Tag Archives: Atlanta FX

Kobalt Signs Childish Gambino

Kobalt, a music and technology company built for artists, songwriters, publishers and labels as an alternative to the traditional music business model, announced that it has signed Grammy award winning, actor, comedian, writer, director, producer, singer, songwriter, rapper, and DJ, Donald Glover, a.k.a., Childish Gambino. The worldwide agreement includes publishing administration, including global synch and creative support services, for all of Childish Gambino’s future songs after the Awaken, My Love! album. In addition, Kobalt has signed Wolf + Rothstein, Glover’s musical teams of collective songwriters and artists for publishing administration, global synch and creative support services.

Said Kobalt Music SVP, Creative, Al McLean, of the deal, “Donald is one of those rare multi-talented artists who can do it all. It’s an honor to sign Donald and Wolf + Rothstein Collective to the Kobalt family.”

Emmy-, Golden Globe-, and Grammy-winning actor, writer, comedian, DJ, and rapper Donald Glover broke into pop culture mainstream first on the hit TV sitcom Community after serving on the writing staff of both The Daily Show and 30 Rock. In August 2011, he signed to Glassnote Records under his rap moniker Childish Gambino and has since released two albums. Glover also currently stars in the FX series Atlanta, which he also created and occasionally directs.

Operating out of Temple Studios in Los Angeles, Wolf + Rothstein is the creative agency comprised of Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Donald Glover, Wolf Taylor, and Fam Rothstein, all whom worked with the band that helped compose the critically acclaimed Awaken My Love! Released December 2, 2017, Awaken My Love! and the chart-topping hit single “Redbone” are nominated for five Grammy Awards: Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Traditional R&B Performance (winner), Best R&B Song, and Best Urban Contemporary Album. Childish Gambino is set to perform on Saturday Night Live on May 5, 2018.

“Wolf and Rothstein is excited to partner with Kobalt for publishing,” said Wolf Taylor of Wolf + Rothstein. “We’re looking forward to growing the roster together.”

Katt Williams Interned At An Alligator Farm to Prep for His Role On ‘Atlanta’

Written By | Angel Diaz 

Katt Williams is starting 2018 on the right foot. Fresh off a great stand-up special on Netflix, the comedian is busy working on a pair of movies—Meet The Blacks 2: The House Next Door (with Mike Epps, Lil Duval, Bresha Webb, and Michael Blackson) and 2 Minutes of Fame (with Jay Pharoah and Keke Palmer)—and just had a show-stealing performance on the first episode of Atlanta‘s second season. Katt plays Earn’s crazy uncle who, for some inexplicable reason just so happens to have a pet alligator, and the neighborhood kids call the “Alligator Man.”

While this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Katt show off his acting skills, this performance did display a range that we haven’t really seen from him before. It’s one of those stand-out performances that makes you hope he ends up getting more roles in the near future. We recently caught up with Katt to talk about how he was able to vibe with an alligator, how serious his acting was in the episode, and his admiration for Donald Glover.

You’re the Alligator Man in the first episode of Atlanta Robbin’ Season. How did you end up on the show?
I’m a music fan and I’m a comedy fan. [Donald’s] name carries that type of weight in both of those circles. So any project that he’s a part of, you want to be a part of as well. He had some thoughts on season two, where he wanted to take it, and how he wanted to put things out there. You can put yourself into somebody’s hand when you can trust their objective.

The first two times I auditioned, I wasn’t good enough and other people were better. I just kept at it, and then I interned at an alligator farm for three-and-a-half weeks, just so I could get comfortable enough that we didn’t use a stuntman. I really adopted the alligator into my home. And became so comfortable with it that it was like working with another co-star.

So you were just like chillin’ with the alligator for three weeks?
Yeah.

How was that experience?
It was life-changing.

How so? 
I’m saying it wasn’t the first alligator; the first alligator turned out to not work. When they got the next one in, he and I were able to vibe. But a lot of people probably would’ve quit.

