Then he experimented with improvising entire songs in solo acts with the Line 6, playing initial gigs at small Seattle venues and artist bungalows. Inspired by The State and Wet Hot American Summer, he began infusing spontaneous comedic material with the beat box-driven musical compositions.[citation needed]

Brooklyn/Manhattan (2004–present)

Wanting to concentrate on solo comedic performance, Watts moved to the Lower East Side, New York City, in 2004. He shot comedic web shorts for Superdeluxe, Vimeo and CollegeHumor, where his video “What About Blowjobs?” became a viral hit. He also formed a theatrical collaboration with playwright Tommy Smith, and began developing web philosophy/content with online entrepreneur Jakob Lodwick, with whom he recorded the EP Pot Cookies. Moving to Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2006, Watts started to branch out into performing for television and film, while continuing to pursue live performance and the creation of new performance technologies.[citation needed]

Solo performance

Watts was the opening act for Conan O’Brien on The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour, and appeared as the musical guest on the sixth, twenty-eighth, fifty-first, and 108th episodes of Conan.[5] He also recently recorded material for his Comedy Central special Why Shit So Crazy?, released as a dual DVD/CD package.

Watts’ recent solo comedic experience includes gigs at Fusebox[disambiguation needed], SXSW, Bonnaroo, Brian Eno‘s Luminous Festival at the Sydney Opera House, The Louvre, Montreal Comedy Festival, PopTech!, Soho Theatre (London), Vancouver Comedy Festival, CollegeHumor’s “CH Live” stand-up comedy series, The Edinburgh Festival, Bumbershoot, The Sydney Festival, Sasquatch, Outside Lands Festival and cities throughout the world including Amsterdam’s Boom Chicago, Paris, Cologne, Madrid, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Melbourne, Cape Town and Reykjavik, among others.

Watts frequently collaborates with performers/musicians around the globe. He appeared as part of the Ensemble cast of UK beatboxer Beardyman‘s Complete and Utter Shambles show at the Udderbelly during its residency at South Bank. He was the opening act for Regina Spektor on her European tour; he recorded vocals for Spektor’s song “Dance Anthem of the 80s”. He collaborated with French singer Camile Dalmais in a performance at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. He also contributed two tracks to DFA RecordsSpaghetti Circus. He also performed with dance-punk band LCD Soundsystem during their first two farewell shows at Terminal 5 in New York City, and again at their final show at Madison Square Garden.

Television/video

On screen, Watts has appeared on Conan, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s The Yes Men Fix the World,[6] Comedy Central’s Michael and Michael Have Issues, Iceland TV, UK’s “Funny Or Die,” PBS’ revamped The Electric Company and the music video “What About Blowjobs?” for CollegeHumor.[2]

Waverly Films recently shot a one-hour special on Watts called “Why Shit So Crazy?”. Created as a dual DVD/CD, the special features Watts in live performance at New York venues Galapagos, The Bellhouse and Le Poisson Rouge, intercut with brief sketches and a music video of Watts’ “Fuck Shit Stack”. As a composer, he wrote and performed music for comedian Louis CK‘s show, Louie, and created the theme song for Comedy Death-Ray Radio and Kristen Schaal‘s Penelope Princess of Pets. In 2010, Watts appeared on the Movie Network/Movie Central/HBO Canada produced Funny As Hell, a comedy series taped during the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, Quebec.[7]

Theatre

Starting in 2007, Watts began creating experimental multi-media theater with long-time friend and playwright Tommy Smith. They have generated four pieces, Transition, Disinformation, Radioplay and Dutch A/V. The collaborations between Watts and Smith feature a wide array of performing artists including dancer/choreographer Amy O’Neal (locust), comedian/actor Beth Hoyt, singer Orianna Herrman (Oracle), journalist Brendan Kiley (“The Stranger”), aerial artist Jeslyn Kelly (Fuerzabruta), and projected imagery by ex-Wooster Group video artist Joby Emmons.

Transition played at The Under The Radar Festival at The Public Theater, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art‘s Time Based Art Festival and On the Boards (Seattle); it was also the winner of the MAP Fund Award and Creative Capital award. Disinformation was seen at the UTR Festival, PICA: TBA, The Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), The Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh), and ICA (Boston). Radioplay premiered at Ars Nova (New York), and played at Seattle Rep (Bumbershoot), IRT Theater (New York) and Redhouse (Syracuse). Dutch A/V, a live environmental film performance and winner of the MAP Fund Award, was workshopped at IRT Theatre (New York).

Watts and Smith also regularly host Occurrence, a cabaret of alternative performers, which has been seen at Ars Nova, Galapagos, The Tank, Leftbank (Portland) and various other venues. A recording of their show Transition at On the Boards helped launch the first-ever live performance download website, OTBTV.

Awards

He is winner of the 2005 Malcolm Hardee “Oy Oy” Award, the 2006 Andy Kaufman Comedy Award, and the 2006 Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award.[8] He was also awarded the 2008 MAP Fund and the 2009 Creative Capitol Grant for the performing arts, and won the 2009 ECNY Award for Best Musical Comedy Act.

Personal life

Author Alice Walker is Watts’ second cousin.[1] Watts speaks fluent French and German.

Discography

  • Simplified (2004)
  • Pot Cookies (EP) (2008)
  • Why Shit So Crazy? (2010)[9]

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