Festival Supreme Santa Monica Pier 10/19/13 The Festival Supreme hosted by Tenacious D (aka Jack Black and Kyle Gass) was held on Saturday on the Santa Monica Pier. Unfortunately, the choice of venue spelled trouble from the start for the first-year festival. After looking for parking for 30 minutes and then a long winded walk to the pier, I made it to what I'd call the "main venue." Aside from the festival crowd, the pier was predictably packed with tourists and people without tickets just hanging around clogging the entrance. Inside the gates it was even more crowded and it was clear they'd drastically oversold this thing. The sheer number of people at the festival made it hard to catch most of what fans wanted to see without the aid of a Jumbotron screen. Despite the crowds, I was willing to give the fest a chance and stick through it out through the good, the bad and funny.
See also: Photos of Festival Supreme
There were three areas where the comics would be performing called, "Omega Stage Supreme," "The Mighty Tent," and "Club Intimacy." While each stage had a line-up any fan would kill to see, there was one area (Club Intimacy) that barely anyone could get into. This made seeing some key acts like Patton Oswalt, Sarah Silverman and Demetri Martin pretty much impossible. Also, V.I.P. passes for this event were $250 a pop and all I can say is that if I paid that much and couldn't even get in to see this stage, I'd be beyond pissed. So screw Club Intimacy. I know I missed some great performances (I read up on them via Twitter and it sounded awesome in there) so we'll just have to move on.
The Omega Stage Supreme and The Mighty Tent were in this "main" area. It was about the size of a football field with one stage at each opposite end. The sides were lined with food and drink vendors which was great because the ever present scent of herb was in the air and with seven hours of excitement, definitely riled our appetite for carnival food and booze. With staggered times, fans ran from one end of the "main area" to the other to see the acts. After a few hours, a lot of people sat down in the middle as if to say, "Fuck it. We're tired of walking back and forth." I don't blame them.
Starting with "The Mighty Tent," Molly Bryant was first out followed by Nancy & Beth. I'll be honest, I missed them both due to being at the other side of the venue and standing in a mile long line for a drink, but I'm sure they were great. Virtually every comic I saw, had to be viewed on a screen. I couldn't fight my way to the front of the stage nor could I see over all of the people as I am only 5' 2" on a good day. Jack Black came out to introduce Eric Idle and The Jeff Davis Experience and Billy freaking Idol came out. Okay, what? Billy made a joke about how he thought "he was on the bill" and then Eric Idle and The Jeff Davis Experience came out to entertain. (I loved the STD/herpes song.). Thank God for that Jumbotron or I wouldn't have seen shit.
After that came Reggie Watts and as usual, he did not disappoint. That's probably why the crowd rushed over to see him like a full-on herd of cattle. With his fro bigger than ever, wearing a shirt that said "Vaporize," Watts killed the crowd with his signature beat boxing and musical skill while some rather interesting dancers performed on stage as well.
The Mighty Boosh hit "The Mighty Tent" next and to be honest yet again, at this point all I could think of was how I was missing Patton and Demetri as was the guy who was standing next to me who flew in all the way from Illinois and paid for a "V.I.P." pass.
Zach Galifianakis saved the moment by coming out and doing some actual stand-up, he was hilarious, and he looked better than ever. I'm serious. He must have dropped about twenty pounds. The Mr. Show Experience was the last of "The Mighty Tent" performers and no one was more excited than the gal next to me who came out with her husband all the way from Texas. Of course she only could see it from the Jumbotron as well but in all, they were still hilarious. And the Scott Ian cameo was stellar also. Well, from what I could see.
Now on to the "Omega Stage Supreme." Garfunkel & Oats came out first looking lovely and then BAM!! Their sound cut off. Like true pros, the gals hit the corner of the stage and sang sans the mics without missing a beat. The crowd loved it. Next up, Craig Robinson. He was fucking great engaging the crowd with his sheer presence and fantastic vocals. He really is an all-around entertainer. He was followed by Fred Armisen came out rocking blond hair and stayed in his "Ian Rubbish" character while belting out tunes that totally reminded me of The Ramones. Superb. Maya Rudolph and Gretchen Lieberum's Prince tribute band "Princess" was next and those ladies oozed sex appeal just like the purple man himself. Also well done from what I heard and couldn't see.
