Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Under the Radar - "Transition"

Photo/Noah Kalina

Reggie Watts is a bullshit artist, but a serious one. His deadpan act deconstructs both sound and comedy: imagine a hip-hop Andy Kaufman and you'll still be confused. Just know that Watts's entertainment comes first; the incidental laughs spray like shrapnel. Also, know that Watts gets away with it. The solipsism fades in front of an audience, especially a downtown crowd, and if his performance sometimes seems the equivalent of a precocious child taping a private radio program in front of a mirror, he at least has the voice of a DJ and the technical skills of a sound engineer. His rambling spans octaves and his nonsense comes in raps that sample his own looped beatboxing.

Transition isn't any different from last year's Disinformation: it's just another chance for Watts to screw with our orderly expectations. (It says a lot that I'm still not sure whether or not there were actually "technical difficulties" delaying the show.) Is he to be congratulated for saying nothing, but in an entertaining way? A bit titled "An Soliloquoy" boils words down to sounds as it makes fun of classical theater and English enunciations; so does his song about sasquatchs eating sausages in sauces with squashes. Even the provocatively inane observations--for instance, that racism unites people because it takes everyone to make it work--get lost in the insane moments.

To Watts's credit, Transition feels like a fresh retread. Then again, it's only 45 minutes long (which is about how long you'll remember it). The title implies that Reggie Watts is going somewhere; here's hoping he gets there soon.

5 comments:

Reggie said...

I hope I do too!

Reggie said...

Don't forget the title is Transition not Transitions. FYO

Reggie said...

One last thing, I liked this review! I thought it was a good mirror. I'm using parts of it in the show tomorrow if you don't mind!

Aaron Riccio said...

Sorry about the typo (x2)--consequence of being one's own editor; it's fixed. In any case, if I've got the right to come write about what I see you perform, you've certainly got the right to perform about what you see me write.

Reggie said...

Thank you.

Looking forward to The Team review.