Underneath Reggie Watts’ Sideshow Bob ’fro are eyes that often open and shut when he’s singing, usually when he’s belting out a fetching falsetto or some other visceral groove. But it’s also possible that he’s just not very good at winking.
Indeed, nothing is to be taken at face value when the multi-discipline entertainer holds court. Like in his music video for “F*ck Sh*t Stack,” in which Watts pokes fun at some of rap’s more clichéd conceits, and applies a car polish buffer to the token demimonde dancer in between sprees of nonsensical cursing. Likewise, a live Watts show should be approached with the same caution exercised with surrealists such as Flight of the Conchords and comedic-musical forefathers Spinal Tap. That is, expect the absurdity of showbiz amplified.
Of course, there’s nothing funny about Watts’ musical skills. Dude’s got range, a producer’s way around a soundboard and a mixed bag of genres to parody and pay homage to: hip-hop, reggae, soul, rock and, um, we’ll call it leprochaun pop. He’s also something of a multi-instrumentalist with his mouth, an accomplished beat-boxer who lays down his backing tracks right before his audience, presses the record button and loops it back over a labyrinth of other oral accoutrements.
In a day when niche and artistic focus seem to be the name of the game, Watts is boldly and proudly a medium-transient. The 39-year-old NYC-based performer counts theater and dance among his sprawling list of artistic pursuits, and his improv and sketch comedy accomplishments have gone viral. Press has been wildly favorable and fans are cultish and growing in number. His show at the Independent tonight night has been sold out for some time, so those unlucky enough to miss out will have to hope he upgrades in venue size next time around. We wouldn’t bat an eyelash at such a thing.
Check out a few more of Watts’ myriad videos: