Festival Supreme October 25, 2014 Shrine Expo Hall & Grounds
This year's Festival Supreme was held at the Shrine and right away I could tell that this venue was going to work out better than 2013's, the Santa Monica Pier. Not only because there was more room to roam around, but also, they upped the ante from three to four stages.
This year's addition was called "Circus of Death" and the indoor room was, well, wild. Dimly-lit with so many things to look at, there was spooky artwork, crazy lights, a church bounce house, and even a train you could buy tickets to ride. With a small, low stage in the middle of the room, my thought immediately was, "This room would be perfect to trip out in."
Being that all of the acts overlap each other at Festival Supreme, you have to pick and choose what you want to see, so I first headed to The Phantom Stage for Jerrod Carmichael. Riding the success of his new HBO special, Carmichael hit the stage and mentioned, "There is definitely some drug use up in here!" That was of course met with uproarious applause and he went on to talk about new and old fears, girlfriend issues, his new aggressive views, and also gave some Ebola advice. The crowd LOVED him.
After Carmichael's set, I decided to roll outside because I couldn't wait to check out what was going on. Food stands, food trucks, plenty of bars, and a lovely song about squirting were all waiting for me. Awkwafina was on stage and while I couldn't see her (how about some screens Festival Supreme?), what I heard was--ahem--interesting. I have no idea who Awkwafina is, but I do know that when she spits, apparently "they squirt." So there's that.
Back inside at The Phantom Stage, it was pretty much standing room only downstairs and I caught the tail end of Natasha Leggero. Once she finished, the crowd thinned out so I was able to sit and catch Arj Barker. I must admit, I've heard of Barker but have never seen him live. I was glad I did at Festival Supreme because he was awesome. His set covered red flags when dating, lying about his age (two words: "shit mask"), the "towel code," and how recycling can really make you feel like an alcoholic.
I knew I was missing a ton of stuff outside, but coming up next was Eric Andre and I was NOT going to miss him. Wearing a "Free Boosie" t-shirt, Andre hit the stage and the place went apeshit. Andre admitted to jacking off to anime, how fun it is to blow weed in a baby's face, and how he used to give acid to a retarded kid and it cured him. Ever the jokester, Andre then debuted the first episode from season three of The Eric Andre Show and as you can imagine, hilarity ensued. Definitely a crowd favorite of the day.
Thirsty once again, I went outside for a $5 Red Bull and a $4 water just in time to catch The Dan Band on Franken Stage. Again, this was another act that I'd heard of but it was my first time seeing. That is exactly what makes a festival like this spectacular. I loved them and by looking around, I wasn't alone.
There was no way in hell I was missing Maria Bamford, as I've wanted to see her for what feels like forever. I'm glad I finally did because hot damn, she was better than I could've imagined. She joked about friends leading you astray, the movie War Horse, the correct season for talking people out of suicide, and the regrets she had after killing her best friend (calm down, it was pug). Bamford did not disappoint, and after some confusion over the overly aggressive "five minutes to get off stage" light, the crowd cheered and yelled wildly for her to stay. She did just that and ended with a song made up of fart noises. Adoration doesn't even begin to describe her performance, which was given a semi-standing ovation.
TJ Miller was another crowd favorite, made clear by people screaming out "I LOVE YOU TJ!" as soon as he hit the stage next. His response? "Shut your mouth, you're probably going to die alone." The boozy-stoner audience ate it up. In my opinion, he started off stronger than he finished, but in all, his set was fantastic because he is.
Margaret Cho was up next and while I thought she looked incredible, she went on to tell us that her wardrobe choice was probably not the best to accommodate her "fat pussy." She stayed hilarious the whole time but also took time to address some of the comics we lost this year, which I thought was a really classy touch. She shared a bombing story she had with Joan Rivers, discussed her sexuality, her divorce, and talked about drug use and the word "fag hag." In all, she kept it pretty light and of course, it was amazing.
Cho brought out Norm MacDonald who was wearing shades and a backwards hat almost as if he was in a "cool guy "costume. And you know what? Cool he was. Norm received a well-deserved mini standing ovation as well. Janeane Garofalo (who doesn't age at all, by the way) gave one of her signature smart-comedy sets, which (not to be rude) but might have been a tad too intellectual for a crowd six hours into the Festival Supreme party. I loved her. Also, I'm biased.
