Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Matt Oliver, Mastered by Sam Patlove
The titles of Reggie Watts lone record is, "Why Shit So Crazy?" and, if we really wanted to, we could amend it so that it addressed the root of the situation. We could ask, "Why is Reggie Watts so crazy?" If we were to do such an easy, yet foolish thing, we'd be undermining the truth of the New York-dwelling comedian. He's not crazy, really, but he's gotten that way, sorta, because of all that crazy ass shit that he finds himself needled by, constantly. Oh, he does seem crazy - with that bush of a hairdo, that one long, red (of whichever color) pinkie fingernail and the ability to deconstruct society and people in a matter of a few frazzled seconds, in the heat of the moment, when his loops are looping and paying customers are staring at his every move - but he's probably thinking as clearly, rationally and with a higher level intellect than twenty of us - combined - could do over the course of a month. Watts, with what come off as the rolling rambles of his immediate mind, is able to mash together a thesis, or thousands of little, but equally enthralling and provocative theses that bring into the thoughts all kinds of sharp wisdom and odd man particles. It is new thought and it is often strange, but still based in his earnest concerns of goodness, making the world better, not being stressed out about the bullshit that most people spend their whole lives dying over and some genius-level diagnosis of what ails us - or, that is, what we let ail us. Most of his impromptu songs and comedy bits are so good and filled with such raw and impressive insight and consideration that you have a hard time believing that there haven't been years and years of rewrites, tightening and shaping. They are arbitrary, yet meticulous and exact. They get to the heart of his ideas in original and bizarre ways.
As hard as it is to believe, the bulk of the four tracks that he recorded here, at Big Orange in Austin, didn't exist before he stepped through the door and plugged his gear in. What he created here, is a combination of Bill Cosby witticisms and observations, David Sedaris sarcasm and TV On The Radio musicality. It's routinely unbelievable, the smart takes and the playing around with our deeply set programming, preying on our chief vulnerabilities of being consumed and worried about the wrong things and our naiveté. In one piece, he self-pans himself to make a conversation between two people, one of whom is explaining what it means to party. He talks again about partying, using the voice and reverb of a preacher orating from the pulpit on "Retaliation Under Duress," delivering this monologue, "And so it's said, my brethren, 'Without contempt, we have nothing.' Please be seated. Now, at this time, more than any other time, is a time for getting down. Many people are not into this lifestyle choice, but they will learn otherwise…Do you believe in everything you've ever heard. We bet you do." He sums everything up there - our tired thoughts and worn our brows, all the beatings and things that we lose our sleep over. It could just be that we need more partying or we need more people to explain to those who have never heard about partying or getting down, what those things are.