Clusterfest 2017 lived up to its title: A complete shit show of live comedy and music, and MC was present to soak in every moment of the action. To accommodate all the performers, downtown San Francisco blocked off its Civic Center district to allow for DJs, comedians and bands across six stages perform throughout the early June weekend.
Ice Cube: The hip-hop legend performed at the event’s main stage (“Colossal Stage”), taking the mostly hipster crowd on a 45-minute adventure through the rapper’s established career. No surprise, fans lost their mind when Cube performed “It Was A Good Day.”
Kevin Hart / The Plastic Cup Boyz: The Plastic Cup Boyz (Joey Wells / Na’im Lynn, Will “Spank” Horton) warmed up the audience with three short sets before Friday’s headliner Kevin Hart took the stage. It didn’t take long for Hart to remind the crowd of why he’s so awkwardly aggressive on stage, with stories about his wife on game night, children disobeying him, and how pornography has no place in a real relationship.
Other Friday attractions included Ty Segall, Lil Dicky, Chris Hardwick, TJ Miller, Sarah Silverman and much more.
Fred Armisen: With so much going on, we were only able to catch the last few minutes of Armisen’s performance on the main stage, and in those few moments he had us feeling remorse for not catching the whole act. During the Q&A, there were questions about Portlandia, requests for improv and a notable “Garth & Kat” SNL singing routine with audience members.
Tig Nataro / Hannibal Buress: Tig Nataro and Hannibal Buress performed short sets on the Bill Graham Stage along with opening acts Jake Weisman and Nick Vatterott. With this collection of comics, the bill felt like an energetic sandwich: Nick Vatterrott and Hannibal Buress opened and closed the show with loud and energetic performances while Tig Nataro and Jake Weisman were the more intimate, awkward center.
The crowd was enthusiastic throughout, but the excitement in the room was palpable for Buress’ set specifically. With little segue between jokes (which Buress even made a joke of) the highlight had to be his breakdown of a Reddit post where someone described, in detail, a night she spent with the comedian.
Wayne’s World 25th Anniversary Reading: Oh, man. The feels! Has it been 25 years already? To honor the quarter decade of Wayne’s World’s existence, members of Broad City (Ilana Glazer & Abbi Jacobson) along with Tia Carrere reprising her role as “Cassandra” and various comedian friends read through the Wayne’s World script to a packed auditorium. Standout moments included Ron Funches’ hilarious take on Wayne’s ex-girlfriend, Jacobson’s spot on reenactment of Garth, and of course Carrere performing two songs with the house band.
Rachel Bloom: Rachel Bloom graced the “Piazza Del Cluster” stage to perform a mixture of stories, stand up and songs from her hit show “Crazy Ex Girlfriend.” Despite her fear that her “Jewish hair wouldn’t survive San Francisco’s windy climate,” she looked great and didn’t miss a beat.
Chromeo: In one of the few non-comedic moments of the weekend, Canadian duo Chromeo brought fans into an 80s-dance party trance with cut jeans, synthesizers, a chrome guitar, and some serious voice box action. The band performed hits from all over their catalog while also announcing that a new record is in the works. Standout cuts included “Night By Night,” “Hot Mess” and “Sexy Socialite,” with P-Thug using his voice box to fill in the missing female vox in the breakdown.
Photo credit: Clusterfest Facebook
Bill Burr: If you follow Bill Burr’s many adventures (“F is for Family,” “Monday Morning Podcast”) you have a pretty good idea what to expect from a late-night set in freezing cold weather. But just in case you weren’t sure, Burr reminded the audience throughout his 45-minute set his feelings on performing “in a freezing cold parking lot” in typical angry Burr fashion. The audience followed every step of the way, even as he patronized both sides of the political party and reminded the chilly crowd that just because you’re in the military, doesn’t automatically make you a hero. Unfortunately, Burr’s wrist watch was 2 minutes slow, so the set ended on an awkward punchline, but it only added sauce to the bitterness that was his entire set. A bitterness that fans, and this writer, definitely enjoyed.
Photo credit: Clusterfest Facebook
Other Saturday performances included podcast tapings of 2 Dope Queens & How Did This Get Made, a Broad City screening with cast Q&A, SuperJam Featuring Les Claypool’s Bastard Jazz, and much more.
South Park: While the very busy creators of South Park weren’t in attendance at Clusterfest, the festival went all out recreating a life-size model of the town; including Randy’s big balls, the insides of Mr. Slave, a Casa Bonita pop-up restaurant, and so much more. Each part of the town was staged for photographs so fans could play the role of an unknown visitor to the Colorado town.
Paddy’s Pub: While “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” isn’t a Comedy Central show, that didn’t stop the festival from recreating the entire Paddy’s Pub bar for a full weekend activation. Always Sunny creator Rob McElhenney (“Mac”) made an appearance to play the role of bartender with patrons as well as engage in a game of competitive “flipadelphia,” a popular game from an episode of the show.
Other attractions included the Apartment set from Seinfeld and various pop-up restaurants themed to the infamous sitcom (“NO SOUP FOR YOU!” / “THE BIG SALAD”). Unfortunately, the line for the Seinfeld set was so long, we didn’t have an hour to wait to see it. From what we heard, however, it was well worth the wait.
We were unable to attend Sunday’s festivities, and damn if we aren’t bummed we missed it. Just look at this line up: Jerry Seinfeld, Anthony Jeselnek, Tegan & Sara, Anna Farris, Lizzo and much more.
For a full recap, visit http://clusterfest.com.