Festival Supreme: The Five Best Moments
It's been touted as the Coachella of comedy. LOLapalooza. WitStock. But this wasn't just any music and comedy festival. This was Festival Supreme.
Daniel Reskin Tenacious D.
The title of the Santa Monica, California, comedy and music festival was befitting of the event's hosts, the once self-proclaimed but now widely accepted greatest band in the world, Tenacious D. And this South by SouthJest's grand lineup was made up, essentially, of the band's friends. It was heartbreaking deciding which acts to see and which to sacrifice to the comedy gods, but here are our most Supreme moments of the festival.
(Oh yeah, Boneroo.)
5. The Balance of Musical Comedy
Musical comedy is all about the ratio. Is the music a backdrop for humor, or is comedy woven into music that stands on its own? Using Tenacious D as a perfect 50/50 music to comedy cream dream, there were a few acts that sacrificed pure laughs to double down on the musicality. Craig Robinson was 60/40, opening with a funk drenched cover of "If You're Happy and You Know It" that had the crowd repeating lascivious lyrics. Versatile character master Fred Armisen did his set as a legendary, generic British rocker. If you didn't know better, you'd swear "Hey Policeman - A Boot Goes in Your Face" was a classic punk anthem. And Princess (Maya Rudolph and Gretchen Lieberum) was strictly Prince covers, though the song "Jack U Off" is always funny.
4. Neil Hamburger's One Man Tent
Most people viewing the lineup saw three stages, but there were actually four. "America's Funnyman" Neil Hamburger performed early with a full band, and then spent the rest of the evening in his cozy One Man Tent, sputtering out 30 second stand-up sets directly to fans, one by one. Even Tim & Eric's Eric Warheim tried to go in with another person and Neil berated them nearly to tears. "But that's my life!"
3. Mr. Show Showdown with Adam Sandler
It's been years since HBO's sketch comedy gem Mr. Show with Bob and David, and with the sketch duo's continued individual successes, their following is stronger than ever. They reunited on stage in huge character heads of themselves, and took the crowd on the self-aware journey we hoped for. Annoyingly to those in back, much of the sound was drowned out by Adam Sandler at the main stage, and when the video feed cut from Mr. Show close-ups to Sandler's performance across the pier, the Mr. Show crowd lost it fast enough that it cut right back. Jack Black later jokingly apologized for this, saying it was on purpose and some high comedy art.
2. Triumph's Guest Stars
Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (aka Robert Smigel) took the main stage and had the sold out crowd rolling from line one: "It's hard to follow Zach Galifianakis... unless you're a cloud of flies." Perched behind his old-timey puppet theater, Smigel elicited explosive applause as guest after guest would join his songs. Conan O'Brien sauntered on stage to criticize Triumph for his hurtful lyrics, which he then finished in a beautiful rendition of "Cats are Cunts." Jack Black, Megan Mullally, Reggie Watts, and Sarah Silverman all joined in to belt out the Lady Gaga-esque finale.
The D and Special Mystery Guests
Naturally, Tenacious D headlined their festival, skillfully mixing old hits, new songs, and special appearances in their tidy hourlong set. After the satanic rock robot known as "the Metal" defeated the evil alien squid, The D revealed the special mystery guests: The Lonely Island. Andy, Jorma, and Avika flooded the stage with their street-smarmy energy and wove Tenacious D into a medley of their hit viral songs. This well rehearsed collaboration wasn't just hilarious; it also sounded better than most regular concerts. The final solos were epic and Jack Black's voice solo of the first verse of The Cars' "Just What I Needed" melted my brain's face.
Billy Idol "accidentally" opening for Eric Idle. They sang the "Lumberjack Song" together before he left.
The Mighty Boosh in a rare live show. Costumes, Naboo with a mustache, Old Gregg and more mad Boosh mythos.
Garfunkle & Oats starting at 2:45 and holding it down while everyone was still in line.
Too many stand-up comics we didn't get to see.
Daniel Reskin is a Miami stand-up comedian, writer, and podcaster. He has been a true D-sciple since his impressionable tween years.