So what was up with the first alligator? Were you just not fucking with his personality?
No, it was like, the stuff that he thought was cool to do wasn’t cool to do. He thought it was cool to just take his tail and knock people off they feet. That sounds funny and all, but it’s not like a dog, it’s an alligator. He enjoyed freaking people out way too much.

Well, that’s the whole thing, with the first alligator, I tried to act like I wasn’t nervous. That’s probably what got our dynamic off to the wrong foot; we weren’t being true to ourselves. [With] the second [alligator], I understood that this is the closest to a marriage that I’ve ever been. Like, you gotta trust me and I gotta trust you. There’s the line that neither of us needs to cross. I look out for your best interest, and you look out for mine.

There was a part towards the end of your scene when Earn was in the room trying to talk some sense into your character that stood out. Do you see yourself getting into more serious roles?
Yeah, we have some of that lined up. It’s really about the key of the writing. Even if you’re doing something that’s comedic, that doesn’t make the real parts any less real. You know what I mean? The real parts have to be real because it’s a story that we’re telling. I’m having to channel what somebody else is going through. It’s an uncle and a nephew conversation that is as deep as it can possibly be.

Is your character going to return this season?
I don’t know what any of the subsequent episode numbers are. I certainly haven’t seen the last of it.

How was the experience finally getting to work with Donald, since you’re such a big fan?
Oh, it was great. It was magnificent. It was not just him, you know? This is royalty in its completeness. So it’s impeccable. It’s a joy to witness, ya know? When somebody is not just on the top of their game but their people are on top of their game. It’s really wonderful to be able to see the Golden State Warrior mentality play out in another field.

 

‘Atlanta’ Season 2 Is Off to a Weird, Perfect Start

The premiere of the FX hit show’s new chapter reacquaints us with familiar faces and introduces some exciting new ones, including Katt Williams and his unconventional house pet

Written By |  

Even in a TV landscape characterized by peak drama and rare authenticity, critics and awards bodies and audiences all seemed to agree that the first season of Atlanta was exceptionally good, for many reasons. One of the show’s most impressive tricks was its insistence on subverting expectations at every available turn, whether those expectations were set by viewers, studio execs, or by Donald Glover himself. “Twin Peaks for rappers” fits neatly into 140 characters, and the conceit (a Princeton dropout, an aging rapper, and a space cadet tumble headlong through the Atlanta rap scene) seemed simple enough, but Atlanta was more ambitious than its creator’s elevator pitch in execution. And way weirder. There was an invisible car. There was a sketch comedy half-hour. Justin Bieber was black. Quavo went all Russell Baze on a dude in the woods using a hunting rifle he named “Percy.”

But you don’t need me to tell you that Atlanta was good and memorable. Now that “Robbin’ Season” (which means more and sounds cooler than “Season 2”) has arrived, the show will speak for itself once more. And we’ll all see what we loved about it in the first place: that Atlanta is still playing straw caterpillar with reality; that the show is still funny but not that kind of funny; that its choices are still thrillingly specific; that its use of guest stars still feels both whimsical and effective.

The problem is that I want to talk only about Katt Williams. We may talk about some other things by accident, but Williams—who is gloriously, hilariously, tragically pressed in the premiere—is the most pressing topic.

I guess we have to talk about where we left the principle characters; Atlanta has been off the air since the Season 1 finale in November 2016. Alfred, known to the internet as Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry), dropped a mixtape with a solid street single that his cousin-manager Earn (Glover) pledged to help transform into a full-on rap career. By roll credits, Earn’s only sort of succeeded at growing Paper Boi’s reach. Earn’s only sort of succeeded at a few things: keeping a roof over his head, getting his daughter into a decent school, working things out with his baby mama (Van, played by Zazie Beetz), figuring out what it is he wants out of life. The only thing he’s done successfully for sure is befriend Darius (Lakeith Stanfield), and thank God, because who among us wouldn’t want a friend like Darius?

