Williams will bring his much-anticipated comedy tour to Macon on Oct. 9 and to Columbus on Nov. 28. The 44-year-old Ohio native has a supporting role in the movie “Bastards,” now filming in Atlanta. It stars Ed Helms and Owen Wilson as brothers.
“As a fan, and as a comedy fan, I know the dynamic between those two individuals. My job is to represent all black people in this movie. … That’s all I can tell you about the character,” he said. “This is a true by-the-book comedy, and when I read the script, I said, ‘Man, they just need the right black guy for this part and I don’t know anybody who needs this as badly as I do. And with God’s blessings, they always come right on time — so it was perfect that the tour and the movie coincided.”
Here’s what Williams had to say about growing up in the Midwest and about what audiences can expect on his “Conspiracy Theory” tour.
Q: What was it like growing up in Cincinnati and how did that inform your comedy?
A: I was born in Cincinnati and raised in Dayton. My Ohio experience put me in a position where all of my childhood — every time we lived somewhere — I always had a black neighbor and a white neighbor. Racism was never able to present itself in its full form for me. I benefited from being able to hear two sets of conversations. In Dayton, all the poor kids went to school together whether they were black or white. I also spent some time in Maysville, Ky., where I was the only black person in the entire school. It was a formative year for me and I got that whole school year of thinking that maybe I was the only one. This was first grade. I probably didn't have the best perception of what it was. I took it as I was one of the most special people in school. There was literally nobody like me. It was established as a positive for me.
Q: What do you think of this political season we’re in?
A: Generally you don't have that many participants so you're having to pick through the different personalities of the characters. In this, you look at both sides of it, you have 20 people running. I pretty much run down the list of front-runners, comedically.
Q: What do you think of Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio?
A: I think that the joke that Katt Williams has written about Ben Carson will speak volumes (laughs). I'm not giving you all the goods!
Q: Well, give me just a little something.
A: Here's a little something I'll give you. I think that because we belong to the greatest country in the world, it would seem to me that when we are in these positions we should be presented with the very best of the best that America has to offer for this position. And I think that if you showed me 17 ugly girls and asked me to pick the pretty one, I think we would be in a similar position as we are.
Q: What do you make of Donald Trump? Do you think it’s all political theater with him or do you think he’s a serious candidate?
A: What Donald Trump does in business is he studies the business and he studies what makes it work and what doesn't make it work and I think he uses what works. He's in the position he's in in life because of that ability. He knows exactly how much you have to pay in order to get things done. He knows what you have to say to dumb people to make them feel smart about themselves. That's what negotiation is — it's finding the weaknesses.
Q: What else do you have an opinion about in the news?
A: It's really not just about having discussions on current events. What it's really about is the core events that are happening. Something needs to be said about "Black Lives Matter" that hasn't already been said by a million people and all of these hot-button issues. There is a discussion that needs to take place, and if comedically is the only place it can take place, then that's where it will happen. The audience has allowed me to have the ability to have those kind of conversations throughout the years. That's why I always feel highly favored. We could talk about much dumber stuff for an hour, but it is just great to have an audience that is receptive to us talking about the real issues in a real way.
Q: What advice do you give young people who say they want to be the next Katt Williams?
A: (Laughter) I would say they shouldn't limit their options. Your frame of mind is all that you are selling. It is very, very difficult to be an original artist. And yet there is nothing more lucrative than being an original artist. There is always the temptation to follow these groups and other entities or people who insist they know better than you when it comes to the art form. And if that were the case, they wouldn't be talking to you. So I would just urge any up-and-coming comedian to figure out what it is that makes them different and to give themselves the freedom to expound on that no matter how weird or un-contemporary it may start out.