By Jordy Altman
In it’s seventh year, Kevin & Bean have crafted a rock concert atmosphere and plugged in today’s hottest comics. It feels good, these two concepts belong together – like peanut butter and jelly, French fries and Frosties, or Kentucky and a 38-0 record.
For one night, KROQ’s favorite stand-up comedians waive their appearance fee (to which Bean called them “terrible business men”) and perform to a crowd of 6,000 fans for free.
Who says you can’t do good while drinking beer and watching comedians?
As I took my seat, I admired the stage, which was lit in emerald green and had two large screens on either side. To warm up the crowd, KROQ’s house DJ Mike Relm projected a custom FAIL compilation featuring sexy women falling with Nirvana playing in the background. Seated next to me was a young Mexican dude named “Lucky” who asked me if I worked for KROQ. When I told him I did, he assured me that he would be my Comedian Critic for the night, letting me know who the best comics were of the night.
Lucky wasn’t a very good litmus test, because he lost his mind during every set. In his defense, so did I, as did the 6,000 other KROQ fans in attendance.
Eddie Pence opened the comedy portion of the evening. Pence was the winner of April Foolishness Opening Act Contest (AFOAC for short) and led the evening off with a strong set that included Jeff Spicoli as a Jedi and simulated Chihuahua bludgeoning. It was a short set but left a lasting impression. Excited to see more of Pence in the future.
Shout out to the person that scheduled Gabriel Iglesias hot off the heels of a good Chihuahua joke. Everyone’s favorite Mexican-American comedian brought his A-game, telling jokes punctuated with so many sound effects you’d think there was a different one for every pound in his body. Fluffy’s set was never was angry or explosive, but instead focused on the bathroom habits and superheroes. “What’s the Green Lantern’s power? He’s got a ring that has power. Now that’s a fantasy. I’ve never seen a man wearing a ring with any power.” None of the married men in the audience were allowed to laugh at that joke.
Adam Ray took the stage shortly after and started complaining about his hair. After warming up the crowd, Adam led us in a version of Color Me Badd’s “I Wanna Sex You Up” before coming to a halt because he was making us “way too horny.” In an effort to keep the deep, intense 90s love going, Ray proved that it’s impossible to hear “DUCKTAILS” without sing-shouting “AWOO OOH” right back. Even if you’re in the middle of stabbing and you hear someone call “Ducktails”, it’s “Awoo ooh” and then back to stabbing.
For some unknown reason, Kevin & Bean let Beer Mug introduce Jay Mohr and my night was almost ruined.
Jay Mohr is an April Foolishness Veteran and commanded the stage like a gnarled Rock God. In fact, his act was aimed at knocking down our Rock Gods a peg or two. I’m not sure if I enjoyed his revelation that Eddie Vedder is just a cheap character Adam Sandler drew up, or his rant on the Godless Bono. Either way, ending his set with a bit about Steven Tyler looking like a Bond Villian’s cat had the crowd rolling. Lucky couldn’t get enough and needed a beer break.
Iliza Shlesinger took the stage and was one of the funniest comics of the night. She also clucked and brayed better than her male counterparts. Lucky came back halfway through her set and nudged me with his elbow. I can only assume he was going to say “Uh oh, a female comedian” but was caught by surprise when Iliza asked “Is that a thick drunk chicken peeing on hot garbage?” He was on board after that. I told him to check out her Netflix Special “Freezing Hot” and he gave me a high five. So far, so good.
The strongest act of the night (and Lucky’s favorite too) was Brad Williams, who spent the last year living in San Francisco. He apologized and reminded us that he will forever be a Dodgers fan, because no dwarf should ever have to wear a Giants jersey. We also got the definitive TOP FIVE MIDGETS IN SHOW BUSINESS list, where Brad falls in fourth because ‘F**K PETER DINKLAGE’ that’s why. Next time you see him, ask him about the time he humped John Stamos’ leg at Bob Saget’s request.
After Brad’s 20-minute set, Ralphie May took the stage and picked up with he left off – complaining about midgets. “It’s midget, not dwarf. If you’re a dwarf, I’m a dragon.” I’d never seen Ralphie perform before, but it will be hard to forget a 300-pound man pretending to fingerbang an imaginary girlfriend while leading the audience in the most bizarre rendition of Bon Jovi’s “Living On A Prayer.” Hey – each their own.
After a gaggle of KROQ Teamsters wiped up the stage, the lights dimmed and music from the Old West filled the auditorium. Either Tenacious D was making a grand entrance or Clint Eastwood was a last minute addition to the bill. As KG and JB walked out to take their guitars, the crowd leaped to a standing ovation.
Tenacious D delivered by playing old classics like “Tribute” and “Kyle Quit the Band.” New songs from Rize of the Pheonix (“Low Hanging Fruit”, “Roadie”) proved that rock is alive and well – despite the fact that they sang a song called “Rock Is Dead.” The D finished the night with an encore singalong of “F**k Her Gently” – the perfect nightcap that had Kevin, Bean, and the production crew swaying back and forth in the wings, drink in hand, shooing Beer Mug away.
Photos by Gabriel Olsen.