Reginald Lucien Frank Roger "Reggie" Watts is an American comedian and musician. Watts's improvised musical sets are created using only his voice, a keyboard and a looping machine. An avowed "disinformationist," Watts frequently disorients his audiences. He performs regularly on television, radio, and in live theater. His comic skills are seen in his improvisational performance, as well as his written music. Watts appears on the IFC television series Comedy Bang! Bang! which began airing on June 8, 2012 and was renewed for a third season which premiered in 2014.
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Hey guys! I'm the future bandleader of The Late Late Show on CBS this March. But I'm still totally in love with Scott Aukerman and CBB. I enjoy healthy versions of things that are bad for you. And I'm a Montanan. And I really love innovative, locally-sourced, technical fabrics.
I'm in Montana. Victoria's helping me out over the phone in New York. AMA!
Update Thanks everybody for all the awesome questions. Sorry I couldn't get to everybody. But I plan on doing this a lot more regularly and awesome, because you guys are great and I love your questions.
Deal with that!
What was the inspiration behind "Fuck Shit Stack"?
It was a response to all of the dumb pop / hip-hop videos that never seemed to get any better, or responsible.
Reggie, why is shit so crazy?
Because no one will stop picking sides and fighting wars.
Was it difficult driving to the Earwolf Studio just to sing the CBB theme song before every show?
It's never too difficult to do something so important as that.
Reggie, you always seem to be playing it cool but what's something you do that you dislike about yourself?
Yes. I'm an emotional eater. And I don't like that.
What was it like performing at Madison Square Garden with LCD Soundsystem?
One of the best experiences of my life. It was a huge honor to be a part of what I think is one of the greatest bands of the century.
Indica or Sativa?
Sativa. For sure.
Were you close at all with Harris Wittels?
I loved him on the CBB podcast and his brilliant writing work. He will surely be missed.
Yeah, I only met him a few times, but I had a really great time with him. He was very easy to be with. And just had a beautiful, subtle, casual, comedic mind. I'll miss him.
How do you know if you're fucking?
It's something that you feel.
No one can teach you.
Are you going to train Kid Cudi on how to be Scott's best friend and cohost?
But only as he needs.
Because he is a Cudi, after all.
Favorite food to eat when you emotional?
Hey Reggie! Love your stuff.
How much of the looped stuff you do at talks/gigs is improvised?
All of it.
I met you at the Apple Store in the Beverly Center, and you said you'd teach me how to use the Line 6 Delay pedal. Okay, you didn't, but could you teach me or point me in the right direction of utilizing it to the best of its abilities?
Yeah. Never deviate from the 6 o'clock position on the leftmost mode-dial.
a particular chain/type?
I actually like eating at a small, local fast food joint. Like Ford's Drive-In in Great Falls, Montana.
Reggie, you are a beautiful human person and a wonderful talent.
Do you like any comics or picture books? If so, do you have any favourites?
I haven't really been on the comic scene for a while. But I would say Lale Westvind is a pretty incredible outsider comic / talent.
How does it feel to be departing Comedy Bang Bang and moving on to the Late Late Show? (I know I am going to love Kid Cudi, but as of now, I am having a hard time imagining CBB without you!)
It's a very uncertain future, and it feels a little strange. But I believe that this change will be good, because we've had so many teachers of Scott & I already, so this will be a good new chemical direction.
Did you get to meet Bill Nye when you did this?
No, actually. It was a separate module, filmed at its own location. So I never did. Which I regret.
least favorite dinosaur?
I would say pterodactyls. Because they never existed. I think they got reclassified.
How much would it cost to get you to record me a 1-minute intro theme a la CBB and Harris' Phone Corner?
It would cost you... $2.36.
Reggie, I'm in Portland, and I've become a huge fan of yours over the last couple years. How can I see you perform live? I can never find any tour dates or anything.
I'm working on making my site better, but usually there are dates announced on Twitter, and apparently on Facebook (at times). https://www.facebook.com/reggie.watts
Hey Reggie! Ex-Montanan, current Seattleite here. Did you grow up knowing you'd leave Montana or did you ever think you'd be a lifer?
I always knew I was going to leave Montana. But I also knew that I would return to Montana.
Reggie, I love listening to your inspiring and at times sexually gratifying mouth sounds. My question is this, can I hire you for a sensual evening of back rubs and using your hair as a personal pillow? Also, how're you today?
That could be possible, if the circumstances were right.
I'm doing pretty good, thanks for asking.
Who are your biggest comedic and musical influences?
George Carlin, Gilda Radner, Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, Gene Wilder, Eddie Murphy, John Dore, and Kate Berlant.
Hey Reggie, is there a thing you would give your 'fro for?
If someone was able to figure out free, renewable, unlimited energy for all humans to use, whenever they needed it - I would trade my hair for that.
How do you juggle work and family?
You have to build up a lot of strength. And then invest in a company that's working on advanced exo-suits.
Hey Reggie! Do you think your role on CBS will be similar to what you have been doing on Comedy Bang Bang? Are you going to have a band, or is it still just going to be you, your keyboard, and your pedals?
