It’s Economics 101: During hard times and increasing competition, secure your viability by diversifying your brand. Maybe? If I had ever taken Econ I’d know. That sounds good anyway, so I’m going with it. And so is Bonnaroo: Music festivals are in full glut swing and there just aren’t enough good bands to go around (e.g. how many bands on this lineup have you even heard of? I’m at like 50%). But still, short a Portis-or-Radiohead set, this will probably be my favorite festival this summer because, when there ain’t shit to watch, there’s plenty of shit-talking to laugh at.
Bonnaroo pre-billed Chris Rock’s mainstage set opening for Metallica as “the largest crowd for a comedy set in history.” The part of that sentence I love is the “opening for Metallica” bit. Watching the cheering/jeering muscle heads line the front-row fence had me fearing a Crowded House–>Rage Against The Machine situation, and clearly I wasn’t the only one. Enter Crowd Hostility Diffusing Mechanism #1: Have the Heavy Dudes do an introduction. Out Kirk and Lars came, psyching up the crowd, introducing Rock as their “good friend” and the “best comedian on the planet.” The next hour bore out about half that claim, Chris killing through new material on the presidential election, like:
Hillary needed to act like a lady. A real lady leaves before the lights come up. It’s the ho’s that are running around the parking lot asking, ‘Is there an after party? I hear there’s something going on at the Marriot.’
You have to have an ego to run for president. Do you know how many Puff Daddy shakes you have to drink to think you can be president? How many Kanye injections you need to take? Oh Kanye has the biggest ego in this place. He gets mad he didn’t win Miss America. ‘What, I’m American!’
Everyone’s always asking, ‘Are we ready for a black president? Are we ready for a female president?’ Of course we are! We just had a retarded one!
Related, on gas prices:
Let me tell you something: If I invade IHOP, pancakes are going to be cheaper in my house.
Also we got a riff on Isiah Washington’s calling his castmate “faggot”:
When are we gonna learn it’s not the word, but the context in which it’s used?
On the alt. tip, earlier in the day I swung into the comedy circus tent for rising dudes John Mulaney and Reggie Watts, and always awkward and hilarious dude Zach Galifianakis. John did well warming up with his riffs on Jerry Orbach’s eyes and drag queens in Brooklyn, and Zach did well being Zach (see: tag archives). But if there was ever a “comedian” custom built for a music festival setting, it is Reggie. Playing with diction and speech patterns to facilitate your E trip, beat boxing and looping soul croons about fucks and shits and stacks, proving all it takes is a pretty melody to sound deep with an impromptu and nonsensical piano ballad. Music, sense disorientation, laughs. I.e. Bonnaroo. I.e. Reggie Watts.
Other great comics that are here but I didn’t get to see perform include Louis C.K., Brian Posehn, Leo Allen, Mike Birbiglia, Janeane Garofalo, and Aziz Ansari (who did an unannounced set after Reggie Watts at Friday night’s midnight comedy show). If you missed A, too, don’t worry — you’ll be seeing plenty of him soon enough on The Office spinoff. Photos of the funny guys I did manage to see are here.