Reggie Watts is a…unique guy. There’s his coif, the most prodigious afro in comedy. There’s his odd mix of improvised, looping music, standup comedy, beatboxing, and bizarre character work, which the former Seattleite and current Brooklynite will bring to Bumbershoot this Labor Day. And then there’s his voicemail greeting: “If you’re a jive turkey or someone who cares about the environment, please leave a message. Remember, only you can prevent forest fires.” Basically, he defies conventional adjectives.
Your voicemail greeting is the most Reggie Watts–ian voicemail greeting imaginable.
Nice. I need to change that one. I’ve had it for about three years.
How much of your live show is improvised?
It’s definitely all improvised. Whatever happens, happens.
Now that more people are prepared for your unusual style onstage, do you have to switch things up to keep them on their toes?
A little bit, but ultimately the performance doesn’t change.
Did you go to Bumbershoot a lot when you lived in Seattle?
Yeah. I mean, I performed it a lot, but I didn’t really go unless I was performing.
Comedians always rave about Bumbershoot being a great festival for hanging out.
It’s pretty cool because it’s a large-scale festival that’s right downtown in a really cool city. It’s nice because you get the best of both worlds: the world that is Seattle and this festival where you get to wander around these massive grounds and see different stages. And yet, you can step out and go up to Capitol Hill and have dinner at Oddfellows.
What places do you always try to hit when you come back?
Sometimes Caffe Vita. Or Cafe Flora—that’s an old staple. Hopefully the girl I’m seeing is going to come with me this next trip, so I look forward to driving her around and showing her all the places that I existed.
Do you have bad hair days?
Well, if I don’t wash it for a long time I can have a bad hair day. It happens to anybody who doesn’t wash their hair. After a while you start to go crazy.
Published: August 2013