If you want to know what’s really going on with Katt Williams, don’t try believing whatever the tabloid magazines or gossip sites mislead you into thinking, especially when you can go straight to the source.

Thank goodness for Arsenio Hall.

Having Arsenio back on late-night TV provides a place where a Katt Williams can go to fill us in on his side of the story. Retirement? Comeback? On Hall’s show Thursday night, Williams offered some fresh perspective and context. Word!

“To come back, it means you went somewhere. And you either went somewhere because your fanbase said, ‘Have a seat,’ or yourself or some entity had you take a seat. Now, now, now you are counting on your fanbase at all of those times. The prayer warriors. The people that liked you before you was as successful as you were. And the new people. And the people that like the way you think. You need all those people to come together and go, ‘We could, this is all nice, but we could use something refreshing.’ And that’s why Arsenio gets to come back — not trying to come back, but he gets to come back exactly how he left.” (Audience makes Dog Pound woof noises!) “It’s a fact. I’m saying, not come back from The Arsenio Hall Show and then come do cameos. No, no. Arsenio Hall Show to Arsenio Hall Show. That’s the consistency that we got to be able to have. And, so, once we and that portion of population see that you and other people are able to do that, we go, ‘Oh, so, it’s our time again.’ Well, it’s good! It’s good for that. No disrespect to knockoffs. Knockoffs are wonderful. They serve a purpose. But the original is always the best.”

Williams is talking about himself, too, of course.

And yet. As he soberly recounts to Hall on the couch here, Williams can be more honest with himself offstage than the guy you think you knew and loved as an overhyped pimp king of comedy.

“I heckle me privately in a way that you wouldn’t imagine, because I am not a fan of mine. I don’t think I’m the greatest comedian. I don’t think I’m good looking. I don’t think any of that. I think exactly what the facts are, and I think if I got my act together, I could be greater than whatever I am right now. And I think if I mess up, I should be able to fix it, and re-right the ship and get on.

“But that doesn’t come from anybody’s personal philosophy. That comes from what we are — the DNA we are born with as Americans — that’s really how we get down. Like, we like to take a punch in the face and then go, ‘Was that it?’ That’s us. That’s us.”

Hear him tell it like it is, and like it was — “There was a lesson that I needed to learn,” he said, describing the past couple of years of mix-ups with the law, and his penchant for truth-telling, no matter the consequences.

Arsenio Hall wants to buy the Los Angeles Clippers, or at least get a group together. So Williams offered $1,600.

Then, after another break, Katt Williams took the mic to freestyle rap about power and women.

I had some great conversations with Katt Williams from 2006-2007, then one weird one with him in 2008 right when his life and career really took a turn. Happy to see him back in action.