By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — While comedy has become a significant part of many major music festivals ranging from Washington state’s Sasquatch! Music Festival, Bonnaroo and San Francisco’s own Outside Lands, this weekend’s inaugural Colossal Clusterfest at San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza will flip the script. Sponsored by Comedy Central, the three-day celebration is presenting on a broad range of stand-up, sketch comedy, live podcasts and several interactive attractions based on popular shows like Seinfeld and South Park, but also includes an array of musical performers and culinary presentations throughout the weekend on multiple stages.
- Photos: Clusterfest Rolls Into Saturday
- Photos: Colossal Clusterfest Kicks Off In San Francisco
- Photos: Colossal Clusterfest Takes Shape At Civic Center
Colossal Clusterfest will feature it’s mix of comedy and music on three main performance areas — the large outdoor Colossal Stage between the main library and the Asian Art museum and the smaller Piazza Del Cluster Stage as well as the Bill Graham Stage inside the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. But there will also be more intimate stages inside the Civic (the Larkin Comedy Club and Room 415 Comedy Club) and other activities scheduled around the festival grounds and in the recreation of Paddy’s Pub from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia set up on the first floor of the Civic. The Seinfeld area will offer additional entertainment with its full-scale set of Jerry’s apartment and what promises to be the biggest Festivus celebration in human history. Meanwhile, the South Park section will give fans a chance to play in the Memberberry Ball Pit, partake of small-town food court offerings at Tweek Bros Coffee, Casa Bonita and Raisins or attend show-inspired culinary events like the Chili Con Carnival and Manbearpig Roast.
The Colossal Stage will be hosting the event’s main headliners: diminutive shoe salesman turned urban comedy giant and blockbuster actor Kevin Hart on Friday, caustic, brutally honest stand-up Bill Burr on Saturday and observational humorist and star of arguably the most popular sitcom ever, Jerry Seinfeld on Sunday. In some cases, those headliners will be making additional appearances during the weekend. Seinfeld will interview Burr in an onstage version of his popular web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee Sunday afternoon, while Burr also participates in the God—n Comedy Jam earlier Saturday evening as he and fellow stand-ups Michelle Buteau, Pete Davidson and Big Jay Oakerson trying their hand at live music with comedian Josh Adam Meyer’s band.
The Colossal stage will also feature many of the festival’s bigger music acts including iconic NWA co-founder Ice Cube (Friday), electro-rock favorites Chromeo (Saturday), indie-pop duo Tegan and Sara (Sunday), rising MCs Vince Staples (Friday) and Jidenna (Sunday), and an early Sunday evening appearance by SNL veteran Maya Rudolph‘s acclaimed Prince tribute band Princess with her friend and collaborator, LA singer-songwriter Gretchen Lieberum. Other musical highlights include a Friday evening set on the Piazza Del Cluster Stage by former San Francisco resident and reigning garage-rock genius Ty Segall, New Orleans institution the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Saturday’s “Superjam” appearance on the same stage by eclectic Primus bass maestro Les Claypool and his improvisational group Bastard Jazz with comedian/musician Fred Arminsen and additional special guests. Bay Area DJ heroes D-Styles and Shortkut of the legendary Invisibl Skratch Piklz crew will also be holding down the Bill Graham Civic stage between acts on Friday and Sunday with some unique displays of tandem turntable wizardry.
But as one might expect from a Comedy Central-sponsored festival, the majority of the entertainment will focus on laughs. A veritable who’s who of current stand-up talent will take the mic including such theater and club headliners as Sarah Silverman, Hannibal Buress, Chris Hardwick, Natasha Leggero, Aparna Nancherla, T.J. Miller, Tig Notaro, Anthony Jeselnik, Ron Funches, Kyle Kinane, Hari Kondubalu, The Daily Show regulars Hasan Minhaj and Roy Wood, Jr. and many others.
Staged versions and Q&A sessions about a variety of Comedy Central programs also fill the schedule with The Goreburger Show, socially minded panel discussion show Problematic with Moshe Kasher, The Trump Show featuring comedian Anthony Atamanuik and his uncanny impersonation of the president, and Broad City with stars Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson. There will also be live presentations of such popular podcasts as Politically Re-Active with Berkeley-based stand-up and host of the defunct FX series Totally Biased and the current CNN hit The United Shades of America W. Kamau Bell and aforementioned comic Kondubalu, Anna Faris Is Unqualified with the star of the CBS sitcom Mom, bad movie podcast How Did This Get Made? with improv actors Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas and June Diane Raphael and 2 Dope Queens with comics Phoebe Robinson and Baron Vaughn. For tickets, additional information on the three-day festival and more, visit the Colossal Clusterfest website.
Friday-Sunday, June 2-4, 2 p.m. (5 p.m. Fri.) $99.50-$599.50
San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza