No joke: Katt Wiliams says the last time he had a good, hard laugh was when he saw Kevin Hart on the April cover of EBONY magazine. But it’s not why you think he did.
He’s well aware of the recent Twitter beef between Hart and fellow comic Mike Epps. His name got thrown into the mix when Epps suggested that Hart may not be as successful as he is if it wasn’t for Williams going a bit off-road with his well-publicized breakdowns and legal issues.
But Williams says he has no beef with Hart. The 39-year-old says he appreciated seeing another guy like him on a major magazine cover because, his own career aside, Williams is a fan of comedy. And he better be; dude is funny. He’s so funny that blogs went bonkers when he announced he’d be leaving comedy altogether. But he’s not (insert deep sighs of relief here)—he says he only made that move to derail phony comedy concert promoters trying to make money off of him.
This summer, Williams says, he’ll be back on the road. Before then, you can check him out in Scary Movie 5, the latest installment in the chain, hitting theaters on Friday. (And with a little luck—and a whole lot of y’all going out to see the movie this weekend, he adds—he’ll be shooting a few more films.)
EBONY: What made you want to be a part of this franchise?
Katt Williams: I’ve always been interested in the success of successful comedy, and so any franchise that is $800 million in and on their fifth installment already deserves your attention. And then when you find out that it’s a Weinstein Company [film], and you find out it’s David Zucker and the Wayans’ story… I’m saying, it’s almost as if there’s not a decision to be made as to whether you’re going to do it. You just have to do an exceptional job.
EBONY: Is it a natural to do this kind of over-the-top poking fun at other films and pop culture comedy, or was it a stretch for you?
KW: My attempt is never to be over the top, even if that is how it happens in the end result. I try to put 100 percent in, so I’m always in a comedy looking for an actual mark that I can make. And so to find out the list of the people that they already had to this one and to add my name? I’m saying, any time that they’ve already got Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Bow Wow, Snoop, Terry Crews. It’s enough names in there that my job is simple! I get to come in and I got to be funny, and that’s when I’m happiest.
EBONY: Did you get to go off script a lot and do the Katt Williams thing?
KW: Well, with all due respect, the Katt Williams thing is the only thing they’re paying for! When it’s legitimate, it really just means that whatever you’re handed, your job remains the same. Without disrespecting anything else, a lot of times you get the work and it demands that you do extra with it. This was a situation where it was done to the point where the real job was just making sure that I did the job. That’s my new level, just producing the funny.
EBONY: What’s the most outrageous thing that happened on the set of Scary Movie 5?
KW: I can’t answer it because it has nothing to do with me! So unfortunately, I can’t be up here telling you other people’s business! What I will say is, whatever you think when you see the list of people, it was really that many dynamics.
EBONY: You scared your fans when you announced that you would not do stand-up comedy anymore. Have you since changed your mind?
KW: The past is something for you to learn from and the future is something that you hope is going to happen, but I’m always speaking to my actual fans in present tense. So I was hoping that by me making that announcement, it would mean that when this fake promoter came out and put up those 15 fake shows [talking] about “Katt Williams is going to be there,” I thought that would keep them from believing it. But it didn’t work. So now I just have to come out and play now.
EBONY: So that means you will be touring this summer?
KW: Yes. I just had a lot of legal issues that I was tending to, and I’m getting those out the way. That is in the summer plan. I just have three other movies that are waiting to be green-lit based upon how Scary Movie produces.
EBONY: You’re trying to busy yourself with a ton of work, then?
KW: Well, you know, that’s been the major lesson that I’ve learned: no matter what happens you can’t allow anything to stop the work. The work has to continue.
EBONY: What about when you were going through the unpleasant times? Everything was public. How did you escape? Who or what did you turn to when you were going through the bumpy roads?
KW: That’s a difficult question because in my personal life—that’s God’s role. So I don’t really turn that over to anybody, because I’m cognizant that other people have their own issues. And so the only thing that keeps me afloat is that I know that other than death, anything that they bring towards me, I’m going to turn it into comedy. And I’m going to deliver it to my fans so that the message gets across. So I look at it as a movie. The character’s supposed to get beat up throughout the movie, as long as he’s the hero at the end. And that’s where we are now.
EBONY: You’re the hero now?
KW: I was a hero the entire time! It’s not always a popular thing, and genius is often called crazy, but crazy is never called genius. So you just have to put out the work and let the chips fall where they may.
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EBONY Entertainment Editor