The League Live: I fucking hate sports, but I adore The League. I set my DVR when a cast member is going to be on a late night talk show. These guys are hysterical. I’d only know them from TV until Bonnaroo, but their live set exceeded expectations. For the confused: The League is made up from comedians Nick Kroll, Paul Scheer, Steve Rannazzisi, Jon LaJoie (and Mark Duplass, but he wasn’t there). Good? Cool. The guys came out and did some crowd work and made fun of audience members (Kroll mumbled a hilarious joke that nobody heard: “Did you have to piss all over Wiz Khalifa while he kept shouting ‘Black and yellow! Black and yellow!'”). Then, the guys came out for solo sets. Kroll was first and funny; he didn’t do any characters, but he told the bit about his first time on stage. Scheer was next: also funny, and made my favorite Taco Bell joke of the day. Most surprising was Steve Rannazzisi; I didn’t know Rannazzisi’s stand-up until now, but I assumed he’d talk about sports. Instead, he talked about weed and Bonnaroo fucking loved it. Finally, Jon LaJoie came out and played some songs. Honestly, I don’t like musical comedy (look at what I say about the Gregory Brothers), but LaJoie’s songs were pretty funny. One was about imagining your parents boning–so standard musical comedy fair. Overall, awesome set and I can’t wait for League Season 3!
John Waters, Tig Notaro, and The Gregory Brothers: What a strange bill. Let me figure out the logic here: both John Waters and The Gregory Brothers revel in tacky, disposable entertainment. Waters and Notaro are both gay. All mentioned performers are white. Otherwise, this line-up is fucking nonsense. I’m getting ahead of myself: I’ve got a lot to say, so let’s go in order of performance!
The Gregory Brothers are the kids responsible for Autotune the News, and more specifically, “Bed Intruder” (that quirky “street” boy who flamboyantly sang about his sister’s attempted sexual assult). I’m certain there are people that would enjoy this very broad type of humor–unfortunately, it’s not the same people who go to Bonnaroo. The crowd was silent throughout The Gregory Brother’s set; I’m going to guess nobody knew what was going on because I heard so many people say, “What the fuck is going on?”. Perhaps no one laughed because, come Sunday, Bonnaroo-ers boarder upon physical exhaustion. Then again, perhaps no one laughed because Autotune the News is pretty hard to follow without the accompanying video montages (either I couldn’t see the screen, or, if I remember correctly, there was no screen)–especially when you’re unfamiliar with the lyrics. Plus, every Autotune the News song is inspired by a jarringly specific event political/pop-culture event that’s so esoteric, it’s hard to laugh at the source material (one song was a refference to one misspeak a Senator said once–I think. It seemed like it was about that). So yeah: this set was pretty terrible. When The Gregory Brother played “Bed Intruder,” people finally realized who they were. And, since I have a reason, let me give you my opinions on “Bed Intruder”: it’s racist and homophobic. Everyone’s laughing because that gay guy is all worked up (the reason he’s all worked up, is because his fucking sister almost got raped). Even though Dodson sanctioned the song, it still makes me uncomfortable. Did they ever catch that rapist? Does anyone know? Not to sound like Britta from Community, but: YOU’RE LAUGHING AT THE FACT THAT AN AREA OF INTENSE POVERTY SUFFERS FROM ROAMING RAPISTS! IT’S NOT FUNNY!
At least Tig Nataro is awesome. Tig is one of the best comedians you probably haven’t heard of. She’s got a record coming out soon, so hopefully that’s rectified. I’ve seen Tig interviewed in a bunch of trendy places, so it makes sense that she’d be at Bonnaroo. Her style is subdued, but perfect for a tired Sunday. She had the crowd laughing at the places they were supposed to be laughing even though we were all sitting in an echo-y tent. Essentially: she did what she intended to do. Seriously though, single reader (if that many), check out Tig. She’s great.
Then, we have John Waters. Wow. This was neat. John Waters is a personal hero. He’s managed to push the limits of freedom of speech (not to mention, good taste) in long cinematic career; he’s respected across generations in multiple circles (garnering both the respect of somebody like Divine, and, according to a new story, Justin Beiber); he’s got a fast wit and good literary taste (he wrote book reviews for Vogue); and finally, his awesome pencil thin mustache (this is what garnered Beiber’s respect). He sort of reminds me of a really vulgar, wonderful child. For one of the oldest people at Bonnaroo, he was still one of the funniest. He told old movie stories, his thoughts on various pop-culture minutia, and he also talked liberally about weird gross shit. There were a few things in his act that I was completely unfamiliar with–however, I promptly forgot them because one had something to do with making your scrotum transparent. It was gross. Waters isn’t a stand-up so much as a monologist. Someone like Tig would be more reactionary to the crowd–bantering with them–Waters acknowledged his audience only occasionally. Waters’ performance was just that: a stage performance. It’s more like theater, really. If you’re interested to check it out, his one man show is streaming on Netflix.
Quick thoughts on the Comedy Tent: Awesome. Really made the hot days bearable. Honestly, it was my favorite part of the festival. Thanks Bonnaroo Comedy Tent!
Robyn: It kinda seems like Robyn could tour on Body Talk forever. Every song sounds like a hit and any song could be a single. It’s a pretty awesome record. Robyn tours with a band, so her live set is fun to watch/hear/dance to. It was Robyn’s birthday, so she seemed to have a ton of energy. Unfortunately, it was Sunday, the sun was still up, and the crowd looked like zombies. It would have been nice to see Robyn at night, but she still sounded great in the day time. I also saw the first few songs from Beriut: I’m unfamiliar with their music, but it was a cool set nonetheless.
Superjam ft. Dan Auerbach and Dr. John! The Superjam was strangely absent from 2010’s Bonnaroo; thankfully, it’s back. Some of the festival’s best musicians form temporary collaborating bands to make cool music. Superjam is a pretty self-explanatory name. I was extra psyched to check this out because of how great Dr. John and the Black Keys had been separately the night before. The crowd was small–perhaps people were watching the Strokes or Explosions in the Sky or maybe they’d already left to go home. Regardless, it was easy to see and hear the whole show. The music was really cool: a mix of blues, R&B, soul, funk, other genres from before 1980. Allegedly, Dan Auerbach and Dr. John are in the studio collaborating. If it’s as good as this set, then I’m really psyched to hear it.
Quick concluding thoughts: If you’re reading, this is the end. I’ve learned a few things: I’m better at writing about comedy than music; I need to get better at deadlines. Thanks for putting up with me regardless! And thanks Bonnaroo for letting me see you for free! Bye!