And the Beat Goes On

I Met Him Through A Mutual Friend

It had always been my dream to attend a live taping of a Conan O’Brien show. I’ve been a fan of his beady eyes, Elvis-like pompadour, quirky but sweet personality and gangly limbs since I started catching episodes of Late Late Night With Conan O’Brien back in college. I was outraged for him when I found out how NBC and Jay Leno royally screwed him over and in support of one of our comedic heroes, KFK and I had gone to see Conan’s “Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour” last month.

But the point of this post (besides putting in my two cents of how much I love Conan) is to talk about the enigmatic figure of comedy, Reggie Watts, who’s opening Conan’s shows. He was captivating ’til the end. From the moment he stepped foot on stage, I was confused, amused and thoroughly entertained.

High Wattage

First of all, there’s that giant ‘fro he has for a head. If anyone knows me and my weird fascination with questlove’s afro, you would understand. If there was anything to cure my ADD, it would be a giant afro-mobile hovering next to my desk at work.

Then, there were the accents. By the end of his time slot, he had done maybe about 5 or 6 different impersonations and I couldn’t figure out which one was really his!

Then there were the skillz. Ohhhh, the skillz! I got mad love for the skillz. The whole point of this post is to showcase the man’s skillz. As an artist, Watts demonstrates comedy from different lenses. Like Ill Doctrine, he combines spoken word, humor and music to comment on socially conscious issues and life in general. By confusing the audience with his appearance and impersonations, he draws us in, taking us on this literal journey of exploration and then coming to the point of each performance together.

An Emcee in Unlikely Places

In his opening show, Watts sang a lot of parodies. The clip below is like an actual music video commenting on the ridiculousness of hip-hop today from the excessive use of cuss words to the pervasive portrayals of women as objects to the fact that it’s all nonsense with a beat.

Like I said, the man got skillz. KFK made the sad observation that Watts’ flow is actually better than most mainstream rappers out there. Along with the belief that hip-hop is dead, there is the mourning of the emcee. They’re almost completely extinct in mainstream radio which might actually be a good thing. Keeping them confined to the underground/independent hip-hop realm might actually preserve their existence.

Anyway, I’m keeping an eye out for any tours Watts might be embarking upon after the Conan tour wraps up. More to be announced…!


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