It'll be a little different, in that it's a real version of what I was doing on CBB, which was a fake version of the real version. So I will be doing a version of myself that is sincere, but also weird.
Yes, I'll have a 5 piece band. Drums, bass, keyboards, guitar, and myself.
What does your real voice sound like?
It sounds like a mixture of a Boston egg cream on a warm summer night, and an eagle looking for prey.
I really loved your original Legend score. Would you ever consider doing that kind of thing again? I would love to hear you score something like Akira or Blade Runner. Also, I just love you so much. Thank you for everything. I saw you at Largo last year and your prince/prints song still gets stuck in my head.
EDIT: get's? Apostrophe-S!? Get it together man!
Hahaha. Thank you for all the sweet comments and compliments. Yes, I was thinking about scoring a film again, but I was thinking about maybe scoring something like MEAN GIRLS.
You make improv music seem so effortless. Did it always come this way to you or did you have to work for it?
It came pretty easily. But I studied a lot of music, which helped.
In wake of the terrible news yesterday, would you mind sharing your best Harris Wittels story, or perhaps your favorite moment with him?
I guess my favorite moment was - well, hanging out with him on CBB was really great, and like I said before, he was really easy to hang out with, immediately. But my favorite moment that I had was honestly thinking that Scott was saying "Harris Wittel's Foam Corner" instead of "Harris Wittel's Phone Corner." So I was just imagining a corner with tons of pieces of foam, and spray-on foam, and knowing that that corner belonged to Harris.
What's your return plan? Also, how much do you love/loathe Montana winters?
Hehe. I fly into Montana usually for 4-5 days every few months to see my mom and hang out with some friends I grew up with. I love Montana winters. I love really extreme weather, and intense blizzards and snowstorms and really cold temperatures, because it's fun to know how to survive in those conditions and feel comfortable.
What is your favorite food and why is it Scott Aukerman?
Well, Scott is a lot of things. But I don't think of him as food. I think of him as a necessity for humankind.
First and foremost, I (redundantly) just wanted to thank you for being hilarious, and for doing what you do.
Will The Late Late Show's schedule still be conducive to you doing stand-up tours?
I'll still be able to do standup locally, and some gigs occasionally out of town on weekends, but not as much straight touring. But then again, I never really did that. So I don't think much will change, actually.
If I ask you to play at my wedding, would you go? I'd pay for everything. I don't even have a girlfriend yet, so take your time to think about it.
You never know what the future holds.
But I think the fact that you can see it means that it has a higher chance of actually happening.
What advice would you give to a bald man...with no hair...?
Be lucky that you don't have to work very hard at looking super badass.
What's it like to work with Jimmy Fallon?
I've only worked with James Fallon once. But I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by his authenticity.
What got you into beatboxing? Any specific inspiration, or just figuring out how to make the weirdest sounds possible on your own time?
also, Story Time:
Two summers ago I ran into you at the Nashville airport (either right before, or right after Bonnaroo). I had been a HUGE fan since Why Shit So Crazy was released (actually all the way back to What About Blowjobs, but that's a different query altogether!) -- it wasn't exactly hard to pick you out of the crowd, but I hollered at you with a wave and with a big smile you came over to say hey.
I know you were in a hurry, but you stayed to chat with me and my Grammy (who I was rolling through the terminal in her wheelchair). You even waited patiently so we could flag down a stranger to snap a picture. Grammy was somewhat perplexed anout why I was so excited to meet my favorite beatboxing surrealist (this label hardly does you justice) -- but she did comment on what a polite young fella you were!
Im sure everyone else can ask more poignant questions than myself -- but I just wanted to share the story! I couldn't make it down to the OddBall festival in ATL so I hope we'll get you back in Nashville soon.
I was inspired greatly by Michael Winslow, from POLICE ACADEMY, and beatboxing in general from the early 80's. And I loved mimicking weird sounds, and making new sounds. So it was a combination of culture, and the need to actually make weird sounds.
Awww. That is incredibly sweet. Yeah, well, if someone's willing to take time to say something nice about you, then you should take time back to listen to what they have to say.
Who's your favorite member of animal collective?
I would say: the elk.
In light of Heidegger's recently released personal notes, should we even teach Being and Time anymore?
I think we're going to be dealing with being, and time, and the awareness of being able to discuss being and time, for as long as we're aware.
The song (and music video) you did with Flight Facilities is awesome! And that Kid Cudi vid makes me happy. Any plans for more groovy music releases or collaborations? I guess what I'm saying is I want an album and more music and videos of you dancing and now I sound like a stalker...
First of all, that's an amazing comment / question.
Secondly, yes, there will be a lot more stuff coming out in the future. Now that I'll be in LA, I'll have a lot of time to make more things to put up online.
Reggie, I have a vinyl pressing of your recording from Third Man Live. I managed to get the last one in stock on amazon. It's one of my most prized possessions.
My question is, what was it like working with Jack White?
Jack White is an amazingly mysterious yet playful person. He was just an amazing host, and a really amazing resource for musical history.
Could you elaborate your autotune comment on Twitter? Is it never a tool for expression or did you mean it's always a mask for terrible vocals?
