Comedy Central’s Colossal Clusterfest, which starts today in San Francisco and runs all weekend, has a packed line-up of comedians, including heavy hitters like Kevin Hart, Sarah Silverman and Jerry Seinfeld. There’s even live musical performances like Chromeo and Tegan and Sara, and food from shows like South Park and Seinfeld. To sum up: there is plenty to get excited about when contemplating the new festival, but we’ve narrowed it down to our top ten most anticipated comedy acts. When planning your own personal Clusterfest schedule, be sure to include these ten can’t-miss shows.
We’re already super pumped that the ladies of Broad City are going to be at Clusterfest, but a live reading of Wayne’s World with special guests? Be still my heart. Abbi and Ilana are reliably fun to watch, and who knows who else will show up to read as Cassandra at a festival like this? There’s really no better way to celebrate the film’s 25th anniversary. We’re taking bets: who’s going to play Wayne and who’s going to play Garth?
Aparna Nancherla’s stand-up is just the right mix of weird and approachable, with topics spanning from the mundane (but somehow hilarious) to her own depression (also somehow hilarious). She might look familiar from appearances on Inside Amy Schumer and Late Night with Seth Meyers (where she’s also a writer), or you may know her for her hilarious tweets. Regardless, don’t miss a chance to see her live at Clusterfest—she’s performing two shows on Friday evening on the Bill Graham Stage.
Rory Scovel’s been performing all over the place for the last several years, from TV (Those Who Can’t, Ground Floor) to movies (Demetri Martin’s Dean, The House) to performing live across the globe. In addition to his admirable work ethic, some of Scovel’s success can be attributed to the fact that he’s so dynamic to watch. When performing live, he’s always trying something new to make real connections with the audience. So go make a connection! A Rory connection.
Baron Vaughn and Open Mike Eagle co-host The New Negroes, a live UCB show that features black comedians sharing their unique perspectives on what it is to be black. The Clusterfest edition is sure to have some great guests that will make you laugh and think (and also laugh). Baron (along with Open Mike Eagle) is a gracious host, and has been extra busy lately with the new Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Grace and Frankie and the upcoming TV version of The New Negroes on Comedy Central. Watch our interview with Baron Vaughn here.
Jo Firestone is an inherently funny person who comes across as so genuine on stage. You immediately connect with her while she has you rolling in the aisles. Maybe some of this comes from practice, as Firestone has been hosting a number of live shows in NYC for years, including Punderdome 3000. She’s appeared on The Chris Gethard Show and currently writes for The Tonight Show, but don’t miss a chance to see her in person where she is perhaps at her best. Watch Jo Firestone perform live at the Paste Studio here.
‘80s music and ‘80s standup? Whaaaat? Tainted Love will feature a cover band of the same name, along with comics doing stand-up sets as if it is the ‘80s. Performers include James Adomian (known for his Bernie Sanders impression and appearances on Comedy Bang Bang and Childrens Hospita), Rachel Bloom (of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and Chris Gethard (of The Chris Gethard Show and Broad City). Put on your leg warmers and get ready for a real Bill and Ted-esque moment as DJ Real hosts a night to remember.
Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson are bringing their super popular WNYC podcast to Clusterfest and we will be there with bells on. The live show podcast features stand-up comedians and special guests, with emphasis on people of color, women and LGBTQ. 2 Dope Queens is sure to feature some great guests (especially considering how many fun comedians will be around for the weekend) and lots of quality banter about U2, sex and everything in between.
You may know Ron Funches from NBC’s shows Powerless and Undateable, or his voicework in the movie Trolls and shows like Bob’s Burgers. This is just a short list of Ron’s credits, and he is always loveable and fun to watch no matter what the role. But Funches really shines on stage, and his easy-going stand-up and infectious laugh make for a completely enjoyable show. Catch him at Clusterfest on Sunday, or attend “Lunches with Funches”, featuring special guests and the chefs of Wexler’s Deli. Watch our interview with Ron Funches here.
Sure, you can see improv anywhere—from high school talent shows to county fairs (for real, I saw improv at a county fair once)—but not with a lineup like this. Fred Armisen stops by for a guest monologue, and performers Ian Brennan, John Michael Higgins, Jessica Makinson, Cole Stratton and Janet Varney spin off into fast-paced, long-form improvised scenes with surprising characters and plot twists. Some iteration of the Theme Park Improv group has performed at comedy festivals all over the place, and with that much talent on stage, it is sure to be a fun ride.
Even if you don’t know Naomi Ekperigin by name, you’ve laughed at her jokes. The comedian has written for sitcom favorites Broad City and Difficult People, and, not surprisingly, excels at observational humor. She’s very charming on stage with a sing-song cadence, and will have you chuckling with ease. She’s performing a few times at Clusterfest, so there’s no reason to miss her if you’re attending the festival. Keep an eye out for her half hour Comedy Central special later this year, too.
Laurel Randolph is a food and lifestyle writer hailing from Tennessee and living in Los Angeles. She enjoys cooking, baking and candlestick making. Tweet at her face: @laurelrandy