Garofalo introduced Nick Kroll who came out like a god damn gangsta knocking water bottles on the ground as the crowd hooted and hollered. Man oh man, the people have spoken and they LOVE Kroll! He did some "city jokes" (sorry, it's too hard to explain but trust, they worked), explained how his drinking, pot use, and feelings about Brussel sprouts have changed over the years, told us what his last meal choice would be, and even threw in a few quips about the Boston marathon, Hitler, and booty calls. Straight up, standing O.
Back outside for the duration of the night was the plan and it seemed like most people had the same idea. You couldn't get away from the aroma of pot (not that I'm complaining) and most of it was coming from around the Gargoyle Stage where Workaholics were umm...singing. Full disclosure: I don't watch their show so I didn't even know they sang. And to be honest, while the beats were knocking, I'm still not sure they can sing. I guess they were dressed like wizards as well but due to the LACK OF SCREENS, I couldn't see anything.
I was fading fast when Peaches jumped on the Franken Stage and yeah, I have no words. I know she's cool and popular but, it's not my scene. Anyway, she was another act I couldn't see AT ALL so I just stood there wondering, "Why do they have her name all huge on the screen but not her??" I guess Bridget Everett and Margaret Cho joined her on stage at the end but it was all hearsay.
The moment I like to think everyone was waiting for was about to happen and everyone took their place in front of the Gargoyle Stage to see Tenacious D. It was packed and again, I couldn't see shit. Luckily, I have ears though. Dressed as a devil and an angel, Jack Black and Kyle Gass hit the stage and the sound was enough to make me lose the one sense I was actually using. Belting out some of their biggest and best tunes, it became a giant sing-along and it was glorious. I hear Weird Al joined them on stage and I would've loved to gaze upon him, but alas...I could not see.
Getting psyched up for ten hours of comedy can be brutal (even for me) and by 10:30 p.m., not even comedy legends Cheech and Chong could keep me there. My feet hurt, I was tired, and even though I am always in it to win it when it comes to comedy, I just had to tap out. Only a fool would say Cheech and Chong sucked so I can only assume that they killed. I do wish I had seen them but I still left completely satisfied with the comedy overload I had received. I can't wait for next year.
Critic's Bias: I know it's not Festival Supreme's fault that I am only 5'2" BUT...how about some big ass screens so everyone can actually see the acts? And not to nitpick (but to totally nitpick), there were screens last year. Come on now.
The Crowd: HOLY HIPSTER HALLOWEEN HEAVEN! I was sad I missed the memo to dress up, but it was undeniable that plenty of other people got it. Hipsters aside (there was a nice assortment of fedoras, Pharrell hats, and Amish-looking hats), the crowd was filled with zombies, white trash (costumes, I assume), Cheechs and Chongs, oodles of Jesuses, and oddly enough, there were several people dressed like bacon. Bacon is the hottest Costume of 2014. You heard it here first.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Look at this guy. He's got a turkey on his head." "I'm not paying $9 for a beer. I can buy a whole fucking case at the store for $10!" "I LOVE YOU MARGARET!!!" "Hey dude. Did you see that Nick Kroll dude? Dude, he is hilarious."
Random notebook dump: Almost 10 hours of comedy= $29 in bottled water. The more you know.
Franken Stage DJ Lance Rock, The Tulsa Skull Swingers, The Upper Crust, The Kyle Gass Band, The Dan Band, The Protomen, The Aquabats, Eagles of Death Metal, Peaches, The State, Dethklok Metalocalypse
Gargoyle Stage Awkwafina, Ronna & Beverly, Bridget Everett, Heidecker & Wood, Bo Burnham, Fred Armisen, Workaholics, Tenacious D, Cheech & Chong
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The Phantom Stage Dr. Demento, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Jerrod Carmichael, Natasha Leggero, Arj Barker, Eric Andre, Kumail Nanjiani, Doug Benson, TJ Miller, Maria Bamford, Norm MacDonald, Margaret Cho, Nick Kroll, Janeane Garofalo, Comedy Bang! Bang!, Scott Aukerman, Drunk History
Circus of Death Alejandro Munoz Pelayo, John Tottenham, Rob Zabrecky, The Haden Triplets, Ron Lynch, Jim Shaw's D'red Dwarf, Spirit Girls, Actually, and more.