Blogaroo '09: At Least The Comics Are Keeping Things Light...

Categories: Show Reviews
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As of Friday at noonish, nothing at the 2009 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival has happened the way I've expected it to. Or the way I've thought it should've gone. Or the way Triumph the Insult Comic Dog thought it would either, for that matter.

No surprise that there are lines for everything, but they are incredibly long. An hour and a half to pick up tickets at the will call location, which was manned by a single person handling every writer, photographer, videographer and blogger with the gall to send in a media pass application. From the looks of the line snaking down the street, nobody was turned down.

"What, are they getting them from the print shop?" one dude bellowed. "This is fucking ridiculous!"

People alternately bitched about the line and the others in the line bitching about the line: Waah! It's taking too long to get my free festival ticket!

Then it was three hours crawling in the car from the ticket location to the site. Once inside, there were, again, lines for everything.

And then it started raining. The torrent turned the dirt path into muddy ruts. Yet, once I got used to the idea that everything I own will be covered in a slick coating of the stinking gray babyshit that passes in Tennessee for mud, it's kinda fun.

After a no-show by Delta Spirit (their set was delayed to 12:30 a.m. Friday, as the band were stuck at DFW airport because of the lighting storms in Dallas), the highlight so far has been last night's Bonnapoo comedy show starring The Tonight Show's Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Todd Barry, Amy Schumer (a poor man's Sarah Silverman) and Kumail Nanjiani.

The wait for it was typical of Bonnaroo protocol: A single stoner was in charge of handing out tickets, which entitled people the right to stand in line for the show. I took turns holding a place in line and catching songs from Passion Pit, which put on a packed show in This Tent. From all the dreadlock-flinging noodle dancing evident in the crowd, it was clear the thick groove of the band's super poppy dance rock and falsetto singing won over many a Phish fan along with the requisite indie-rock fans.

On Friday night, former Dentonite Corn Mo played keyboards as part of Triumph's backing band. But while the band sounded fine, the audio for Triumph's video presentation wasn't working, forcing puppeteer Robert Smigel to narrate the silent video clips that served as intros and segues in the show.

"This is much harder than I expected," he joked.

Triumph heaped insult after insult on the bands playing--and the staff, the festival, the sponsors and the crowd, too--which the audience ate up, roaring with laughter.

"I would say this is a great place for me to poop on, but I think I'm already too late," he said.

Jokes about how old and washed-up all the headliners were (Phish, Nine Inch Nails, The Boss) proved particularly sharp. Drug gags were big winners too--no surprise, considering that the only scent more persistent than body odor was pot smoke.

"You people are so high, I'm the fourth talking dog you've seen today," he said.

The most hilarious moments--other than watching the puppet buttfuck Ernie from Sesame Street--came when he'd say, "That joke was brought to you by ..." and name a sponsor after the lewdest of his material. At one point, he led the crowd in a chant of "Fuck the sponsors!" and capped it--perhaps epitomizing the festival itself--with "This fleeting moment of meaningless rebellion was brought to you by Budweiser."

It went, oh, an hour and a half past its scheduled closing time, which was more than some of the sleepy audience could stay awake for. Todd Barry joked that we should thank the people who left, since he would have been nervous with a large audience. By his set, the tent was maybe a quarter full.

Shame, too, as the smart-ass was by far the funniest of the featured (human) comics.

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