Reggie Watts

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Reggie Watts
Reggie Watts at PopTech 2011 (a).jpg
Watts performing in 2011.
Background information
Birth name Reginald Lucien Frank Roger Watts
Born (1972-03-23) March 23, 1972 (age 42)
Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Origin Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Genres Observational comedy, surreal comedy, electronic music, trip hop, soul
Instruments Vocals, loop sampler, piano, synthesizer
Associated acts Maktub, Soulive, Jash
Notable instruments
Line 6 DL4 delay modeler, Electro Harmonix 2880, Electro Harmonix 45000, Teenage Engineering OP-1, iPhone

Reginald Lucien Frank Roger "Reggie" Watts[1][2] (born March 23, 1972) is a German-born American comedian and musician.

Watts' improvised musical sets are created using only his voice, a keyboard, and a looping machine. An avowed "disinformationist", he frequently disorients his audiences. He performs regularly on television, radio, and in live theater. He appears on the IFC television series Comedy Bang! Bang!, which began airing in 2012. On December 12, 2014, CBS announced that they had signed Watts to lead the house band for The Late Late Show with James Corden in March 2015.[3]

Early life[edit]

Watts was born in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg,[4] the only child of Christiane and Charles Alphonso Watts; his mother is French and his father is American.[2] 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 in the class of 1990.[2] Watts also took piano and violin lessons from the age of five until he was 16.[5] In an appearance on Employee of the Month, Watts said his love for music started when he saw Ray Charles playing the piano on television as a young child.[6]

Watts moved to Seattle in 1990 at the age of 18 to study music. He briefly attended the Art Institute of Seattle before eventually studying jazz at Cornish College of the Arts.[1] While in Seattle, he played in a number of Seattle bands of wildly varying 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, and Free Space, amongst others.


Early career (1996–2009)[edit]

In 1996, Watts became the front man for soul, rock, and hip hop group Maktub.[7][8] While touring in the earlier years 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, while trying to sound like Tom Waits, playing initial gigs at small Seattle venues and artist bungalows. While in Seattle, Watts composed musical scores for Northwest dance choreographers and he dabbled in sketch comedy with future theatrical collaborator Tommy Smith.[9]

In 2004, after recording five albums over eight years, Watts moved to the Lower East Side, New York City. In 2005, he recorded his first solo single, "So Beautiful". Inspired by The State and Wet Hot American Summer, he began infusing spontaneous comedic material with the beat box-driven musical compositions.[10] He shot comedic web shorts for Superdeluxe, Vimeo and CollegeHumor.

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]

In 2007, Watts appeared on Plum TV's "Scott Bateman Presents Scott Bateman Presents" and starred in the CollegeHumor internet video "What About Blowjobs?". The video became a viral hit. The same year, he also wrote and performed the theme song for Penelope Princess of Pets, a web comedy series featuring Kristen Schaal and H. Jon Benjamin.

In 2008, Watts recorded a new special entitled "Disinformation", which features his performance at the Under the Radar Festival at the Public Theater. He also appeared in the independent film "Steel of Fire Warriors 2010 A.D." as a Mutantzoid Underling and on an episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, as well as making other various television appearances.

In 2009, Watts recorded his first solo EP, Pot Cookies. He also began appearing on the PBS Kids' children's program, "The Electric Company". Watts performed in his first solo short film "Watts Does London" and appeared on Comedy Central's Michael and Michael Have Issues as "Greg the Intern". He then did voice work for an episode of Adult Swim's The Venture Bros. as "The Delivery Guy", Australia's "Good News Week", and appeared in the UK documentary The Yes Men Fix the World. Watts also toured in direct support of Devo in a fall 2009 tour which featured that band's albums Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! and Freedom of Choice played in full.

Why Shit So Crazy? (2010–2011)[edit]

In 2010, Waverly Films shot a one-hour special on Watts called "Why Shit So Crazy?". The special features Watts in live performance at New York venues Galapagos, The Bellhouse, and Le Poisson Rouge, bookended with brief sketches and a music video of Watts' "Fuck Shit Stack". Comedy Central aired Why Shit So Crazy? and released the film as a dual DVD/CD package.[8] Afterwards, Watts made various public appearances including Conan O'Brien's The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour.

In 2011, Watts appeared in the HBO film, "The Yes Men Fix the World", as well as making other various appearances on television and in short films.

A Live In Central Park (2012)[edit]

Watts' second stand-up special, Reggie Watts: A "Live" in Central Park, premiered on May 12, 2012 on Comedy Central in the "Secret Stash" completely uncensored to positive reviews.[11][12]

The film was made available as a CD/DVD through Watts' official website as well as Comedy Central's online store.

Soon afterwards, Watts performed a song with LCD Soundsystem on their farewell documentary movie, "Shut Up and Play the Hits".

Comedy Bang! Bang! (2012–present)[edit]

Reggie Watts at The Super Serious Show, March 2013

In 2012, Watts began starring opposite Scott Aukerman on the IFC series Comedy Bang! Bang!, based on the comedy podcast of the same name (formerly Comedy Death-Ray Radio).[13]

Also in 2012, Watts began collaborating with Michael Cera, Tim & Eric, and Sarah Silverman to create their comedy YouTube channel known as Jash.[14][15]

In 2013, TenduTv recorded a new Watts special entitled Transition, which played at various arts festivals including the Under the Radar Festival at The Public Theater; it was winner of the MAP Fund Award and Creative Capital award.

