The June 25, 2011, event at Tingley Coliseum was billed as, "A Night of Comedy: Hosted and Presented by Katt Williams," featuring AJ Johnson, Shawty Shawty and 'a special mystery guest.' Hmmm. OK. So. A couple of fan videos surfaced from the end of the night showing Katt Williams pacing around, with the house lights on, and doing push-ups, as one fan gives her running commentary. What does that prove?
Earlier, Williams was onstage with an all-female entourage and purportedly answering questions from the audience. Although this clip doesn't exactly provide the answers these audience members were seeking. Roll it.
The only thing people love making more than year-end list are decade-end lists, and some of them seem as much about generating page-views as they are about subjectively ranking things that should not be ranked. That's rank! So where are my lists? I've got something else up my sleeves for this December, but in the meantime, I thought I'd share with you the iTunes list of their choices of the 20 best comedy discs from 2009, along with my thoughts on said list.
For one thing, it's really across the board. Any list that puts Brent Weinbach side-by-side with Katt Williams is looking to appeal to all sorts. I'm not exactly sure I agree with everything on here, but then again, I haven't quite listened to all of them just yet -- there are stacks of CDs and DVDs in my apartment, and I hope to get through them all by year's end and share my own thoughts on them with you. I have listened to and reviewed eight of the iTunes 20; most of the rest are waiting in my queue, and a few I don't even have my hands on just yet? My loss or yours? Also, iTunes missed some great ones from the past year. No John Mulaney? I haven't heard Paul F. Tompkins new disc yet, but would presume it's worthy. And no ladies on the list? Not even Maria Bamford? Harumph. Here, then, are the iTunes choices from the year in comedy -- I'm not sure if they have a ranking order from iTunes, so I'll list them alphabetically:
Is Katt Williams the Tupac of stand-up comedy? Well, no. Of course not. Katt Williams is very much alive, even though he allegedly did retire at the end of 2008, and even people close to him told me recently they haven't heard much from him since said retirement. So when I learned that Williams had a "new" DVD out today, I thought, really? Turns out this new documentary, while intriguing in itself, is really a piece of work that's been around for a while, as this clip tells us that all of the footage comes from 2005 -- which is intriguing because it's essentially from when the masses really started to catch on to what he was all about. OK. Roll the clip! (Note: Contains language that is NSFW, and also ads for other things?)
Here is a more official clip from the DVD:
His own website doesn't have much news to report this year, either. But it did put up an update this summer to help sell more KW merch, in the form of an iPhone app...
Here that is!
And if you'd like to buy the DVD (I'd suggest it for big fans who want to complete a collection), here's a link:
Even though many in the comedy industry were in Montreal last week, the comedy world kept making news. Go figure. Here's what you (and by you, I mean, of course, me) might have missed:
The April 13, 2009 issue of The New Yorker, on newsstands today, has a six-page profile by Kelefa Sanneh on comedian Katt Williams. No news is broken here, but Sanneh does have behind-the-scenes interviews and descriptions of what went down last fall at the BET Hip-Hop Awards (which Williams was supposed to host up until the day of the show), as well as the New Year's Eve stand-up "showdown" with Steve Harvey in Detroit. You'll need to register online to read more than this excerpt. Sanneh provides some commentary in this short video that includes a few NSFW bits from Williams, and there's a point he made in the profile about how Williams manages to make his repeated pronunciation of certain words and phrases as funny as the actual punchline, and there is an example included among these routines about a weed dealer. Enjoy:
Not wanting to take this new video out of context, I'm not quite sure what to make of this interview Katt Williams did with "The Humor Mill," which bills itself as a newsletter that's about "the urban comic" -- just what we need, another online publication devoted to New Yorkers...am I right? Oh, wait. Urban means something different? Anyhow. Code words! Let's focus on Katt Williams, who said he was retiring from stand-up comedy at the end of what turned out to be a tumultuous 2008 for him, and talks about some beef he got into with Steve Harvey near year's end. Remember, even though Williams may have stopped touring, he still has a TV deal with Comedy Central, and his people have told me he's not done with comedy just yet. So keep that in mind when you watch this:
Also, if you call up The Humor Mill Magazine online and turn to page 30-33, you can read the interview, in which Williams says, "Me and stand-up had quite a fling." What's next for Williams? Stay tuned.
