TV

Is The New ‘Colossal Clusterfest’ Festival Comedy Central’s Response To Netflix?

The recent announcement that the first of Louis C.K.’s next two stand-up specials would debut exclusively on Netflix in April confirmed something many have known for some time — the streaming service really likes comedy. After all, big names like Amy Schumer, Dave Chappelle, and others will also debut new material on Netflix in 2017 — not to mention the company’s regular output of veteran and up-and-coming comics each month. But what about Comedy Central, a 25-year-old cable channel dedicated entirely to comedy in all its forms — including its original specialty, stand-up?

On Tuesday, Comedy Central announced “Colossal Clusterfest,” a massive comedy and music festival set to takeover San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza and Bill Graham Civic Auditorium Friday, June 2nd through Sunday, June 4th. According to the official press release, the festival will be a “celebration of comedy in all its forms” featuring “stand-up and sketch performances, podcasts recording live on site, on-stage Q&A’s, and iconic comedy attractions.” What’s more, Clusterfest will offer unique collaborations between comedians and musicians.

Along with headliners Jerry Seinfeld, Kevin Hart, and Bill Burr, the festival lineup includes:

Sarah Silverman & Friends, Ice Cube, Hannibal Buress, Tig Notaro, Pete Davidson, Fred Armisen, Natasha Leggero, Tegan and Sara, Chromeo, Broad City‘s Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, Bob Odenkirk, Vince Staples, Chris Hardwick, Reggie Watts, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Princess featuring Maya Rudolph and Gretchen Lieberum, and many more.


Yet there’s a stark difference between what Comedy Central’s Clusterfest is purporting to be — a massive Bonnaroo-like event dedicated to making people laugh — and streaming unique content from the comforts of one’s home. Both the cable channel and its growing rival, Netflix, boast impressive streaming numbers for their most popular original offerings. However, the “massive, shared, fan-focused comedy experience” Comedy Central President Kent Alterman’s suggests Clusterfest will be, hopes to capitalize on younger generations’ festival culture

Hence why the festival will combine the aforementioned wares with interactive attractions highlighting three hugely popular comedy programs — South Park, FXX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and NBC’s Seinfeld. Each experience will bring their respective program’s most popular food and drink-themed aspects to life, from Tweek Bros. Coffee and Whistlin’ Willy’s to an actual Paddy’s Pub and the notorious Soup Nazi. (Not to mention what will supposedly be the largest Festivus celebration on record.)

Whether or not Clusterfest will pull it all off and offer Comedy Central a leg up on Netflix remains to be seen. To find out for yourself, purchase tickets here on Thursday, March 2nd at 10 a.m. PT.

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