Watts was invited to perform at Yoko Ono's Meltdown 2013 on the South Bank in London where he was supported by[16] Mac Lethal.

In 2014, Watts contributed the outro vocal on "Holy City" and beatbox on "The Classic" from the Joan As Police Woman album The Classic. He also appeared as the last act in the season 4 premiere of John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show where he told some jokes and performed a song, hugging John Oliver at the end.

In December 2014, following CBS's announcement that Watts would lead The Late Late Show band, Aukerman announced that Watts would only remain with Comedy Bang! Bang! through the first half of 2015.[3]



  • Steel of Fire Warriors 2010 A.D. (2008) as Mutantzoid Underling in Bar
  • The Yes Men Fix the World (2009) as Himself
  • Reggie Watts Does London (2009)
  • Why $#!+ So Crazy? (2010) as Himself
  • Tell Your Friends! The Concert Film (2012) as Himself
  • Shut Up and Play the Hits (2012) as Himself
  • A Live At Central Park (2012) as Himself
  • Transition (2013) as Himself


Internet videos[edit]

  • CollegeHumor - "What About Blowjobs?" (2007)
  • Disinformation (2008)
  • bd - "I Just Want To" (2009)
  • "Fuck Shit Stack" (2010)
  • Pop!Tech - "Reggie Watts: Humor In Music" (2011)
  • Pop!Tech - "Reggie Watts: A Send-Off In Style" (2011)
  • Funny or Die - "Reggie Watts Live" (2012)
  • TED - "Reggie Watts Disorients You in the Most Entertaining Way" (2012)
  • "Reggie Watts Is Skrillex (2012)
  • Jash - Various Videos (2013–present)
  • "Ian Up For Whatever" - Bud Light Super Bowl XLVIII Ad (2014)


Solo career[edit]

  • Simplified (2003)
  • So Beautiful - Single (2005)
  • Why $#!+ So Crazy? (2010)
  • Live At Third Man - 12" Vinyl (2011)
  • A Live At Central Park (2012)
  • Get Ready - Single (2014)


  • 4+1 Ensemble [Wayne Horvitz] (Intuition, 1996 [1998])
  • Subtle Ways [Maktub] (1999)
  • From a Window (album)|From a Window [Wayne Horvitz] (Avant, 2000)
  • Khronos [Maktub] (2003)
  • Closer [Brent Laurence feat. Reggie Watts] (2004)
  • Say What You Mean [Maktub] (2005)
  • Start It Over [Maktub] (2007)
  • Five [Maktub] (2009)
  • Dance Anthem of the 80's [Regina Spektor] (2012)
  • Spaghetti Circus - (2012)
  • We Got A Love [Shit Robot feat. Reggie Watts] (2013)
  • "Holy City" and "The Classic" Joan as Police Woman (2014)
  • "Sunshine" Flight Facilities (2014)

Awards and honors[edit]

Watts is the winner of the 2005 Malcolm Hardee "Oy Oy" Award, the 2006 Andy Kaufman Comedy Award, and the 2006 Seattle Mayor's Arts Award.[17] 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.[7]



  1. ^ a b Teagarden, Rebecca (2004-12-19). "Reggie Watts: Stage presence". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2011-04-30. 
  2. ^ a b c "The YouTube Star Who's Crazy in a Funny Way". Esquire. 2008-12-02. Retrieved 2011-04-30. 
  3. ^ a b Wright, Megh (2014-12-12). "CBS Announces Reggie Watts Will Be 'Late Late Show's Band Leader Next Year". Splitsider. Retrieved 2014-12-14. 
  4. ^ "Reggie Watts Biography". Retrieved 2012-11-11. 
  5. ^ Scott C (2005-10-16). "Soulful absurdity: The two sides of Reggie Watts". Montreal Mirror. Retrieved 2011-04-30. 
  6. ^ "REGGIE WATTS on EMPLOYEE of the MONTH". SoundButt. 
  7. ^ a b "Reggie Watts Official Biography". Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  8. ^ a b Itzkoff, Dave (May 28, 2010). "Always the Quick-Change Artist, From Skits to Songs to Stand-Ups". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ Barker, Jeremy M. (October 14, 2009). "Reggie Watts & Tommy Smith’s Long Road Back to On the Boards". The SunBreak. 
  10. ^ Klickstein, Mathew (August 11, 2011). "Reggie Watts, Conan O'Brien's hip-hop comic coming to the Fox". Colorado Daily. 
  11. ^ Hyman, Dan (May 22, 2012). "Reggie Watts: 'I Feel That I Need to Make Something More Substantial'". Rolling Stone. 
  12. ^ L. Ray, Austin. "Reggie Watts A Live at Central Park special review". The Spit Take. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  13. ^ Blackard, Cap (May 17, 2012). "Interview: Reggie Watts". Consequence of Sound. 
  14. ^ Matheson, Whitney (2013-03-11). "JASH: Your fave comedians launch a YouTube channel". USA Today. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  15. ^ Danton, Eric R. (2013-03-11). "Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera Launch JASH Comedy Channel on YouTube". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved 11 March 2013. 
  16. ^ "Reggie Watts + Mac Lethal". 
  17. ^ "Press Release". Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. 2006-09-01. Retrieved 2011-04-30. 

External links[edit]