The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Rick Bentley, The Fresno Bee (TNS)

LOS ANGELES — Bandleaders are the vice presidents of the talk show world. They don’t have a lot to do, but when needed, they step up and support the talk show party in any way asked.

Just like VPs, some bandleaders have been more involved than others. That’s the case with The Late Late Show with James Corden, which launched this week.

James Corden, the Brit who is taking over the late time slot where Craig Ferguson chatted with guests for a decade, will have comedian and musician Reggie Watts as his bandleader. Just like a politician, Watts makes promises. One is that he’s not going to be like the Doc Severinsens and Paul Shaffers who have come before him.

“Musically speaking there won’t be too much of a difference other than the music’s going to be improvised,” Watts says. “Me being the bandleader will definitely create a different presence. And, we will probably incorporate the band in different ways. The band is going to have a little more leeway in what it’s doing.”

Watts has established his unique brand of music and comedy with regular appearances on TV, radio and stage, including appearances on the IFC series Comedy Bang! Bang! and in the Comedy Central special Reggie Watts: A ‘Live’ in Central Park.

His music has been influenced by the diverse sound he found while growing up in Seattle.

Watts wasn’t looking to be a talk show bandleader, but he got a call from the producers just before his work on Comedy Bang! Bang! wrapped up. Watts was intrigued with the offer because it would give him a national audience for his music, present him opportunities to meet interesting people and allow him to work with Corden.

Watts was impressed that the producers and Corden knew his work.

“The first thing James said when we met was that he didn’t just want me to be a sidekick or a bandleader. He wanted it to feel like this is our show. I can pitch ideas,” Watts says. “I have my jobs that I have to do but we will meet in the middle and create weird things for the show itself.”

The challenge will be to find the right musical mix to fit the audience, who will be up at the wee hours of the morning. For Watts, that means if he does a musical number that’s psychedelic, it will have a “cool, trippy edge to it.”

Because all of the music will be created and improvised while the show is in progress, Watts knows that he can change the musical direction to fit how the show is going.

His focus will be making sure the music starts strong and ends strong as the show goes in and out of commercials as a way to support Corden. It may be only a few bars the viewer hears, but Watts wants each note to embrace what’s happening in such a way the show feels more organic than staged.

“It’s more about energy than anything technical,” Watts says.

(c)2015 The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.), Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Photo: kris krüg via Flickr

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Former President Donald Trump

Youtube Screenshot

'Tonight the FBI officially became the enemy of the people!!!' Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas tweeted.

House and Senate Republicans are irate over the raid by FBI agents on Monday at former President Donald Trump's Florida estate and have vowed to defund the agency and seek retribution against it should the GOP regain control of Congress in November.

The promise to take funding from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and launch probes into the agency's search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence came in a flood of tweets after Trump himself confirmed that federal law enforcement officers had carried out the raid. Media reports said the FBI was searching for possible boxes of classified materials that Trump might have improperly removed from the White House when he left office.

Keep reading... Show less
Youtube Screenshot

America’s right-wing extremists have been hankering for a civil war for a long time now, and in particular have been eager to start using their guns in defense of Donald Trump ever since he came onto the political scene. They tried to start a civil war on Trump’s behalf after he lost on January 6, 2021.

So to no one’s great surprise, they’re currently flooding social media and right-wing media bandwidth with vows to begin a civil war on Trump’s behalf after the FBI executed a search warrant at the ex-president’s Florida waterfront estate, Mar-a-Lago, and seized evidence in a yet-unspecified investigation. The rhetoric is mostly a mixture of over-the-top hysteria and dark threats, and it’s being wielded by everyone from congressional Republicans to anonymous militiamen.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}