I mean to say that autotune was created as a tool for the studio. To make corrections to various vocal takes. But since Cher, it came into the mainstream as a vocal effect. However, the effect is so overwhelming that it puts me into doubt as to whether the person or the performer using it is a good singer or not. And I think it's more important to be able to hear an actually talented voice than an effect that hides any of that value.
What's your go to munchie?
Go-to munchie, wow!
When you come to the UK in April will you be doing any sightseeing? Judging by your calming vines I would say there's a lot of the country you would enjoy :)
Also, thank you for that Ted talk you did, it was wonderful to watch.
Wow, that's very sweet.
I hope to do some sightseeing. But I have a feeling it'll be a quick trip. So I will do my best to experience as much as I can.
Do you plan on working with Scott Aukermam on anything else in the future? You guys make a really great team on CBB. I'd love to see you get back together despite you leaving the show.
Also you should call him Todd Soccermom on an episode of CBB.
Yeah! I keep telling Scott we need to make a movie.
I get the feeling that you're pretty well-read/wise. Who are your biggest intellectual influences?
Also, you're great! I've enjoyed everything I've seen you do! Thanks for keeping it interesting.
Thank you and thank you. I haven't read a book since 1998. BUT I do read a lot of research and articles, and listen to people, and absorb as much as I can from everything around me, wherever I go.
Reggie, back when you were arranging the music for 'Louie', were there ever live-drums on any of the recordings? If so, who was the drummer who played on them?
The drummer who played on them is Matt Kilmer. And he went on to become the music director for seasons 2-now. He's amazing and I couldn't've made that music without him and his band.
Hello Reggie, thank you for doing this ama, I'm a big fan.
My question to you is, what is in your opinion the perfect sandwich?
Probably... a lettuce-wrapped turkey burger, free range turkey burger, made with Kore Kitchen's special mustard, ketchup, and mayo.
Would you put your hand in my cookie Jar ;)??????
Absolutely. But I would do it very carefully.
Is there a good chance of seeing you getting strange n' funky on a TED stage in the future?
I certainly hope so. I love the audience at TED. They're a very interesting crew of people.
Really loved some of your work with Soulive and the boys at Royal Family Records. Any chance you'll be working with them again?
I just jammed with Eric the other day, but who knows? No plans, but they're still part of the family, so anything's possible.
Reggie! You are by far my favorite comic and live performer of all time. We met in Denver one time, I think it was me, my 2 friends and 4 other people at the show. Here is a picture of us:http://imgur.com/GSlL5nj
My question: What is up with the long painted finger nail? You always seem to have it.
Please keep doing what you are doing. I love it!
Oh, and good luck on your new show, I have a feeling it is the beginning of some big things for you.
Thanks for the well-wishes. The painted nail is just a hobby, really, that I've had since I was a teenager, that I kinda stole from Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller.
Reggie, love your stuff, seen you a few times, including opening for Conan in Eugene OR.
Will you (or did you?) ever do a real track of "Big Ass Purse"? That has got to be one of the funniest things I've ever heard of yours and the only recording I have is from my shitty phone in the audience.
Keep on rocking the sick 'fro.
Ha! Yes, there is a version that I did for the Conan writer's show maybe 4 years ago, or something like that. So you can check out that version. I never recorded it, formally.
Do you have or have you had a pet(s)? If so, what animal(s) and what is/was its name?
I haven't had a pet since 1990. But I did have a parakeet, named "Beaky."
Heyo, I know you're a pretty good pianist, structurally at least. What are some of you biggest influences musically? (Jazz,soul,funk,rnb influences primarily)
All of those that you mentioned. But also: synth pop from the 80's, pretty much all electronic music genres... and top 40 ballads and pop songs.
Whatchu mean healthy bad? Gluten free donuts? Black bean burgers? De La Soul?
You mean like Xevia? Or synthetic alcohol? These German guys were working on it a few years ago, but I don't know what happened to it. Because in STAR TREK, they have something called "synthahol," or maybe NEXT GENERATION, and I was mentioning that because I don't like alcohol, it tastes like poison to me, and it sounded like something really cool - "synthetic alcohol" somehow would make it biologically more safe.
But I meant like Xenia soda, or raw Cacao treats, a raw Cacao truffle, or Kombucha instead of beer, hehe.
Please define nnovative, locally-sourced, technical fabrics. What is that? (very intrigued to know).
They are technically-created and engineered fabrics, made from the inspiration that nature provides. Such as new school hiking pants, or breathable waterproof shells.
How much of your success do you attribute to the amazing growth rate of the hair on your head/face? Also, at what point do you get it cut/trimmed if ever?
I would assign 21% of my success to my hair. And never.
What was your style when you first started doing live/public performances? I feel like people's initial reactions had to be interesting
Very similar to the style I have now, just a little bit more uncertain (if you could imagine).
Hey Reggie! I recently got a littlebits Korg synth. Aside from being a spokesperson, did you have any input in the product? Also, any tips for getting good sounds out of it?
I messed with them for a little while, and promoted them because I think they're great for learning how synthesis works, but I don't use them in my performances. I would say just look at something like the OP1 by Teenage Engineering.