T.J. Miller (photo: Jon Bauer)
It may not be clear, but I actually really like to laugh.
I am not always crying. I am usually pretending I am not sad, just making really bad jokes and laughing at myself. I watch a lot of TV too and throughout it all Comedy Central has always been there for me. I am the youngest of three, and the older two are 7 and 12 year older than me and men. My 7-years-older brother actually had a lil’ phase where he wanted to be a comedian, so my whole youth was classic comedies and, well, novelas (thanks to my parents). From a very too-early age, my older brothers introduced me to South Park. Sure, I have no clue if Kenny is still dying a lot or if he’s in the show at all anymore, but I will never forget getting really sad whenever Kenny died and being obsessed with a Christmas Poop. So when I found out that Comedy Central was having their very first comedy/music fest called Colossal Clusterfest, I had to find a way to go. I did. I went and I am going to now tell you about it.
Three Good Things:
- There were so many separate events happening that it actually wasn’t too overwhelmingly full all the times. Yes, I did have to sit on the floor when I saw Hannibal Buress, but I actually enjoy feeling close to the floor, especially when I am avoiding all low feelings. I could easily find spaces to be alone, to move around, to breathe, and I could easily escape any crowd when I felt trapped.
- The South Park theme attraction was a wonderful place to take photos or to just sit with friends and pretend you are all still young and naive. Even though we are all still young and naive, but what made us young and naive as kids makes us crazy as adults.
- Broad City.
- Wow. I only went on Saturday and Sunday, but Saturday was all Broad City. Found my way into the How Did This Get Made? podcast live recording with Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas, and June Diane Raphel. Guess who the special guests were? Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer of Broad City. That was just pure funny, especially as someone who spends whole days just laying in bed watching B-movies and critiquing them. Who knew you could make a successful podcast out of what I do when I am depressed?
- Then I saw the Wayne’s World 25th Anniversary live reading with Broad City, which is actually the main reason I wanted to go to this. Wayne’s World is one of the most important films to my youth. I think the toughest part was not singing along to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” but the easiest part was forgetting I had been anxious at all. Tia Carrere, who played Cassandra in Wayne’s World, was there to read her own lines, and she even sang her opening song. Jacobson’s rendition of Garth is my everything. If I die before Abbi Jacobson I want her to narrate my biopic (because I am amazing and will have a biopic) as Garth. John Michael Higgins, Chris Gethard, Eliot Glazer (Ilana’s brother), and Tig Notaro also joined in on the live reading, plus more I can’t remember the names of.
- Afterward, there was a Q&A with them where they showed us the first episode of the next season of Broad City. The next season is already my favorite season because it’s dark, depressing, and hilarious.
Four Things That Made Me Anxious:
- No, I never was at the front of any of the performances unless I got there 30 minutes early and waited in line. No, I did not get to see the New Negroes because there were so many people in line, who I assumed were not actual fans of the performers, but maybe I am just biased against rich older people. I hate lines. I hate waiting to go to attractions after waiting in a line to get into the festival. This isn’t Disneyland! But…Clusterfest sort of was Disneyland for meme-makers-Redditors-totally-into-tech-prolly-knows- all-the-lines-to-Superbad-ers and total angelic nerds and people with extra money who only go out on the weekend. Tickets ranged from $99.50 (1 day) – $599.50 (3-day VIP), and yet they still had to wait an hour just to see a full-scale recreation of Jerry’s Seinfeld apartment. This was Disneyland for adults who really love sitcoms. I only waited in two lines, and if there was a long line for something, I purposely avoided it.
- I was hungover on Saturday, which does explain why everything made me anxious.
- I paid 17 dollars for a mixed drink.
- There was a no-phone rule, but they made an app for the festival, which told you where you were and what was going on as notifications. A lot of the times no one really cared if you snapped one photo or checked your texts during a show, but most of me was really terrified to even try. By Sunday I was less terrified but then when I wanted to take a video of Tegan and Sara singing “Nineteen” I noticed others getting in trouble by a security guard because of their phones. So I did not personally take many photos, but hey, my phone did not die.
The Music That I Wouldn’t Miss:
- Lizzo is everything and every other musical act was overshadowed by her brilliance.
- “Princess,” aka Maya Rudolph and Gretchen Lieberum’s Prince cover band. I love Maya Rudolph, she has always been one of my favorite comedians, and to this day is my favorite person to ever be on SNL. I am so happy she exists, and that I was able to see her rock that stage.
- Watching Tegan and Sara live was a dream come true and the best way to start off Pride month in SF ever.
- I left the Wayne’s World live reading a little early because I had to catch Rachel Bloom, because Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is my go to cheer-the-heck-up show. The show also features a local from Daly City, Vincent Rodriguez III, who one time came to my high school drama class (my drama teacher had once been his) and told us we had nice faces. I told everyone this.
- I did see Vince Staples and yes, he is amazing.
- This fest was the cleanest I had ever seen Civic Center Plaza since I was born up the block 25 years ago.
- “Lunches With Funches” was amazing, and because it was in the Bay Area Ron Funches did a segment where he asked the chefs all the questions from E-40’s “Choices.”
- I am now a huge fan of Politically Re-Active with W. Kamau Bell & Hari Kondabolu. Before I was a decent fan, ya know, I liked Bell’s tweets when they came on my timeline. Now I want to read, listen, and watch everything they have ever done, because there show is meant for people like me. People who are not white (and not other things) and who care about politics, but need to dissect it and laugh at it because sometimes it can be too much emotionally. Also W. Kamau Bell is from the Bay Area. He’s incredibly successful, but you also might still run into at Trader Joe’s in Berkeley. Then they even brought out Phoebe Robinson, who is also just phenomenal in every way.
- I had a blast avoiding Jerry Seinfeld, because he reminds me of the older men that write very negative thinkpieces about millennials. I also did not grow up watching or caring for Seinfeld. So for me he will always just be the bee from Bee Movie.
- I had looked forward to singing “El Scorcho” by Weezer at one of the karaoke events. I went to the last one hosted by the The Whitest Kids U’ Know‘s Trevor Moore and Darren Trumeter instead of seeing Seinfeld. But there were too many people and only an hour, and I left kind of sad because I didn’t get to sing the one song.
- I’m really happy I got to see Hannibal Buress live because he reminded people that Bill Cosby was not as great we wanted to pretend, and overall, Buress is one of the most important current comedians. He deserves many awards.
Imagine Sketchfest crammed into three days, and that is what Colossal Clusterfest was. I wish I could do it all again.