Reggie Watts talks about his comedy

From San Francisco Chronicle

January 29, 2012
By Aidin Vaziri


Since being handpicked to open for Conan O’Brien’s Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour, the 40-year-old musician and comedian Reggie Watts has only watched his profile grow. It’s finally beginning to measure up to his unruly Afro. His brand of humor is decidedly eccentric – Watts doesn’t so much tell jokes as ramble and make up surreal songs off the top of his head. But he has won fans in everyone from Aziz Ansari to Brian Eno (no, seriously). Watts plays four shows in San Francisco this week as part of SF Sketchfest. We spoke to him from his home in Brooklyn.

Q: How are you going to improvise through four shows? I’m nervous for you.

A: I don’t know. It will be a different type of thing every night. I’ve done long residencies before, like 10 shows in a row. It won’t be that bad.

Q: What happens if you wake up and you’re not in the mood to be funny?

A: I just need a good day with friends, where everyone is relaxed. Working out really helps. What usually ends up happening I feel like I have to do as many relaxing things as possible, which itself ends up being stressful.

Q: A lot of people know your name and expect your shows to be stand-up comedy – but you don’t do that. How long does it take them to figure it out?

A: I think it’s different show to show, cluster to cluster of the audience. It’s kind of unpredictable. As long as I have a good time, the audience usually has a good time.

Q: Do you enjoy making people uncomfortable?

A: Yeah, of course. I love that element.

Q: Can you imagine the pitch meeting to get you on the Conan O’Brien tour: “It’s this guy with big hair and funny sweaters who sings really weird songs and just talks but doesn’t really say anything”?

A: It was one of those things where it was recommended by writers on his show. They made the decision pretty quickly. It was oddly mellow.

Q: Is there anything funnier than seeing you two stand next to each other?

A: It’s awesome. He’s the best. {sbox}

Reggie Watts: Just the Music: 8 p.m. Tues. Yoshi’s, 1330 Fillmore St., S.F. (415) 655-5600.

Comedy: 8 p.m. Wed. Mezzanine, 444 Jessie St., S.F. (415) 625-8880.

Jazz collaboration with Robert Glasper: 8 p.m. Thurs. Yoshi’s, 510 Embarcadero W., Jack London Square, Oakland. (510) 238-9200.

Improvised silent film score: Midnight Fri. Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St. S.F. (415) 863-1087.

To hear Reggie Watts’ music, go to

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