Was Katt Williams Really a Pimp? What the Comedian Has Said

Elizabeth Randolph - Author

Jan. 4 2024, Published 3:42 p.m. ET

Katt Williams
Source: Getty Images

Comedian and Emmy-winning actor Katt Williams rarely minces his words in the public eye. Since rising to fame in the early 2000s, Katt has unabashedly shared his hot takes on the state of comedy and the lack of appreciation he feels he receives from the industry.

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Katt's hot takes, which he always delivers in his distinguishable voice and cadence, are among the many things his fans recognize him for. Fans also identify the comedian with his various roles as a pimp in films such as Friday After Next, The Boondocks, and his standup specials.

Due to Katt's seamless approach to portraying a pimp on film, some fans are convinced he may have been one in real life. But is that true? Here's the tea on Katt Williams' ties to the pimp community.

Katt Williams wearing a University of Miami hoodie
Source: Getty Images
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Katt Williams opened up about being a pimp at 17.

Katt's career seemingly happened overnight. In 2002, he made his film debut as Money Mike in Friday After Next, where he played a money-hungry pimp who befriended Ice Cube's character, Craig. Katt's role as Money Mike resulted in his pimp persona, which he displayed in his comedy specials, The Pimp Chronicles and It's Pimpin' Pimpin.' More notably, Katt lent his voice to the role of a Pimp Named Slickback on The Boondocks.

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After growing up as a gifted student in Cincinnati, Ohio, Katt eventually left his city for a career in Hollywood. However, his road to stardom wasn't easy, as he found himself homeless and struggling to find means to support himself. Eventually, Katt turned to the streets and admitted to pimping as a means to survive.

In November 2022, YouTube account Inappropriate Shorts posted a clip from one of Katt's radio interviews. The account didn't share where Katt's interview occurred, but he briefly discussed his time as a pimp when he was 17.

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During the interview, Katt claimed he was "selling door to door" when he stumbled upon a house in the neighborhood. The house had five women in it, who Katt said were sex workers. The comedian said the women were "sobbing uncontrollably" because they had witnessed their former pimp be shot to death in the house before Katt arrived. Fearing for their lives, Katt said the women turned to him for the next steps.

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"I said if you can tell me what to do, I'll do it," the comedian said in his interview.

Katt added that he didn't get into pimping for the money, stating he was only adapting to "the situation I was put in." He also didn't share how long he was the women's pimp, though he declared in the interview that "Those five women made Katt Williams."

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Katt Williams walking in a blazer and hat
Source: Getty Images

Katt Williams said he turned down pimp roles once he realized he was being "pigeonholed" to playing one.

While Katt was technically a pimp at one point in his life, he has since left the lifestyle on the stage. Despite his past run-ins with the law, the comedian has no record of soliciting anyone as a public figure. The comedian also hasn't played a pimp or mentioned the profession in his comedy since the early aughts.

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In a 2015 interview with The Virginia Pilot, Katt said he began turning down roles where he played a pimp because it no longer aligned with his trajectory as an actor and comedian. When he became famous for his portrayal, Katt said he wanted to avoid becoming a "gimmick."

“It’s the reason I can be the pimp comedian, and 17 years later, I haven’t told a joke about putting a woman on the street because it was never about that,” Katt said. “It was about being way different than the norm. I was fortunate that I didn’t have to gimmick it.”

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Katt added that he changed his topics once he began feeling like he was being typecasted as a pimp. Doing so earned him roles outside his silk-haired alter ego, like his Emmy-winning role as Willy, or "Alligator Man," in Atlanta.

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“Being stereotyped or pigeonholed is likely to happen anytime you do something well,” Katt shared. “In the next five or six years, when I’d get all these pimp roles, I had to turn them down because I didn’t want to be stuck anywhere. I was trying to be the best comedian I could be and to make sure I kept the connection with my fan base. I thought the clearest way to do that was to stay as real, steady, and honest as possible.”

While Katt isn't too involved in the pimp life on or off-camera, fans will always appreciate his accurate and hilarious portrayal of them!

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