Come June, you can leave your Hart, as well as your Seinfeld and your Silverman, in San Francisco when Viacom principal Comedy Central joins forces with Superfly, presenter of the Bonnaroo and Outside Lands music festivals, and co-producer Another Planet Entertainment, to launch the modestly named Colossal Clusterfest. It’s slated to run June 2-4 at San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza and Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, culminating with a live Comedy Central special.
Colossal Clusterfest aims to do for the icons of Millennial comedy what Burning Man and Bonnaroo have done for music and other contemporary art happenings: Bring folks together for a paid communal experience featuring a wide range of programming, tons of food and ancillary experiences that will promote diversity and, not coincidentally, their brands. The inaugural lineup includes Sarah Silverman & Friends, Ice Cube, Hannibal Buress, Tig Notaro, Pete Davidson, Fred Armisen, Natasha Leggero, Tegan and Sara, Chromeo, Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, Bob Odenkirk, Vince Staples, Chris Hardwick, Reggie Watts, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Princess featuring Maya Rudolph, and Gretchen Lieberum. (The full lineup is available at http://www.clusterfest.com.)
“For a long time we’ve been really looking at the festival space,” Comedy Central president Kent Alterman said, discussing plans for the event at Superfly’s Midtown New York office. “It’s a great opportunity to connect directly with our fans and utilize the talent that is part of the fabric of what we do on a daily basis.
“We’ve had experience with comedy festivals in different regards – those festivals are always very fractured experiences that are all over town,” Alterman added. “Several years ago we got to know these guys at Superfly by going to Bonnaroo [and] Outside Lands, and those festivals are just complete holistic experiences that bring people together, where everything is happening in this almost communal atmosphere.”
The festival includes interactive attractions featuring three iconic comedy shows: Comedy Central’s South Park, FXX’s It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and Seinfeld. It will also incorporate musical performances and collaborations between musicians and comedians across five indoor and outdoor stages.
“Music is in our DNA,” said Superfly co-founder Jonathan Mayers. “And we’ve always had comedy as an ingredient at Bonnaroo and Outside Lands.” Mayers said that San Francisco was chosen as the site of the new festival because of Superfly’s decade-long experience presenting Outside Lands in the city’s Golden Gate Park.
On June 4, as the festival comes to a close, Comedy Central will present a live 90-minute on-air special hosted by @midnight’s Chris Hardwick and will feature a team of on-the-ground comedian correspondents, taped performances, collaborations, highlights, interviews and behind-the- scenes segments from the Colossal Clusterfest weekend, as well as live wrap-arounds from the last day.
“Comedy has become such a huge part of the Millennial audience lives, in terms of how they identify themselves,” Alterman said. “In our generation growing up it was all about music…comedy over the last decade or so overtook music.”