Performance artist Reggie Watts defies easy classification with his unpredictable blend of stand-up comedy and hip-hop born of live loops from a very versatile voice box. He is often seen wearing sweaters that also beguile with garish designs and colors. We got Watts on the phone to talk about some of his more memorable sweaters and where they come from.
Where do you get your sweaters?
Most of them wardrobe people give me from photo shoots and television performances.
Is there one sweater in particular that seems to get the most attention?
There’s this golfing sweater that I have that people always freak out about. It looks like an 8-bit video game golfer.
Was that one given to you?
I’ve tried to rack my brain and I can’t remember where it came from—maybe I got it at a thrift store a long time ago, but I don’t know. I also can’t remember how long I’ve had it. It kind of naturally appeared in my drawer
The golf sweater in action on Conan
How many sweaters are in that drawer?
I probably have like 10 sweaters, but I usually only bring two sweaters on tour because I never check baggage. I wear the same stuff on and off stage and I like the idea of wearing the same thing for a lot of different performances. It becomes like a uniform and has a cartoon aspect—Shaggy always had a green t-shirt and brown pants.
What are the criteria for a Reggie Watts sweater?
It has to be a shitty sweater. Terrible in a really interesting way. It also has to generally fit over my body and have arms that aren’t too short.
And most of them come from wardrobe people?
Yeah. I have this Navaho sweater that the wardrobe guy for Conan got me. I also have this thick wool sweater with a German eagle that I think came from a Playboy shoot. And there’s my wolf sweater [pictured above], which looks like a velvet painting. That also came from Playboy. The wardrobe people have come up with some amazing shit. On occasion I will go shopping for sweaters, but rarely do I find one on my own.
Is it always just sweaters, or do you ever throw a hoodie in the mix?
I don’t mind hoodies. I have a black one that I wear made from merino wool. All my t-shirts are made from merino wool, too, because I can sweat in them and stay dry. I have a costume designer named Kelly Bogan—she’s a genius. We’ve talked about her making me some clothes from merino wool.
Watts’ A Live At Central Park CD/DVD is out now on Comedy Central Records, and he can also be seen on Comedy Bang! Bang! airing on IFC Thursday, June 8.