If Season 1 ended on a note of fragile optimism, the premiere of “Robbin’ Season”feels defined by a simmering panic, like the anxiety that stampedes back in once a high wears off, like the dread of knowing you’ll have to either make decisions or have them made for you soon. The season premiere opens with Earn getting forced out of the storage unit he had been living in, and it’s three full minutes before any other familiar characters are shown. There’s a detached cold open that follows two new young men around the twist of a boring, gray winter day that suddenly turns violent. They play FIFA, they talk music, they decide that they’re hungry, they go to Mrs. Winner’s—a fictive version of the real chicken and biscuits spot, and one that doubles as a drug front. They rob the place, it turns bloody, it sets the tone: This is still Atlanta, but the stakes are irretrievably higher than they were two years ago. Disaster strikes elsewhere when Alfred, on house arrest, sends Earn over to his Uncle Willy’s after having received a call from Uncle Willy’s girlfriend, Yvonne, who said that Willy had “kidnapped” her. As it turns out, Uncle Willy is Katt Williams.

And he looks good, but, crucially, not great. At least as bad as when he retired from stand-up six years ago on KOMO 4 Seattle News dressed in a Kurt Cobain tee and ski goggles, and on purpose. Since his mid-2000s success, Williams’s fall from grace has been exceedingly long and noisy; in 2016 alone he was arrested four times for everything from “criminal damage to property” to sucker-punching a seventh-graderduring a friendly pickup soccer game. He’s back to doing stand-up now, though. He released a Netflix special in mid-January, Great America, where he talks into a golden microphone about racial tension and Trumpism, but also about the ways in which life—and he has lived a life—changed him.

It makes sense that someone like Williams would wash up on an absurdist show preoccupied with personal transition, but it’s still a surprise when he presses his face up against the screen door, and remarkable that his inclusion works so seamlessly. And so well.

To the extent that time is real in Atlanta, it’s mid-afternoon by the time we meet Willy, and he is still wearing a bathrobe. Think of him as a much older Money Mike; the pimping is mostly dead and the alligator shoes are just house slippers now, although he does still have the alligator. A full-grown Caiman. Really.

The best of Williams’s performance coincides with the cops showing up, responding to a domestic disturbance call. “We not domestic, we ain’t eem married,” he explains with great annoyance. You really do forget that nobody willfully misreads things or demands more than their due respect quite like Katt Williams does. His act—which is also, historically speaking, his public face—is that he’s short, and it’s funny in a sometimes-sad way. He is desperate, but acidic; paranoid and uncool, but composed at the same time. Williams is perfect as Uncle Willy because Williams is Uncle Willy. Either might ask, with a crazed look in their eye and a cigarette hanging out of their mouth, what is youuuuuuu doin’ here.

Williams gets a big moment near the end of the episode, and it’s up to you whether it counts as redemption, given the decade he’s had. To set it up: After Willy needles the idea that Paper Boi has outgrown Earn’s usefulness, Earn does something he hasn’t since the third episode of the first season, almost two and a half years in real time. He says how he feels. “What I’m scared of is being you. You know, somebody everybody knew was smart but ended up being a know-it-all, fuck-up Jay that just lets shit happen to him.” Life has plainly not worked out for Willy; there are cracks in the ceiling above their heads, and Fulton County PD is at the front door.

Damn,” Williams says, and for what it’s worth, I also said “damn.” It’s one of those moments that bridges Atlanta’s surreality and the physical world. Willy/Williams becomes, unambiguously, what Earn/Glover has to grow beyond, and it’s striking, dispossessing. “If you don’t wanna end up like me,” Williams says, “get rid of that chip-on-your-shoulder shit. It’s not worth the time.”

He busts out the back door to skitter off into the sunset after that. Willy’s exit doesn’t magically solve his nephew’s insecurity. This is Atlanta as it ever was: reliably human, and reserved in its commentary on that humanity.