Katt Williams is an American standup comedian. He is also a pretty unique one, because to my knowledge, he is the only comedian who uses the on-stage persona of a pimp in his comedy, which he also uses as his general public persona. Katt is an extremely talented guy, but unfortunately potential has never been a guarantee for quality. I first stumbled upon his work, a while after “the pimp chronicles”, so far his finest work, has been released. it is a great standup routine and I would even go as far as saying that is an almost flawless one. almost, because it is extremely short, for a full standup program. now, I don’t know if they just cut the non-working bits out, but the leading artists of the craft usually manage to do at least something over an hour or in some cases even put out flawless two-hour routines. nevertheless, in my opinion “the pimp chronicles” shows pretty well, what he is capable of. it’s funny, it’s filled with inconvenient truth, it is without any fillers and most importantly, it works from beginning to end.
Sadly, when it comes to all of his others releases, he just doesn’t get his shit together. I don’t know if “pimp chronicles” was just a lucky accident or if they really cut it down, like I already suspected. each of his other releases in itself switches from “great” over “doesn’t really work” over “what’s your point” up to “completely disastrous”.
I understand that doing a fully working 90 or even 120 minutes standup special might be the hardest artistic task that there is. even if you have helping writers among your side. no, I don’t mean that ironically. I am dead serious. no, I don’t think that even the best actor on the planet, that plays the most outrages characters has a task as difficult as a standup comedian, whose having to write, perfectly time AND perfectly deliver a flawless 90/120 minutes set. just so you understand what I mean with flawless, I mean Louis ck, chris rock, paul Mooney, Jerry Seinfeld, Doug Stanhope, Andy andrist, sean rouse, lewis black, Stewart lee ..etc flawless. I am not taking 120 minutes of redneck jockes in account, if you catch my drift. every moron can make a room full of other morons laugh for 2 hours, but it takes true masters to rock an audience with a brain.
Most of the great ones that I just named go on the road for months, testing new material and slowly weed out the non-working bits until they are ready. not until the very moment that they have a set together that worked everywhere and where every bit was a success, they plan the dvd recording, which then usually takes place in their home base, to get some bonus home advantage for the recorded performance.
Katt does not seem to do that. I don’t know if it is laziness or misunderstanding the craft or just an attitude problem. maybe a mixture of all those aspects. that’s kinda sad, because we know that he cares. he is one of the few comedians to regularly after a show takes the time to express how grateful he is to the audience and how grateful he is for having a standup career to begin with.
When it comes to all of his work except TPC, he has a certain amount of bits in his routine, which either doesn’t work at all, just work until a certain point, bits that he milks for way too long until it becomes awkward or occasionally even creepy, some bits that had potentially but weren’t really worked out and/or thought through and finally some bits that are just “clumsy” and come off differently than he might have intended them to be.
The new program though, is his total low point. before you start, no I don’t think punching hecklers
in the face was his low point, since I think that’s totally legit and that even more comedians should do that. anyway, when I read about his new special, it was kind of bitter-sweet news. on the one hand I was still hoping for a successor to TPC, but however I knew that he would fuck up most of the runtime, as usual. I was watching it with my fiancé and in advanced I warned her, that “katt tends to be pretty clumsy, so there will be most likely things that he does mean in a different way as they come off and there will be awkward moments within the set” and boy oh boy, was I right. first, this is his worst program so far. everything that went bad in the previous programs turned into a full-blown disaster in this one. awkward moments? oooh, yeah. bits that make no sense? fo shizzle ma nizzle. milking a bit to death which wasn’t THAT clever to begin with? yup.
And if that wasn’t enough, he seems to have picked up two new bad habits: a) talking about things that he does not know shit about and b) trying to convince people of his own belief system.
As for the first point, there is a bit within this routine where he tries to defends himself from accusations of being homophobic, which ironically ends up being pretty homophobic itself. now, ain’t THAT a bitch? it’s not the only time that happens within this routine, but it is the most significant AND memorable.
As for the second point, there is a bit about religion, well pro-religion, actually which might have been written in good will, but also ends up as a terrible, patronizing disaster.
Does anybody remember when mike “the situation” bombed at the “comedy central roast”? we are talking THAT disastrous.
And as if all that would not be enough, the whole program is directed by “spike lee”. yup, spike lee. you can think about the man what you want, but what the fuck do you need spike lee for when directing a standup program? what’s next? Richard Kelly directing “the view”???? or is it just that spike has now sunken so low that he has to take every job and crediting him is like crediting any other no-name hired gun director?
Also, might he not be partly responsible for the failure of this program? as I said, I suspect that Katt’s best program, the pimp chronicles was only so great, because it was heavily cut, but even if not, spike should have at least watched katt’s recent routine somewhere, previous to the recording and talk some sense into him. on the other hand, spike lee and sense aren’t best friends to begin with. he should have had the decency to record some bonus material to cut this disaster into something bearable, something at least defendable. that’s the least that he could have done
Now, with all this said, this program is watchable. it is not very good, but it is watchable. with all the 200.000 crappy comedians in the US alone one can bear with this. I have seen worse. much worse.