CONCERT RECAP: Reggie Watts @ The Independent, SF 6/1/12

Written by Jackson Haddad

“Where My Scarecrows At?”

Through the ages we’ve always enjoyed to laugh at entertainers. From court jesters to Vaudeville acts; from one-man bands to radio personalities, we’ve eagerly fed on the spontaneous charm and wit of a true performer. A real ham. A lion of industry. A comedic gem.

Reggie Watts is all of these and more. He deftly blends multiple types of improv comedy, wicked beat box mastery, lyrical freestyling at its finest, physical comedy, and general havoc that continually broaches the genius level. I’ve seen Mr. Watts multiple times in several different venues and I’ve never seen the same show twice. And it’s clear he’s making it up as he goes along. To watch Reggie Watts is to stand witness to an unending stream of consciousness set to dirty, whomped-out, dub-step grooves. He chirps and grunts and makes strange bubbling fizz noises. He can mimic the stylings of Rastas, British news reporters, Southern white rednecks, deep baritone R&B crooners, Dickensian narrators, molecular biologists: you name it and Reggie will become it on stage. And as he weaves in and out of narratives, spontaneous hip hop songs, and hilariously awkward sketches, he’s also shaking and wiggling his bulky body and enormous afro.

Reggie did a solid 80 minutes with only one or two brief lulls during the set. He seemed to be showing off more of his freestyling talents than I’d seen before. There was less of his verbal meanderings and more songs. All of the beats he crafted were fantastic. The themes he sang about were obviously random idea that had just popped in his head. The most successful song was about scarecrows. “Where my scarecrows at? Where my square crows at? Where my Cuervo hats?” Inane babble, or clever punnery?

Reggie Watts makes you want to see him again and again. He bombards you with so much creative energy and interesting tangents that you can’t possibly retain all of it. And you can’t stop laughing either. My mouth stayed open the entire set as I watched, in awe, one spontaneous outburst after another. I’d partaken in several attitude adjustments during the show and as the lights came up after the encore I looked into the empty Kettle & Soda in my hand wishing there was something left to whet my pallet. I needed another drink after that.

If you have a chance to see Reggie Watts I wholeheartedly recommend it. In the same vein of logic as never turning down a free lunch, Don’t pass up an opportunity to watch a true master create comedy that leaves you with cotton-mouth and a humbling awareness that you could never, in a million years, do what he does.