Great Falls, MT: Fast Times, Post-Punk Weirdos, and a Tale of Coming Home Again
Comedian and musician Reggie Watts shares his story of growing up in Montana as a biracial oddball struggling to navigate life, girls, drugs, and his own identity in America’s heartland—and having a blast doing it.
Reggie Watts is weird. But you knew that. Anyone who’s seen his multifaceted, entirely improvised comedy and music shows knows that. Reggie Watts is also from the town of Great Falls, MT.
These two facts are not unrelated.
Watts grew up in Montana in the ‘80s, half French, half American, half white, half Black, speaking a bunch of different languages and slipping between the orchestra geeks and the football jocks until he finally found a squad of fellow misfits with an affinity for trouble. It was a wide-open time and place that invited freedom and exploration—as well as car theft and the not infrequent use of recreational cough syrup. And it helped him become the uniquely strange creative voice he is today.
In Great Falls, MT, Watts takes us through his story, hitting on the culture shock he experienced after moving from Europe to the heart of America, where he was called racial slurs by neighbors but wasn’t Black enough for his father’s extended family. Where he fought with his authoritarian dad, built a new family of antiestablishment, post-punk oddballs—and ultimately knew he had to leave. But after Watts’s career exploded in Seattle and New York, ultimately scoring him a nightly place next to James Corden on The Late Late Show, he found himself drawn back to his hometown after the deaths of his parents. This is his love letter to the town that made him. But like love itself, it’s messy and complicated and dirty and beautiful—and as weird and wonderful as Watts himself.
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