Katt Williams's 2008 special, It's Pimpin' Pimpin, makes it TV debut this coming weekend on Comedy Central (times and dates here), but the folks at Clyde Comedy have done gone and already re-imagined one of his bits, about poor lil Tink Tink trying to enter a running race, as a cartoon. Here it is (note: language is definitely NSFW):
After the jump, the live onstage version of this bit...
Katt Williams may be laying low this holiday season, both personally and professionally, which partially explains why reader/tipster Lady Di found he's starring in a movie virtually no one has heard about and, if not for the Internet, perhaps no one would. It's called Internet Dating, and it's headed straight to DVD on Dec. 30, which is odd enough, until you watch the trailer and find out that Romeo (formerly Lil Romeo) wrote the movie, papa Master P directed, and despite them having many millions of dollars at their disposal, didn't seem to spend more than a few of them on the project. Low budget? Checkity check. Reynaldo Rey also appears. Looks like an idea for an online viral video that actually caught a virus. If you shan't believe it until you see it, then watch this trailer and make a believer out of yourself:
If you have paid any attention to the comings and goings of Katt Williams this fall, you won't be surprised by the announcement this morning that Williams has cancelled his planned performance Thursday (Nov. 20) at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Williams was supposed to be one of the main attractions at this year's edition of The Comedy Festival, put on by TBS.
A statement from the fest: "The Comedy Festival, TBS, Concerts West/AEG and Caesars Palace apologize for the inconvenience that this causes ticketholders." If you have a ticket, you get an automatic refund if you paid by credit card. If you paid in cash, present your ticket where you bought it to get your money back. The fest organizers do not, however, claim responsibility for any travel expenses you may have made in conjunction with his performance.
Earlier: My coverage of Katt Williams.
Is Katt Wiliams having his Mariah Carey/Martin Lawrence moment? That's one of the first things I thought when I read this Sumter Item article that described in extensive detail what a local attorney in South Caroline said about Williams showing up in town on Friday for a family visit that turned weird, to say the least. Then again, weird has been the word for Williams of late. He missed an appearance last week on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. The next day, he spent 18 hours in jail before posting bond just in time to make his gig at Carnegie Hall. I was there. I saw him. So the first thing I thought of was my most recent encounter with Williams, which happened later that night at Carolines. For a guy who had been through the ringer, I was impressed not only that he managed to put on a show for his fans, but also wasn't completely wiped out immediately afterward. Williams spoke with several fans at the afterparty at Carolines, and when he talked to me, he seemed quite happy yet overflowing with ideas that he wanted to share. At one point, he offered to have me come to his place in New Jersey for an interview in the early morning (which was only a few hours away) and also seemed ready to offer me a job. But I agreed with his publicist, Yvette Shearer, that we should let Williams take a breather before pursuing that further. So I thought about that night when I read the South Carolina paper's lengthy list of Williams' bizzare behavior. I also thought about how our Civil War began at Fort Sumter, but only for a second. And I thought, too, about how exhaustion and stress have forced stars such as Martin Lawrence and Mariah Carey into similar corners.
Shearer sent me this official statement today:
Following an arduous 300 shows and an 18-month touring schedule that left him incredibly fatigued, Katt felt compelled to be with his family in an effort to deal with his stress. While doing so, he is under a doctor's care.
As this is a private and personal matter, we hope the media will respect his family's request for privacy.
No mention made of whether Katt Williams will make his next big gig, Nov. 20, at The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas, where Williams is pegged to play the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Since they didn't mention any canceled dates, I suspect he'll be there. And I expect it to be quite a show.
UPDATED: I'm now hearing that Katt might, in fact, cancel his Vegas date. So stay tuned.
