Photos: The Quirky, Unpredictable Music And Comedy Of Festival Supreme
Festival Supreme had its third go-round yesterday at the Shrine Expo Hall this weekend. Combining music and comedy, the festival played out in unexpected ways, with comics and musicians alike venturing into bizarre territories.
Festival Supreme, put on by Jack Black and Kyle Gass of Tenacious D, is a melding of comedy and music into a day-long festival that can get pretty weird. Borrowing neon imagery and a casino lounge style from Vegas, the four-stage festival was constantly bustling with no lulls. Most fans were dressed in jeans and T-shirts, but we also caught a fair amount of costumes, including a group of Alice in Wonderland tea party attendees, a Chip 'n Dale's dancing troupe, and a number of Hunter S. Thompsons and Ralph Steadmans.
The day opened with Harmontown, the podcast that mostly consists of writer Dan Harmon (Community, Ricky & Morty) and friends talking about whatever comes to mind. Harmon talked about how he's been staying at The Ace Hotel recently and hates it. Namely, because Harmontown dungeon master Spencer Crittenden was told by a security guard he couldn't eat a KFC sandwich at the rooftop bar, and because their XL T-shirt is sort of small.
We next hit up Nathan Fielder's set, who treated guests to a sneak peek of the upcoming season of Fielder For You, a show about a self-described business guru who rose to notoriety when he decided to help a struggling coffee shop by rebranding them "Dumb Starbucks." Fielder said that Comedy Central had been worried about festival attendees creating bootleg recordings of the clip with their cellphones, so in order to convince the network to let him play it, he had come up with a way to prevent torrenters. He demonstrated a water cannon that would effectively soak and ruin the smartphone of anyone who dared record the clip. Stagehands were seen prowling the theater with the cannons throughout the clip, but never had to use them.
Puddles Pity Party, the singing clown, did both an indoor and an outdoor set of his Pagliacci-style renditions of pop hits. His "My Heart Will Go On" is a crowd-favorite especially as he slowly transitions into more aggressive, exaggerated James Hetfield vocals.
After Puddles, we caught a very short Amy Poehler bit, where Jack Black joined her to announce her (fictitious) departure from film and television. Poehler said she'd been doing live performances instead. She said this had caused her to learn that, "Most people are gross and the world is in trouble." She then talked to a former couple in the audience about their breakup before singing Bette Midler's "The Rose." And that was the end of that weird 15-minute set.
Checking out another Parks & Recreation star revealed a second bizarre act. Aubrey Plaza came out on stage in character as Yolanda, a woman who was obsessed with how we're all going to die.
Tenacious D didn't play 'the hits,' but they did play 29 minutes of experimental jazz during which Black sang, "There are no wrong notes in jazz." Craig Ferguson also popped by, which was a nice surprise. We also managed to catch the the tail end Reggie Watts' set, which involved a pretty accurate Death Grips parody that was met with a standing ovation from the theatre.
We then popped up to the Wedding Chapel where comedians were faux-marrying (and occasionally real-marrying) couples. We tried to watch Brett Gelman (Married, Another Period) marry a couple from Chicago, but were significantly annoyed by two women who thought they were expert hecklers and kept constantly interrupting. They were not funny in the slightest, and Gelman responded by just screaming at them which was oddly cathartic, though perhaps weird for a wedding.
We then stopped for the comparatively peaceful piano stylings of cerebral musical comedian Tim Minchin, who sang as per usual about skepticism and being a redhead, juggling this set with the manic performance from The Darkness outside.
Other highlights included solid stand-up sets from the likes of Kristen Schaal, Tig Notaro and Bill Burr. We also got to see Richard Cheese lounging his way through rock songs, San Diego rock act Rocket from the Crypt, Andrew W.K.'s energetic acoustic set, ass-shaking from New Orleans bounce queen Big Freedia, the original cast of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 riffing over Godzilla vs. Mothra, and new material from legendary Canadian sketch troupe, The Kids In The Hall. Those who were expecting music from Henry Rollins instead found him telling stories about being Henry Rollins, including taking a role in the film Jack Frost (the Michael Keaton one, not the killer snowman horror flick).
The whole show closed on the two outdoor stages with EDM artist Dan Deacon, followed by the delightfully weird Die Antwoord. Die Antwoord invited Jack Black up on stage for an acoustic rendition of a song about how Ninja had a prodigious member before launching into "Ugly Boy."
Given how eclectic this year's lineup was, we're curious to see what Gass and Black do next year.