Trying to describe Reggie Watts is a bit like trying to explain the majesty of the Aurora Borealis. But I'll try. Draw a triangle and label the points as comedian, musician and bandleader. Then place a point outside that triangle and label it actor. Finally, sketch a circle through the triangle and name it beatboxer. Somewhere between all those points or outside them is Watts.
You might know him from his 2016 Netflix special Reggie Watts: Spatial, his time on the podcast Comedy Bang! Bang! or from the The Late Late Show with James Corden. Now he has his own app that has one of the most amazing names: WattsApp by Reggie Watts.
"I wanted to have a place that people who enjoy what I do can go to and they're not being tracked and there's no advertising," Watts said. "I just wanted it to be like a cool space for people to go to. It's like my own multimedia channel. I'm certainly not the first to do this. But my thing is to offer as much transparency and clarity when it comes to being an artist. An artist's responsibility is to be in control over the tools they use and the experiences that they provide."
The content on WattsApp by Reggie Watts is as varied as Watts. One of the first times I used it, I watched a sit down video interview with musician Jack White filmed indoors entirely by drones. There are also live performances by Watts and a shop where he sells off his old tech. Watts is a passionate early adopter when it comes to new gadgets and products.
"I'm always interested in, 'there's this new technology with this headphone. So, let me try these headphones. They're supposed to do this and they're designed this way.' [My interest] runs pretty much along the lines of computer technology, music technology effects, cameras, video cameras, routers, any pretty much anything interconnected," Watts said. "And so, I buy a lot of stuff. And then it piles up. When the app came along, I was like, 'oh man, it'd be so cool to have a store that way I could just get rid of all my old electronics.' And that's really where it came from."
During our conversation, Watts opens up about his love/hate relationship with technology, his obsession with optimization, growing up in Montana and his relationship with James Corden.
I should note that this interview was recorded at the beginning of July.
Listen to my entire conversation with Watts on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. WattsApp by Reggie Watts is currently available to download from the App store for free and will be available soon on Android. You can subscribe to I'm So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about work, career and current obsessions.