The combination of music and comedy can result in quite a blend of creative alchemy. Leave those two elements to bake under the sun, and things just get weird. That was definitely the case at the third annual Festival Supreme, which returned to the Shrine Expo Hall & Grounds this past weekend.

Conceptualized by the wickedly funny *and* musical minds of Jack Black and Kyle Gass (collectively known to the world as Tenacious D), this festival has never been afraid to incubate those weird moments of onstage experimentation and interaction and, subsequently, attract those who aren’t just ready to have a laugh, but ready to get strange as well.

Rocket from the Crypt

Last year, I noted that The Shrine is the ideal setting for this type of festival, with the grounds providing two outdoor stages along with plenty of room for food trucks and tents while the building’s interior provides welcome sanctuary from the sun (as well as additional stages and performance halls).

With temperatures hovering between 90-100 degrees during the day, staying indoors was a must this year. I don’t know if the extreme weather conditions played any part in influencing the off-kilter nature of some of the festival’s performers, but things definitely leaned askew — in the most wonderful way possible, of course.

Henry Rollins

It’s been said that comedians and musicians share a kindred bond with one another, based largely on the fact that they secretly want to live the other’s lifestyle. That cross-pollination was in full effect at Festival Supreme.

Henry Rollins has definitely carved out a new lane for himself in recent years on the lecture circuit, but I couldn’t have been the only one surprised to discover that his outdoor performance was not, in fact, musical, but rather a quasi-standup set that found him sharing humorous stories about life on the road, including the first time that he met Ozzy Osbourne. Meanwhile, Tenacious D opted out of their comfort zone (which already is sort of a comedy-fueled rock) and performed a full jazz set, reimagining some of their most loved songs in bizarrely amusing ways.

The Darkness

Then there are acts that sort of always toe the line between comedy and seriousness. The Darkness has long taken a somewhat-debatable tongue-in-cheek approach to 21st century glam-rock, while South Africa’s Die Antwoord discards the concept of subtlety in their music and stage show with such abandon that one can’t help but wonder if the group’s members are pranking the rest of the world.

Both of these bands brought a considerable amount of adrenaline and grandiosity to the outdoor stages towards the evening’s end, and while there was no denying the sheer power of their performances, it was hard to tell whether or not they were perfect candidates for Festival Supreme or more like head-scratching oddities amongst the more light-hearted, comedic vibes of the environment.

Reggie Watts

Others, most notably comedians, were able to blur those categorical lines with a much smoother (yet still pretty weird) approach.

The great Reggie Watts’ sets are always an exercise in absurdity, blending stream-of-consciousness commentary with loop pedal-enhanced improvised songs powered by his incredibly dynamic and diverse vocals. Puddles Pity Party is every coulrophobic’s nightmare, but if you’re looking for epic lounge covers of popular songs sung in full earnestness by a clown, you’re in for a real treat.

And while Aubrey Plaza’s in-character stint as death-obsessed Puerto Rican jabberer Yolanda may have worn a little thin by the end of her set, it’s still refreshing that an event like Festival Supreme exists to house the type of outside-the-box free experimentation that is so crucial for comedy to evolve and develop into new and uncharted territory. We laughed, we cried (from the heat), we got weird. Is there anything more one can ask for from a music and comedy festival?

Aubrey Plaza

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Festival Supreme