So, that happened. What a weird, wild 30 hours for Katt Williams in New York City last week. It began on Wednesday afternoon, when NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien taped its show and never heard from Williams, a scheduled guest for that night's program. His people told me the next day that Williams, traveling by tour bus, simply got stuck in traffic and never made it into Manhattan in time.
Williams and his entourage did arrive later that night, and sometime in the 2 a.m. hour, NYPD searched a car (allegedly lacking a license plate) traveling with said tour bus, found a handgun in the car, and arrested the entire entourage, including Williams. A source close to Williams tried to assure me that he had been detained on charges of "Pimpin." Ha! Either way, the comedian didn't make bail until 18 hours later, and hurried over to Carnegie Hall, arriving at 8:36 p.m. Considering his stand-up concert was supposed to start at 8 p.m., theater staff and the New York Comedy Festival people were more than a bit anxious awaiting his arrival, and started the show late, plus had opener Wil Sylvince pad his time onstage. Williams emerged to applause at 9:09 p.m. and promptly filled us all in on at least some of the details. He first asked for patience. "I just got out of jail 35 minutes ago," he said. "I had 15 n!&&ers with me. They took us all in!" He also quipped that he didn't rush over just to cash a paycheck, as he'd been paid in advance. After a few more thoughts about the discomforts of incarceration, Williams launched into his regularly scheduled routines, talking about what Barack Obama's presidency means to black Americans, a lengthy historical retrospective on the pilgrims, the great American melting pot, and the beginnings of slavery. If blacks had begged for reparations before, Williams wasn't asking on this night. "This week was the greatest gift you ever gave us, period," he said. He also took a few moments to discuss his dislike of Sarah Palin, and after delivering an hour of material, Williams closed with another five minutes of rapping. Very impressive stuff for a guy who had not gotten a wink of sleep the entire day and barely a minute to decompress from 18 hours in jail! Even Chris Rock, in attendance, was smiling as he left Carnegie Hall. After the show, Williams seemed to be in good spirits as he wound down a very eventful day and night with other comedians at the festival's official afterparty at Carolines.
If any publicity is good publicity, then this is as good a time as any to remind you that Williams has a new DVD out on Tuesday, It's Pimpin', Pimpin'.
And here's a clip:
DEVELOPING...Katt Williams has resurfaced after missing Conan last night, sneaking in the back door of Carnegie Hall at 8:36 pm Thursday night. Opener Wil Sylvince still killing time, but Williams about to take the stage. It's 9:08 as Katt appears.Full report to come. "I just got out of jail 35 minutes ago," Katt tells the crowd to a roar.
Anyone who doubted whether TBS could or would pull together a full slate of A-level comedy talent for its first edition of The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas without HBO as a partner, well doubt no more. Over the weekend, TBS unveiled its first look at the official schedule for Nov. 20-22 at Caesars Palace, which includes Ellen DeGeneres, Jerry Seinfeld, Dane Cook, Katt Williams, Jim Breuer, Kids in the Hall, Russell Peters, Jim Norton, a roast of Cheech and Chong, David Alan Grier, Jeff Dunham, Laffapalooza hosted by Tracy Morgan, Andrew Dice Clay, Mike Epps, John Oliver, and Caliente Comedy with Gabriel Iglesias, Pablo Francisco and Anjelah Johnson. The network also says it'll have 25 up-and-coming stand-up and sketch acts performing in a separate LOL Lounge. Full sked after the jump!
