Reggie Watts @ SummerStage in Central Park

Reggie Watts at SummerStage
with Natasha Leggero

The musical and comedic thrill ride that is Reggie Watts pulled into Central Park’s Summer Stage on Wednesday night, accompanied by his opener, the lovely and petite Natasha Leggero. Ms. Leggero, who is known for his judging on last season’s Last Comic Standing (as well as hosting That 70’s House a few years back), is from the same mold as Chelsea Handler and Whitney Cummings. She’s small, she’s full of energy, and likes to make fun of Paris, Britney, and Kim – but then again, who doesn’t. She should probably have a fake-reality show that mimics one of those three aforementioned starlets. She’s also a feisty comedian, spending much of her time running around the stage and dancing. She reminds me a bit of former SNL star Cheri Oteri, except more crass. To close out she invited up three nice Jewish boys to beatbox while she danced, which you can get away with when you’re small and in a dress.

Now on to Mr. Watts. Reggie Watts is a unique individual. He’s a bit like Robin Williams in his ‘Mork’ days mixed with ?uestlove’s haircut and DJ Danger Mouse’s mixing skills. There are many components to a Reggie Watt’s show, and yet he transitions smoothly from one bit to the next. Admittedly, I had only heard about Reggie Watts during his tour with Conan O’Brien last year. I had seen his ‘Why is Shit So Crazy’ concert film, so I knew what his deal was, but he always has a surprise in store. The first surprise, for me, was that I finally heard his real voice. Mr. Watts has a tendency to do shows in every voice he can mimic but his own. He will come out and talk like a 70’s funk soul band leader, or a British statesman, or a Rastafari, or even a member of The Force. His act is that eclectic, you’re not really waiting for anything because you don’t know what you’re waiting for.

He came out on stage and then discussed the beauty of New York and its surrounding boroughs, and then transitioned to a song about fucking. While it seems that a portion of his humor is derived from the site of a chubby guy in suspenders and an Afro pouncing around the stage doing funny dances, it is effective humor. He’s a harmless and creative comic. He’s not out to offend anyone, and honestly I don’t know that he could if he tried. His set is built on going from one random thing to the next, and the beauty is he doesn’t care if you’re with him or not. Many people are amused just by the site of him doing what he does, rather than how hilarious it is. The more complex part of his act is the music. He uses a loop medal to both beat box and get a rhythm established before he begins his rap. While loop pedals are common in music, they are not common in comedy, and the fact that he uses it so well during his show is a testament to his immense talent. He very well could pass for a long lost member of Parliament Funkadelic.

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