Watts performing in 2011.
|Birth name||Reginald Lucien Frank Roger Watts|
March 23, 1972 |
Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
|Origin||Seattle, Washington, U.S.|
|Genres||Observational comedy, surreal comedy, electronic music, trip hop, soul|
|Instruments||Vocals, loop machines, keyboards, beatboxing, vocal bass|
|Associated acts||James Corden, Maktub, Soulive, Jash|
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 appeared on the IFC television series Comedy Bang! Bang!, which began airing in 2012. He currently leads the house band for The Late Late Show with James Corden.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Performance style
- 4 Filmography
- 5 Discography
- 6 Awards and honors
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Watts was born in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, 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 in the class of 1990. Watts also took piano and violin lessons from the age of five until he was 16, and has said his love for music started when he saw Ray Charles playing the piano on television as a young child.
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. 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)
In 1996, Watts became the front man for soul, rock, and hip hop group Maktub. 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.
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. 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.
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)
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. 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)
The film was made available as a CD/DVD through Watts' official website as well as Comedy Central's online store.
Comedy Bang! Bang! (2012–2015)
In 2013, On The Boards 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. It is available on iTunes via TenduTV.
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. Watts' final episode of Comedy Bang! Bang! is set to debut on June 5, 2015.
The Late Late Show with James Corden (2015–present)
Watts currently serves as the bandleader and announcer for The Late Late Show with James Corden. He has described his role on the show as "... a mix of Paul Shaffer and Andy Richter." His band on the show is unofficially named "Karen". Watts has a slot on the show to ask a guest a question about anything (called Reggie's Question on show clips). The questions are a continuation of his time on Comedy Bang! Bang!, and follow his preference for surreal comedy in his stand-up act.
Watts's solo shows are completely improvised and consist of him singing and rapping both with words and with his signature style of scat singing, accompanying himself by either beatboxing and recording vocal basslines into a loop machine, or simply by playing the keyboard. His act also showcases his trademark style of standup comedy, consisting of him rapidly alternating between topics of discussion in both rational and nonsensical manners, making random sounds and noises, and speaking in other accents and languages at unexpected times, all with the intent of playfully and comically disorientating his audiences.
- 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 Shit 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
- Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) as Tone Hanger singer and Beatboxer
- Scott Batemen Presents Scott Batemen Presents (2007) as Himself
- Saving Steve Agee (2007) as Himself
- Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2009) as Himself
- Made Here (2009) as Himself
- The Ha!ifax Comedy Fest (2009) as Himself
- Late Night with Conan O'Brien (2010) as Himself
- Good News Week (2010) as Himself
- Team Coco Presents the Conan Writers Live (2010) - Himself
- Conan O'Brien Can't Stop (2011)
- Cracker Night (2011) as Himself
- Mash Up (2011)
- Talk Stoop (2011) as Himself
- Funny As Hell (2011) as Himself
- Doctor Who: The Best-of Specials (2011) as Host
- The Green Room with Paul Provenza (2011) as Himself
- Delocated (2012) as Himself
- Russell Howard's Good News (2012) as Himself
- The Top 100 Video Games of All Time (2012) as Himself
- 7 Minutes in Heaven (2012) as Himself
- Stand Down: True Tales from Stand-Up Comedy (2012) as Himself
- Mash Up (2012) as Himself
- The Secret Policeman's Ball (2012) as Himself
- Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell (2013) as Himself
- Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2013)
- Reggie Makes Music (2013)
- 2013 YouTube Music Awards (2013) as Host
- America's Next Top Model (2013) as Himself
- Comedy Bang! Bang! (2012–2015) as Himself
- Inside Amy Schumer (2014) as Neighbor
- The Late Late Show with James Corden (2015–present) as Himself
- 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)
- Simplified (2003)
- So Beautiful - Single (2005)
- Why Shit 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 )
- 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 featuring Reggie Watts] (2013)
- "Holy City" and "The Classic" Joan as Police Woman (2014)
- "Sunshine" Flight Facilities (2014)
Awards and honors
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. 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.
- Teagarden, Rebecca (2004-12-19). "Reggie Watts: Stage presence". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2011-04-30.
- "The YouTube Star Who's Crazy in a Funny Way". Esquire. 2008-12-02. Retrieved 2011-04-30.
- Wright, Megh (2014-12-12). "CBS Announces Reggie Watts Will Be 'Late Late Show's Band Leader Next Year". Splitsider. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
- "Reggie Watts Biography". Retrieved 2012-11-11.
- Scott C (2005-10-16). "Soulful absurdity: The two sides of Reggie Watts". Montreal Mirror. Retrieved 2011-04-30.
- "REGGIE WATTS on EMPLOYEE of the MONTH". SoundButt.
- "Reggie Watts Official Biography". Reggiewatts.com. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
- Itzkoff, Dave (May 28, 2010). "Always the Quick-Change Artist, From Skits to Songs to Stand-Ups". The New York Times.
- Barker, Jeremy M. (October 14, 2009). "Reggie Watts & Tommy Smith's Long Road Back to on the Boards". The SunBreak.
- Klickstein, Mathew (August 11, 2011). "Reggie Watts, Conan O'Brien's hip-hop comic coming to the Fox". Colorado Daily.
- Hyman, Dan (May 22, 2012). "Reggie Watts: 'I Feel That I Need to Make Something More Substantial'". Rolling Stone.
- L. Ray, Austin. "Reggie Watts A Live at Central Park special review". The Spit Take. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
- Blackard, Cap (May 17, 2012). "Interview: Reggie Watts". Consequence of Sound.
- Matheson, Whitney (2013-03-11). "JASH: Your fave comedians launch a YouTube channel". USA Today. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
- Danton, Eric R. (2013-03-11). "Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera Launch JASH Comedy Channel on YouTube". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
- "Reggie Watts + Mac Lethal". southbankcentre.co.uk.
- Kavner, Lucas. "Reggie Watts on His New Gig As Bandleader of The Late Late Show and Why He Was Initially Annoyed by the Offer". Vulture. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
- Daly, Kyle. "Reggie Watts' Late Late Show band is just called Karen". AV Club. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
- Sandberg, Bryn. "'Late Late Show' Bandleader Reggie Watts on Dual Role, 'Comedy Bang! Bang!' Influence". The Hollywood Reporter/Yahoo. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
- "Press Release". Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. 2006-09-01. Retrieved 2011-04-30.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Reggie Watts.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Reggie Watts|
- Official website
- Reggie Watts discography at Discogs
- Reggie Watts at the Internet Movie Database
- Official "Fuck Shit Stack" video
- Official "What About Blowjobs?" video
- Live performance (June 2012) for NPR
- ReggieWatts/TommySmith Theatre
- Reggie Watts - "A Live at Central Park"