The New York Comedy Festival today announced it has entered a multi-year partnership deal with Comedy Central, which means Caroline Hirsch's annual celebration of big-name comedy in the Big Apple now will get a bigger TV presence. The deal includes an annual Comedy Central special, and perhaps more. So the fifth New York Comedy Festival, running Nov. 5-9, 2008, in varied venues around Manhattan, unveils this early lineup:
11/5: Frank Caliendo, Carnegie Hall
11/5: “We Have a Winner” moderated by Lizz Winstead, 92nd Street Y
11/6: Louis C.K., They’re With Me, Town Hall
11/6: Katt Williams, Live In Concert, Carnegie Hall
11/7: Carlos Mencia: At Close Range, Avery Fisher Hall
11/7: An Evening with Craig Ferguson, Town Hall
11/7: Writers Speak! A Potentially Regrettable Evening with the Writers of The Daily Show, Paley Center
11/8: Tracy Morgan: Coming Back Home, Apollo Theater
11/8: Sarah Silverman and Friends, Hammerstein Ballroom
11/8: Joel McHale Live at Town Hall, Town Hall
11/8: Late Night with Conan O’Brien Writers’ Panel Discussion, Paley Center
11/9: Brian Regan Live in Concert, Avery Fisher Hall
11/9: B.J. Novak and Friends, Town Hall
Tickets start going on sale at 11 a.m. tomorrow, Thursday, Aug. 7. They still have to release the names and special events happening during that week at Carolines. Plenty of big names, though, on the slate, including several repeat performers from last year. Louis CK rocked Town Hall last year, so already looking forward to that. We'll see how McHale and Novak handle the larger stage. Tracy Morgan plays the Apollo. Sarah Silverman moves from last year's Carnegie Hall to this year at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Carlos Mencia? The Late Night writers talk should be very interesting, coming as it does near the end of the road for some of them as the show prepares to move to California.
Is it Monday already? Time to catch up with the comedy world. First up, Katt Williams. You may have heard Williams has a new deal with Comedy Central. Here's the deal: Williams taped a special in late April at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., and sold it to Comedy Central (air date: TBA), and with the sale, he also got the go-ahead to film a pilot for a variety show.
On Sunday, Comedy Central gave Katt Williams the broadcast debut for his 2007 stand-up film, American Hustle, an interesting choice for Williams and his crew considering it meant adding all the blurs and beeps of Comedy Central's censors. It's essentially a stand-up concert, taped the previous New Year's Eve in Chicago, folded into a road trip with his opening acts, Red Grant, Melanie Comarcho and Luenell -- the latter of whom you may recall vamping it up onscreen previously as Borat's prostitute. An opening sketch includes a dream sequence with Jeremy Piven and a pitch meeting that allows Williams to parody recent movies such as 300 and March of the Penguins and even get in a dig on the fact that Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence and Tyler Perry all have worn fat suits for the sake of major movie success. Williams gives all of his openers a chance to showcase their stand-up, and when he arrives onscreen, he shows how charm and energy can go a long way in the entertainment business. He told the crowd that if they were expecting jokes from Pimp Chronicles, they weren't getting them because he didn't them to have to pay to hear the same bits twice. He may not be tall. But his stand-up walks the walk and talks the talk, even if that means not giving up on a word just because Michael Richards messed up.
Patrice Oneal on Def Comedy Jam? There he was last night on my HBO, and I'm not sure any crowd or setting or anything can faze this guy. So so raw. So so brutally funny. Don't have a video to link, otherwise I would.
As a child, returning home from vacation never sounded much like fun, but one of the few joys was seeing the huge pile of mail that awaited our return. Nowadays, it's the TV programming all queued up on my DVR that I turn to. So...what'd I miss? First up: Larry the Cable Guy's Christmas Spectacular, on VH1. Wait. VH1??? Not CMT? Oh, it's there, too. And it's re-airing several times this week on VH1, and this coming weekend on CMT.
Like most people, when you think of a Larry the Cable Guy special, you think Vegas, right? Ahem. Anyhow. What we have here is an odd definition of spectacular. Not quite craptacular, either. It's just, well, tacular. Is that a word? Now it is. Tacular. Or in Git-R-Done speak, Tack-E-Yeah! Or something like it. At one point, "Larry" (Dan Whitney) asks, "You know what this show needs?" To which his special co-host Tony Orlando, yes, Tony Orlando, retorts: "Jeff Foxworthy."
