afropunk exclusive: reggie watts on james corden gig, bonnaroo festival + the television show he can’t get enough of

May 5, 2015

Internationally acclaimed comic and musician, Reggie Watts, is known for his wickedly entertaining shows. The artist consistently takes his audience on a rollercoaster ride that’s riddled with funny accents and astute quips that sometimes leave those on the receiving end in deep thought. Then there are his beat boxing and looping skills—it’s, well, pure genius. The performer is set to take the stage at this year’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts festival in June, a gathering that hosts an average of 80,000 festival goers each year. When asked what fans should expect at his upcoming Bonnaroo performance, the artist replied in typical Reggie fashion: “Expect the unexpected; hopefully the unexpected will be entertaining.” We caught up with the busy AFROPUNK alumni, where we learned about what makes the funnyman laugh and how he unwinds when not on the move.

By Andrea Dwyer, AFROPUNK Contributor



Andrea: I appreciate you taking the time to chat. First off, congrats on the new gig as bandleader for the “Late Late Show with James Corden.”


Reggie Watts: Oh, thank you.


Andrea: You and James seem to have great chemistry. Were you guys on friendly terms prior to getting the post?


Reggie Watts: No, not really. James contacted me, I think in September. We sat down and had a meeting about the show. He basically outlined his vision and what he thought the show could be. We further discussed my involvement with the show and I really dug his ideas. I liked where he was coming from; his vision—so I just went with it.


Andrea: How has the overall experience on the show been?


Reggie Watts: It’s been good. I work with a cool crew of people. It’s been great collaborating with the producers…they’re now getting used to my language and how I go about doing things. It’s all a work in progress but most of all, I really respect the show runners.


Andrea: There’s a part of the show where you ask random yet cerebral type questions to celebrity guests. Do you normally try to come up with the questions prior to taping or are we seeing impromptu genius at play?


Reggie Watts: [Laughs]. I don’t know about genius. Yeah, I usually come up with the questions in the moment. On rare occasion, like during the show, I might think of a question, but I mostly just go for it when he asks [James Corden].



 Andrea: What have you been up to besides the show?


Reggie Watts: Gosh, that’s a good question [in foreign accent]. I’ve been into all sorts of things like golfing and driving sports cars. No, I guess I’ve just been trying to organize my life in a way that works well. What I mean by this is, I’m just trying to find a routine to my schedule, especially while moving through different cities. Yeah, I guess that’s mainly it.


Andrea: You’re set to perform at this year’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in June. You’ve performed there in years past. What should fans expect this time around?


Reggie Watts: Ahh, I have no idea. Expect the unexpected—hopefully the unexpected will be entertaining.


Andrea: Folks tend to get wild at festivals. Do you have an outrageous or funny story about your time at Bonnaroo?


Reggie Watts: I’ve been asked this question before and I can’t think of something outrageous that happened. I do remember though, while on tour with Conan O’Brien, sort of pleading with the guys so I could stay for Stevie Wonder’s set. We had like three tour buses and had to stick to a tight schedule but I convinced them and we got to see Stevie for four songs; it was absolutely amazing.


Andrea: So you’re a big Stevie fan.


Reggie Watts: Yeah, I mean, who isn’t.


Andrea: True. I’m most definitely coming through to see your show. My schedule is jam packed but what other comedic acts should I make time for?


Reggie Watts: Let’s see. Nick Thune is great. Natasha Leggero is awesome.


Andrea: Yeah, I like her a lot.


Reggie Watts: Check out Ron Funches. Moshe Kasher is fucking amazing. Kurt Braunohler is a great abstract comedian. Cameron Esposito is also really great as well as Michelle Wolf. Michelle will be my opening act at my first show and Mark Norm for my second.



Andrea: And as far as musical acts. Who are you excited to see?

Reggie Watts: Gosh, I don’t even know who’s performing.

Andrea: Let’s see. Kendrick will be there, D’Angelo….

Reggie Watts: I’m definitely interested in checking Kendrick out.

Andrea: Lastly, what was the last thing that made you laugh hysterically?

Reggie Watts: Ohh man, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidth.” It’s a show on Netflix. It’s so smart and so funny—it’s crazy how good it is. Yeah, I was losing it—they say some pretty off the wall things. It’s about four girls who are in an apocalyptic cult. They were living underground for a few decades and they got rescued. It’s basically about how they assimilate back into society. It’s so good!

Thank you, Reggie!


Reggie is set to perform Sunday, June 14 at the Comedy Theatre at 1 and 2:25 p.m.


Andrea Dwyer is a freelance writer based in Atlanta. She’s a writer at Superselected and you can follow her on Twitter @musingandrea.