I wasn't familiar with The Gregory Brothers but when Jack Black joined them for the "Double Rainbow Song," I was all in. The best act of the whole evening (other than Tenacious D) had to be Triumph The Insult Comic Dog. Yeah, you heard me right. I am also shocked that a god damn puppet stole the whole festival. Telling jokes and singing songs like "Cats are Cunts," Triumph somehow managed (wink wink) to get Conan O'Brien to sing along and later got Jack Black, Megan Mullally, Sarah Silverman, Fred Armisen, and Reggie Watts to all come on stage and belt out tunes with him. So yay. I finally saw Sarah Silverman. No joke folks, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog absolutely killed.
I'm guessing the only man that could follow a puppet that somehow made me want to write such nice things about a fucking puppet would be Adam Sandler. And boy oh boy, you could tell that Sandler had been missed in this type of atmosphere. Singing an ode to Halloween, Piece of Shit Car, and one of my all-time favorite songs EVER, "Medium Pace," Sandler was is a word, excellent.
Tim & Eric followed next and I'm sure it wasn't very fair because at this point, people were ready for the D. And when Tenacious D finally hit the stage with authority, the pier was rocking--literally. I swear the vibrations had me wondering if I'd be on the news because of a collapse at Santa Monica Pier. Holy balls these guys were amazing! The deserving crowd was screaming and singing along to every word while Jack and Kyle instantly made people forget that they went through such chaos getting there and went through any disappointment of venue situations.
And just when you thought it couldn't get amped up anymore, Jack Black mentioned that "almost everyone in comedy, music, and singing were there except for a certain group." BAM! Enter The Lonely Island and the screams were absolutely deafening. Talk about bringing the house (or the pier) down! Whoa. That was a fantastic surprise! Tenacious D thanked the obviously oversold crowd for being there and promised us an even more supreme event next year.
While there was good and bad that came of this day (I paid $22 to park and somehow ended up with a $53 parking ticket. Expect a phone call from me City of Santa Monica!), I certainly do hope they bring it back next year. If I may make a suggestion though--choose a different spot, like the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine.
Side Note: Shout out to the comics that I missed (but wished that I didn't) at "Club Intimacy." I hope you all had a great time and I'm sure I can speak for many people when I say, I hope you'll all be on the main stage next year because that was some bullshit!
Critic's Bias: The line-up was stellar to say the least especially if you love the mix of comedy and music. It was insane to see Tenacious D and the surprise cameos sprinkled throughout the day were a definite highlight. Also, I seriously almost crapped myself when Billy Idol came out to introduce Eric Idle. Random? Yes. Awesome? Hell yes!
The Crowd: The pier was swarming with comedy lovers from all over the country that were young-ish to old. Dressed up and dressed down, potheads and drunks, everyone expected a great time and even though there were many mishaps, the festival remained peaceful. There was also a guy dressed like a penguin. Yeah. No words.
Overheard in the Crowd: "We should really go check out Fred Armisen. He's going to kill it!" "This seriously blows! I hope they're offering refunds!" "Well that wasn't so great. I'm pretty shocked." "Tenacious D just made this whole thing completely worthwhile."
Random notebook dump: After feeling pretty defeated that I wasn't going to be able to see Sarah Silverman, I looked across the "V.I.P." area and witnessed a blond woman completely fall backwards in her chair onto her ass. I know it's mean but at that point, I TOTALLY needed that laugh. I'd give her unintentional dismount a nine out of ten.
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Club Intimacy The Angry Back Up Singer, Sasquatch, The Abe Lincoln Story, The Neil Hamburger Band, Dynasty Handbag, Beardyman, Patton Oswalt, Demetri Martin, Hannibal Buress, Tig Notaro, Will Forte, Sarah Silverman
The Mighty Tent Molly Bryant, Nancy & Beth, Eric Idle & The Jeff Davis Experience, Reggie Watts, The Mighty Boosh, Zach Galifianakis, The Mr. Show Experience
Omega Stage Supreme Garfunkel & Oats, Craig Robinson & The Nasty Delicious, Fred Armisen, Princess, The Gregory Brothers, Triumph, Adam Sandler, Tim & Eric, Tenacious D