The jokes themselves are simple and often sexual and traffic in stereotypes and easy targets -- Rosie O'Donnell gets hers in the opening monologue, while the closing bit spoofs the "need" for an all-inclusive nativity scene, which goes for the easiest hits on gays, Mormons, Jews, Tom Cruise and Scientology. Kid Rock shows up to perform a song. That's nice of him. There's also a taped Larry the Scrooge Guy bit with Jamie Kennedy, Penn Jillette and Carrot Top playing the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. There also is a roast of Santa (played by George Wendt) with an odder than odd panel that includes comedy roast regulars Jeffrey Ross as an elf, Lisa Lampanelli as Mrs. Claus, Jim Breuer as a drunken Easter Bunny, Vicki Lawrence as Mama from Mama's Family, and George Wallace, Katt Williams and Flavor Flav as the Three Wise Men. Williams gets off some spirited and naturally funny lines about Santa's decades-old red suit. Two other winning roast lines come at Larry's expense. From Jeffrey Ross, who noted that Larry was fatter than Santa: "C'mon Larry, you look like you celebrate 12 days of Christmas and 353 days of Thanksgiving." And this from Vicki Lawrence (Mama): "Larry's movies are doing really well in the retirement homes...they are making the old people stop clinging to life."
Larry also conveniently enough has a new Christmas CD out, called Christmastime in Larryland. A few of the TV special's jokes get repeated here, and Larry has the self-awareness to include a eulogy to the guy who invented the laugh track. And as he writes in the liner notes, "If you're not a fan of mine and bought this anyway, then you are a fool and mentally impaired. For those of you who are fans, I'm sure this will be just as you expected, and I love you."
The CD includes an extended trailer for Larry's upcoming movie, Witless Protection, in which Yaphet Kotto utters a Midnight Run reference to my dismay. Looks like another big hit in the retirement homes, Mama!
Katt Williams is one n—– a roll. Wait. Hold on, hold on, just hold on one second. What's with that "n-word"?! Oh, right. That. Avert your eyes now if you don't want to know what it is, even though you know all too perfectly well what the word is, and as Louis CK will tell you, just saying n-word puts the actual word in your head.
That word has been in the news and in comedy debates in the two weeks since Michael Richards (not Kramer) went off on a rage-filled rant at the Laugh Factory in L.A. And considering what's happened since, with club owner Jamie Masada saying he'd ban and fine comics who utter the word, the Rev. Jesse Jackson calling for a boycott of the word in entertainment circles, and veteran comic Paul Mooney saying he'd stop saying the word that has made him so much, I just had to ask Katt Williams about it.
Especially since his HBO special, Katt Williams, The Pimp Chronicles pt. 1 (now out on DVD), was, to quote Williams, the biggest hit "in the history of niggerdom." Suffice it to say, Williams isn't afraid of Masada's edict.
"No, they shouldn't have done that," he told me. "They were as wrong as (Michael Richards) was. As a comic, you're allowed to say whatever. A comic can do 30 minutes on the intricacies of the vagina, or doing bowel movement. Thta's the comic's right. But if you get to the point where that's offensive, what's next? You can't talk about fat people or slow people or offensive people or retarded people? I think if you can get in front of black people and say something bad like nigger and get away with it without something bad happening to you, you've done something right."
Note: On Saturday night at the Orpheum, Williams told the sold-out crowd that he would've had to punch out Richards if he had seen him that night, just on principle.
But about Paul Mooney…Williams was incredulous. "What? A white man said it? Now I'm not going to say it again?! It's so retarded…It was a light-bulb experience for him?" Williams is quoting Mooney's description in recent interviews there. "What? Because a white man said it?" Williams said he could understand why Jackson and others would want to take back the word nigger. "I understand that. That part I can understand. The other part I can't understand is Paul Mooney said he'd never say it again because he heard a white guy say it." Williams pauses to laugh about that some more. Why the laughter? "Because I know Paul Mooney. You'd have to know Paul Mooney to get this joke. It's one of the most hilarious things ever."
"This is what we do. If it wasn't offensive to somebody, it would just be a guy onstage saying pleasantries. (Adopting a dorky voice) 'Hey everybody, life is wonderful!' It's not…You have to really go out of your way to make life wonderful."