Katt Williams: Great America

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Katt!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!! This!!!!! I loved it! I was so happy and ready to laugh today- and I have nothing but WONDERFUL memories of The Pimp Chronicles which defined an entire era of high school for me, certain friendships even, were predicated on reciting bits from those specials (Kryptochronichondilite???). That velvet blazer, the dancing, the press n’ curl, I just liked him, everything. It was all good.

So I was very excited to see he had a new special out, but also VERY wary. A lot of these male comics haven’t aged especially well (in the ideas department) and coming off the last two Dave specials I was veryyy wary. But Katt!!!!!!

So, first of all, I truly love Katt Williams because he is always sweating very profusely in the first three minutes of any special he has and as someone who also sweats a lot, I love that. Representation in comedy is very important, stop sweat-shaming!!!!

He also opens with maybe TEN minutes of local jokes. I mean down to the names of streets, neighborhoods, bridges, restaurants, etc. etc. It is all about local Jacksonville culture, which is a risk for a special being filmed to air nationally, but it’s so funny he gets away with it. Also, so much of America’s cities have many similarities so it was relatable-there was one part where he said, “lots of cities only have one hood” implying that Jacksonville does not, which reminded me of Durham, and then was talking about how sometimes when you’re getting gas you decide you don’t need gas when you get to certain gas stations. Everyone has felt those things and even just the way he says the physical words, the emphasis he puts on them, is also so FUNNY. He’s just a funny person.

I really enjoyed the content and the shifts therein-we went from a solid very serious Trump bit that covered Philando Castillo’s murder, immigration/the wall, global warming, etc., RIGHT into Taco Bell’s use of fried chicken and the Popeye’s lady. He cares about what I care about!!!!! Social justice and chain fast food nuance. He talked about Arby’s longer than I’ve ever heard anybody talk about Arby’s and I was laughing the whole time.

Katt Williams really has a gift to cut to the heart of a topic that’s the relatable part. He really understands people. He did a joke in the beginning where he referenced Mesothelioma, and it got this HUGE laugh and you could tell a lot of it was surprise at hearing another person say out loud, “Mesothelioma.” It’s this thing all of us have seen/heard (those commercials) in private, but isn’t referenced in popular culture outside them, so it feels like it’s just you-so then to hear someone say it in this setting, it’s so gratifying and surprising.

The only part I really did not like (aside from some gender stuff/he uses the word ‘bitch’ more than the word ‘the’ but what’re you gonna do) was when he was talking about My 600 Pound Life- that show upsets me and reinforces these terrible ideas about bodies and health and weight- leave those people alone don’t gawk at their lives like they’re some kind of freak on display for you to judge and also how dare you fucking judge them?? Since when did all our bodies become our economy of worth that everyone gets to have an opinion on? Since the beginning of time, I know, but that doesn’t make it right and I hate it and I hated that part. But luckily it was very quick-at least he understands to move on, not like Dave Chappelle who would have made it the breadth of the entire special.

Something that fascinated me that I had to look up because I wasn’t all the way sure and am still not 100%-was that behind him, there were full windows (the whole stage setup is something I wanna talk about and will in a minute because it was FUCKING PHENOMENAL) that you could see rain through the entire time. The whole hour it was “raining.” Now, I have looked up the layout of that theatre. I am 90% sure there are not windows behind the stage to outside you can see through. Even if there are it was a choice to not build over them and then maybe it was a coincidence it was raining outside the whole time but I truly don’t think that’s it. (Let me know if I’m wrong-but I looked through an entire gallery of interior photos on their website & I don’t think I am). I think he built them and designed a system that would continually loop water over them for an hour to look like rain. If this is the case, I have a fuckton to say about that.

The effect of rain on windows is deep. It’s this psychological thing that makes you feel permanent where you are and dry and home. The background of this blog is rain because it makes me feel safe. When it’s raining it’s okay to take a nap, watch a movie during the day, get drunk, abandon all expectation of productivity that you’re not allowed to in good weather. Rain is my favorite kind of weather, it’s sad and accommodating, and pretty, and a huge plot point in MIB 2.

I have never, NEVER seen a comic utilize the psychology of weather to create a mood for a special. Andy Kauffman once made it snow indoors for a Christmas special but that wasn’t comedy it was one of the straight ones he did after he got cancer. I love to see what people do with sets because it’s an often neglected part of the experience because when you’re starting out it’s something you have no control over so I think most people just ignore/forget about it, then when they get big enough that they can control it they don’t have much preference. I LOVE when someone does an elaborate set, it adds to the material in this subtle but completely permeating way.

This stage set up was amazing. It looked like the Oval Office but when he walked out there were six black women onstage dressed in diamond black & silver mini dresses with briefcases full of cash (one is open on the desk, they all have handcuffs attached to the handles) like an episode of Deal or No Deal THAT WERE JUST THERE FOR HIM TO WALK OUT TO! They left the stage as soon as he comes out! They’re there for less than a minute!!!!!! That’s incredible. The Oval Office is decorated with framed portraits of himself (God Bless) and two huge gold lions and two HUGE red leather fainting couches. There’s also American flags everywhere and on either side of the stage big black gates with his initials on them. The middle of the stage has a HUGE GOLDEN STOOL and the microphone is also gold. Katt is wearing head to toe black and gold, with an embroidered jacket and pants and shoes. He looks amazing.

The whole thing feels like the Scarface White House which when you think about what we really have in there, isn’t that far off. An overreactive, vain, paranoid man who sexually covets a family member? Got it!

The rain. I can’t get over the rain. I will never get over the rain probably. Katt also did the whole first 50 minutes straight then dropped a dick music cue on us which was—–brilliant. No one was expecting it and it was so satisfying and hilarious and I love him. That shit is so simple but I haven’t seen anyone do it as well as him. He understands physical comedy on this level where it’s just effortless and he can make a joke 10x funnier just by moving his body a certain way. It’s a gift.

He also has such prescient things to say about race, and he darts in and out of it so you’re never allowed to tense up, he’s talking about bridges, then talking about how a white restaurant cooks jerk chicken so good he expects to see a slave in the kitchen, then we’re back to driving or whatever. It’s incredible he can still do that in a climate where people are very tense around identity politics but it’s the thing I was talking about in the beginning, he can relate to people so well it feels safe when he does it, you trust him.

(Speaking of identities, there was a white guy in the third row in the audience who kept getting up and sometimes the camera would cut to the crowd and he would just be standing in the aisle???? And it was really distracting & idk what was up with that)

At one point he told women not to make noise if their man has great dick (Gender is a construct Katt!!!!! We never own people even if we engage in a long term consensual relationship with them! Why define people by their sexual behavior and then categorize them as such!) because then a ho would swoop by–then he was that woman flying–and said, “Aw, that’s just Gerald.” As if to imply, Gerald did not have great dick, his woman was mistaken, and this ho somehow knew. After the special was over, the first credit was Producer Gerald McBride and I wonder if that was an inside joke at him!!! Gerald!!!!

Truthfully I was pretty blown away by a lot of it, there were minor bits I didn’t like but to be that solid for over an hour and that genuinely funny is pretty incredible. And that fucking rain. Also to name your special “Great America” after a racist piece of shit ran on the platform “Make America Great Again” and film it in a town that’s got huge minority populations and make a point of acknowledging how many Latino, Pilipino, Black and White people were in the audience is a wonderful fuck you/subversion—and I loved that too. Ok I’m done.

7/8 Gold Dick Microphones, would masturbate again.

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