Oct. 15--Jack Black may not be overhyping something for the first time in his life. Festival Supreme, the daylong music and comedy festival coming to the Santa Monica Pier on Saturday, could be the most awesome gathering of funny noises ever assembled.
Organized by Black and his Tenacious D bandmate Kyle Gass, the three-stage affair will feature sets by some 30 luminaries of the comic universe.
Just some of the acts include Sarah Silverman, Zach Galifianakis, Adam Sandler, Eric Idle & The Jeff Davis Experience, Fred Armisen, Will Forte, Demetri Martin, Craig Robinson & the Nasty Delicious, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Garfunkel & Oates, Patton Oswalt and, of course, Tenacious D.
"I thought that it would be really fun to throw the greatest comedy music festival of all time," the ever humble Black explains. "We did it because we like to have fun, and we like to put on the greatest ... y'know, we're filled with self-congratulatory bombast. That's our forte. So we were like, 'Let's put on the best show of all time. Let's get all of the great powers of comedy music together, and it'll be huge.' We could play the Megadome! And it would be a show to remember."
Black and Gass have organized big music/comedy shows in the past for disaster relief fundraising -- tsunamis, Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake, those kinds of things. But Festival Supreme, they promise, is a purely mercenary endeavor.
"This one is not a benefit, let's just get that out of the way now," Black says. "It's not a charity for anything. We're paying the artists. I'm going to be giving some money to charity, but I don't want to toot my own charitable horn, OK?"
It might be considered a gift to laughter enthusiasts, though, who can get all the comedy they can consume -- plus access to a hilarious art show, a free video game arcade and other amusements -- for $99. Special "Golden Toilet" tickets, which included entry to a VIP viewing area and, apparently, luxury port-a-potties, are still available at $250 a pop.
"This is for the fans, in the spirit, I think, of all these big music festivals that have been happening for the last three decades or so," notes David Cross, who'll be appearing with Bob Odenkirk as The Mr. Show Experience at the festival. "It's a couple of stages, bunch of different acts, and it's a cool idea. Jack is very well connected in that world and that's where he lives. So it's kind of a genius idea."
That said, it took some persuading to pull together such an impressive lineup.
"First, we had to set the scene, set the mood," Black reveals. "It's like when you're romancing a sex partner; you want to set the scene with the right ambience, the right music playing. You know, it's going to be at Santa Monica Pier, the ocean will be beautiful and misty, the sun will be setting, there will be delicious food, there will be your favorite beverages, there will be clean toilets, there will be comfortable places to sit your ass ...
"And then you call everyone you know and love and you want to be in the festival, and you tell them all that everyone else is already in, 'It's just you left, so do you want to come?' Even though it's a lie -- it's a horrible thing -- it does work."
The strictly 21-and-over, no pets allowed event is promoted by Live Nation and tickets are available through Ticketmaster. Though various comedy conclaves in Aspen, Colo., and Montreal's Just for Laughs festival and its spinoffs may have been bigger, they played out over days and didn't bring the high concentration of funny Festival Supreme's one-day only event on the pier promises to have.
Plus, "we're doing something different," Black explains.
"Our emphasis is on comedy music, the combination of. Not to be confused with musical comedies, because it's not a musical," he says.
"It almost was, though," Gass quips. "We were going to do songs from Broadway."
"That's another festival, though," Black quickly replies.
Idle, who may perform numbers from his Broadway hit "Spamalot" as well as some Monty Python and Rutles tunes, sounds pretty impressed by the whole shebang.
"I'm on at 4 in The Mighty Tent with a surprise guest, so see you at tea time on the Pier," Idle said in an email, adding: "and congratulations to Jack Black for dreaming it and doing it."
Why do this on the Pier? Black and Gass checked out other Southern California venues, but ultimately decided this was the place to throw the ultimate L.A. comedy show.
"Even though Santa Monica, technically, is not Los Angeles, it's the sweet step-sister right next door to Los Angeles who has a gorgeous personality," Black reckons. "It's a destination that people know. It's the Pier! You don't even have to tell people the address, you go, 'Hey, come to our festival. It's at the Santa Monica Pier.'"
"Do you like to fish?" Gass asks. "If you get tired of laughing, you can go to the end of the pier and do some fishin'."
"Yeah, and if you want to go swimming, you can go into the ocean, that's part of the festival," Black adds. "I've been told you can pee in the ocean, too."
In the end, it makes sense to throw a landmark comedy festival in the town where most of the nation's professional funny people live and work.
"You know what they say: 'If you can make it here, you'll make it with a beer,'" Black says. "No, it doesn't have the same ring to it, does it? It's the city that goes to sleep early!
"But, you know, it is the undisputed entertainment capital of the universe. It doesn't have the same ring to say it was the biggest comedy music festival in the history of Fresno."
For further information (and jokes), go to www.festivalsupreme.com.
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