Clusterfest 2018 brings on the laughs, surprises, and frustration

This past weekend marked the second annual Clusterfest hosted by Comedy Central inside San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza. For three days, comedians and musical acts hopped on multiple stages throughout the venue to perform in front of eager crowds waiting to see each night’s headliners: The Lonely Island (performing live for the first time ever), Amy Schumer, and Jon Stewart.

Friday kicked off later in the afternoon which was great for anyone who didn’t want to skip work. Not amazing? The lines that seemed to never see an end no matter which entrance you came from. This year, Superfly (the festival’s organizers) opted to enforce only allowing see-through bags or any bag smaller than the size of a fanny pack into the festival grounds. With some informed and others needing to make changes right in front of the gate, most attendees were unable to check out the first acts of the day which included artist T-Pain who ended up not performing at all due to lack of audience. He did, however, perform a special late night set after Schumer to make up for it.

It was a stacked and impressive lineup come Friday evening with San Francisco’s own Third Eye Blind reminding us some songs will always remain legendary (ahem “Jumper”) and Saturday Night Live’s Michael Che hilarious bantering with two sixteen-year-olds in the front row which completely derailed his original planned set. Around 9 pm, it was your choice whether to split your time with Trevor Noah and John Mulaney while also risking your chance at a good viewing spot for The Lonely Island who closed out the night.

Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone of The Lonely Island definitely showed its hometown the love it deserved with special appearances by Chris Parnell, Michael Bolton, and, of course, T-Pain! The packed crowd went crazy for their classic hits “The Creep”, “I’m On A Boat”, and “Jack Sparrow.” It was everything you couldn’t have imagined and even more. For it being their first live show ever, you’d think they’d done this multiple times before but having been a comedy trio for so long, they showed everyone they knew what they were doing and exceeded expectations.

Day two of Clusterfest was yet another day of needing to choose your battles. While Tiffany Haddish took the main stage discussing how “Pretty girls poop” and witnessing a couple in the front get engaged, Kyle Mooney and Nathan Fielder used their stage to show off all the videos you wouldn’t even imagine looking up or think existed. Later, you chose whether to see VICELAND’s The Bodega Boys IRL or Middleditch and Schwartz inside the Larkin Comedy Club to perform a bit of improv.

Headliner Amy Schumer was greeted with a protest by San Francisco sex workers just outside the gates, but that didn’t stop her from performing. Her scheduled set had amazing opening acts but with Schumer only going on for 30-minutes, most might have remembered a majority of her jokes from her recent SNL monologue. It wasn’t as exciting as hearing it the first time. Something another comedian, Sam Morril, addresses during his set on Sunday afternoon.

Audiences tend to always want more from a comedian and expect new jokes every single time. The thing is, not every comedian will have a change of punchlines or stories for every city they travel to which is understandable. We live in a society that always wants more and as Morril uses the analogy of our society always wanting information and things right away, we do the same for our many comedians who need to think of new ways to wow their audiences each day.

Sunday seemed to have been the most wildcard of the day with the most attracting name being Jon Stewart to reel in the crowd. Many scheduled times were either pushed back or all-together canceled with our assumption due to the Warriors Game happening around the same time as the would-be Arrested Development screening. The musical acts themselves, as legendary as they are, didn’t quite seem like it fit the theme of the whole event by the look of much of the lackluster audience.

The attractions this year included a huge replica of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Paddy’s Pub complete with the glory hole and Charlie’s office, a South Park mini-carnival area minus the prizes (play for the game, stay for the bragging rights), a Double Dare experience on behalf of Mtn Dew Kickstart, the Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library, and Arrested Development’s stair car and banana stand (expect to hop in line at random times for that frozen banana).

Perhaps the most impressive of them all was the Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library which – you might not believe – displayed 100% real tweets coming from none other than the President of the United States. Generate your own mean tweet name, see what Trump has tweeted about other countries, and hear how other celebrities felt about being personally attacked via Twitter.

There were a few notable hiccups throughout the weekend that didn’t work in Clusterfest’s favor. One being the aforementioned frequent schedule changes that did not adhere to the printed mini-booklets and forced many to constantly check the app for the changes. A scheduled AWKWAFINA never showed for her set on the main stage Saturday afternoon and Arrested Development cut entirely only to be replaced with a last-minute parade.

Attendees were also vocal via the Facebook event page about the comic con-like lines. Some shows were given early access tickets an hour before showtime with many unimpressed attendees visibly upset with missing an act despite spending tons of money to see a specific comedian. Since some of these shows were first come, first serve, it’s best to coordinate your plan slightly to not miss out. However, many didn’t expect for so many shows to be “sold out.”

Even with the mishaps, the second annual Clusterfest continued to bring in the laughs at a time we all desperately need an escape from reality. While most comedians did frequently comment on the political climate we live in today, it was nice to be surrounded by a place you can poke fun at life, even just for a few seconds.

Check out our full image gallery here. What’d you think of Clusterfest? Would you attend next year? Let us know!

Written by Ashley Bulayo

I reference anything and everything to Lizzie McGuire. Follow me on Twitter + Instagram: @ashleeeybash. I respond 99.9% of the time.