I'd been so excited to see this man perform live for the first time in my life, and it was clear that my fellow audience members were feeling that way, too. Couples were dressed up, gaggles of girlfriends were sipping beer and wine, and the early arrivals were sitting back in the theater, enjoying the opening DJs as the rest of the crowd found seats.
Introduced as "Big Pussy," Williams came out in a cowboy hat and floor-length fur coat, which dropped to reveal a neck of gold chains. Apparently, this "Big Pussy" routine was an alternate persona for the comedian, but nothing seemed different from the little pimp his fans know well. In fact, during the few moments this alter-ego regaled us with commentary on the upcoming election, Williams's signature smart-ass style shone through. During these few moments, he started parading through the crowd, which seemed all in good fun.
But our time with Big Pussy was just a short and sweet primer for Gina Yashere, the first in a downhill toss of opening acts. The British-born comedian was good, but she wasn't Katt. And it was clear that the crowd had come for Katt.
Yashere bagged on the crumbling American healthcare system, Americans' addiction to prescription medication and other things America did wrong in general. Her "fucks this"s and "fuck that"s quickly became grating, but her time was thankfully limited. I thought we were going to get Katt back to the stage -- and we did, but only for a minute.
Big Pussy reappeared briefly to introduce John Witherspoon -- famous to most for his role of Mr. Jones, Ice Cube's father in the Friday series. Witherspoon spent the first several minutes of his routine reprising his famed Friday role, dropping all of his signature lines and crude gestures.
It was entertaining, sort of, but it wasn't Katt, and there was a growing feeling that no one was really driving this bus. The show was under way, but where it was going was unclear.
Comedian Cortney Gee followed, and many in the audience took this opportunity to head back up the mountainous stairs to the bar. Ten minutes of mediocre jokes followed before Katt reappeared again as Big Pussy, announcing a very unnecessary "fifteen minute intermission." This was when the road really got bumpy.
A good thirty minutes later, two more comedians were thrown to the wolves, and the audience was now audibly wondering if Willams was ever going to take the stage. Finally, around 10:50 p.m., the fuckery appeared to have come to an end, and Katt returned dressed as, from what I could tell, himself, trailing a cloud of his signature weed smoke.But the man who stood in front of us was a mess. He paced the stage, sweating and singing, rapping in mumbles to the song booming overhead, facing what was left of the raucous crowd. He ripped his shirt off, did some stunt-like push-ups and more pacing, pouring water all over his face and body.