Usually when you start off one of these interview thingy’s, the intro will be something like “We caught up with…Blah Blah at Blah Blah…” and it’s just an opening phrase, a way to kick it off. In the case of Reggie Watts however, getting a few minutes on the phone with him between flights is literally the closest you’ll get to “catching up” with him these days. The dude is EVERYWHERE doing EVERYTHING right now. Yet, no matter how busy, he still manages to be one of the most congenial beings to ever visit this planet.
Where to start? You’ve got a million things poppin’ off all at the same time.
Ha, ha yeah..sometimes it’s a little bit overwhelming, but it feels o.k.
Be honest. Are you a robot?
I probably am… part robot…at least.
Your Comedy Central special “A Live at Central Park” premiered last Friday night and the album drops today-have you been pleased with the feedback you’ve been getting so far?
(Please note-The reception dropped out during his answer so the only words I was able to transcribe later from the recording were “Yes” and “Critical Praise” which, from what I gathered, seemed to be the gist.)
You’re also about to kickoff a U.S. tour tomorrow night in Chicago. What can fans expect this go around?
I’m just gonna do my best to give a Hi-Fi kind of a show but my main goal is to just NOT disappoint too many people.
You’ve become such a staple at the big music festivals, like SXSW, and I know you’re doing “Bonnaroo” again as well as “The Electric Forest” festival this summer. Do you think the reason you’re so popular at these shows is because you’re like a living, breathing acid trip?
(chuckles) Probably. I mean, I definitely like the psychedelic component of performance. It’s an opportunity to really go to some interesting places with yourself and the audience. It’s a challenge getting things right on a trippy level for people.
On top of the special, the album, and the tour, you’re also the band leader on the new IFC show “Comedy Bang! Bang!” premiering Thursday, June 8th. Fans of the podcast are super geeked for sure, but for people who don’t know, can you explain the premise of the show?
Yeah..it’s kind of like an absurdist, surrealist talk show with celebrity guests. It’s definitely a huge departure from a “regular” talk show, because it goes to all these random places. It’s a little bit “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” meets “Between Two Ferns” meets a standard talk show – with a couch.
You do songs with some of the celebrities that come on the show. For instance- the “Taxi” tribute you did with Jon Hamm…. HYSTERICAL.
Oh, thank you. I always thought that theme song was so weird, and it was a very strange choice for a sitcom. It was just very melancholy, that whole shot from behind a trunk of a taxi going over the Queensboro bridge. Such a crazy choice.
You’ve also composed the “Comedy Bang! Bang!” theme along with the intro for “Key and Peele”. It seems like you have a specific interest in television theme songs. Were you a T.V. junkie as a kid?
Yeah, I was. I watched a sh%tload of T.V. growing up. I was a total T.V. kid and I would get so excited to come home and watch one of my shows or I’d watch a drama like “Dallas” or “Fantasy Island” with my parents. I’d really get into a drama too because that would always allow me to kind of stay up later.
Would you consider yourself to be like a psychedelic Mike Post?
YEAH! It’s funny that you say that. That’s exactly what I think of. Perfect.
I read that Zach Galifianakis will be one of the guests on an upcoming episode of “Comedy Bang! Bang!” Any chance you guys might do a “Greatest American Hero” tribute?
Oh man, that would be great. I would LOVE that.
Your song “Kinect The Dots” is beautiful and the video is so innovative and cool. How did that whole project come together?
My friend Jakob Lodwick who started Vimeo.com is involved in all kinds of different projects now. He knew a guy who does all this great programming for the Kinect system and we just set it all up and kind of just went for it. It was all very spontaneous and fun, which is the way I like to do things.
So much of your comedy on stage is musical/improvisational. Is it hard for you to sit down like a traditional comic and write a bit?
Yeah, I don’t really do that. I can definitely write a scenario or I’ll jot down an idea sitting around with friends that I might use on stage but just writing bits…that doesn’t really work for me.
Watching “Diametrical Oppositionalism” on Conan the other night, I just started to wonder, is there any genre of music that doesn’t inspire you?
Not really. I’d say there’s a good version of every kind of music out there. No matter what kind of music you say that you hate, there has to be a great version of it, otherwise it wouldn’t have come into being. Even music that you hear all the time that you think you know like techno or house music…you hear it in commercials…but that’s just like…Pop stuff. If you keep looking you’ll find the REALLY good version of Techno or Country or Folk or Americana…there’s always a great version of any kind of music.
One last thing…You did an episode of “7 Minutes in Heaven” with Mike O’Brien where you confessed a crush on Elizabeth Banks. What is it about her that does it for ya?
I think she has this really cool thing going for her. Like, she’s able to disguise her funniness. She’s a very blonde, Scandinavian woman and she’s bright and shiny and bubbly in that way. But she’s also very comically adept. It’s a great cover that she’s this charming, pretty person but can deliver really funny sh%t. If you’ve ever seen “Wet Hot American Summer”, she’s brilliant in that. It’s probably when I started crushin’ out on her.