We have to talk about Katt Williams because something is missing (2024)

OPINION: I love Katt Williams, and yet, I watched his new Netflix special “Woke Foke,” and I have questions.

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own.Read moreopinionson theGrio.

We have to have an honest talk about Katt Williams because I watched his new Netflix special “Woke Foke,” and I have questions. Williams is a comedy icon, no doubt. We love him. But there’s something missing from his act, and I think a lot of people are afraid to say it. In the spirit of comedy where nothing is unsayable, I’m gonna say it. In a second. I need to build up to it. I’m scared of what y’all will say. I don’t want Katt to Kendrick Lamar me.

You know the old joke about how you can go to a Chinese restaurant and eat a whole meal and still be hungry 30 minutes later? Well, when I watch a comedy special, I don’t want the comedy to slip out of my mind 30 minutes after the show. I want more than just laughs; I want jokes, damn at least one, that I can walk away thinking about. He said x, then y, then blam! – there was a great punchline. I can think about why saying x then y then the punchline works. I want those well-constructed moments that I can repeat to myself, and maybe to friends, to remind myself how good the comic was. Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Trevor Noah and others will always give me that. Will Williams? Sigh.

I think there are two types of comedians — there are people with great material, and there are people with a funny vibe whose whole onstage presence is so hilarious that they could read the phone book, and it would be funny. No one can be all one or the other; you should have some of both sides, but some comics are much heavier on one side than the other.


Chappelle is equally both. So is Wanda Sykes. Rock is much more of a material guy. His work is meticulously crafted, and I think he needs that to kill. Tracy Morgan, on the other hand, is much more of a phone book guy. His energy is so funny that he can get through a set just exuding funny energy. Bernie Mac had good material — some of his work was really smart — but his success was really all about his vibe, his voice, his energy. He could’ve made a restaurant menu sound funny.

Williams is probably the biggest phone book comic today. His vibe, his energy and his voice all make his comedy come alive. The way he says the n-word is hysterical because of his melodic voice and his Midwestern twang. Also, more than almost anyone, he plays a character onstage — a badass, hyper self-confident, super Black man who may or may not be a pimp. That character adds a lot to the funny. To see this little man believe in himself so much is both funny and inspiring. It makes us want to root for him. It’s interesting to see Williams rely so much on playing a character in an era where many comics are trying to deconstruct artifice and want to appear as though they are just being themselves.

I said most comics have some of both sides of the dichotomy in them — the funny vibe and the material, but I feel like Williams is so good at exuding the funny vibe that he has devolved into skimping on the jokes. It wasn’t like this earlier in his career, but at the end of “Woke Foke” (and his prior Netflix special “World War III”), I said wait a minute, where are the jokes? Williams gives us smart observations, which is a critical part of a comic’s arsenal, but instead of real, solid jokes, he’s getting by on the Katt persona and the voice and the funny energy. He’s not putting in the work to write great jokes, and I know he can do that. I want that from him.

I fear I will end up getting verbally shot the next time Williams goes on “Club Shay Shay,” but I feel like he had more well-constructed comedic thoughts on that couch than he did onstage. A truly great comedy routine could be printed on a piece of paper and read by someone else and still be funny. If we printed out Williams’ special we would see that there are few real jokes, which is a testament to how funny he is. He can elevate a whisp of material into an hour. But I would love to see this truly gifted comic get back to doing some real jokes.

We have to talk about Katt Williams because something is missing (1)

Touré is a host and Creative Director at theGrio. He is the host of Masters of the Game on theGrioTV. He is also the host and creator of the docuseries podcast “Being Black: The ’80s” and the animated show “Star Stories with Toure” which you can find at TheGrio.com/starstories. He is also the host of the podcast “Toure Show” and the podcast docuseries “Who Was Prince?” He is the author of eight books including the Prince biography Nothing Compares 2 U and the ebook The Ivy League Counterfeiter.

Never miss a beat:Get our daily stories straight to your inbox with theGrio’s newsletter.

The post We have to talk about Katt Williams because something is missing appeared first on TheGrio.

We have to talk about Katt Williams because something is missing (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Foster Heidenreich CPA

Last Updated:

Views: 5257

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Foster Heidenreich CPA

Birthday: 1995-01-14

Address: 55021 Usha Garden, North Larisa, DE 19209

Phone: +6812240846623

Job: Corporate Healthcare Strategist

Hobby: Singing, Listening to music, Rafting, LARPing, Gardening, Quilting, Rappelling

Introduction: My name is Foster Heidenreich CPA, I am a delightful, quaint, glorious, quaint, faithful, enchanting, fine person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.