An arts profile for The Courier-Mail. Excerpt below.
BEFORE American performer Reggie Watts even opens his mouth, you can’t help but form preconceptions.
Watts is keenly aware of this, which is why he does his best to challenge those who try to pigeonhole him based on his appearance, performance style or surroundings.
Watts’ act is unique; a compelling fusion of comedy, music, vocal prowess and impressionism, all delivered at a whirlwind pace.
“I like it when people are laughing hard,” Watts says, “but I also like it when audiences are confused.”
During his well-attended appearance at the Brisbane Powerhouse in May 2009, a bound-and-gagged Spiderman struggled to break free from his bonds throughout his set; he succeeded during the encore break, to wild cheers from the crowd.
Watts made no reference to the character throughout his act.
“It’s good to have things happening ambiently in the background,” he laughs when reminded of that night.
Much of Watts’ act is improvised. While he has a handful of snippets he can bring into the set at any time, for the most part he prefers to make it up as he goes along.
His inspiration comes from driving around and absorbing the sights and sounds of the city, or listening to his driver, who most likely will be local.
“He’s driving me around and telling me stuff about the city. A lot of this stuff will show up in the show,” Watts says. “I don’t really write down notes. I experience something, find a funny thing about it, and then log it.”
If it’s funny – or important – enough, Watts trusts that his memory won’t fail him while he’s on stage.