At Festival Supreme, an all-day musical comedy jamboree I attended in California last week, former “Saturday Night Live” stars Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph stood out for (mostly) leaving the jokes at home.
The Tenacious D-organized event was full of the kind of half-earnest/half-funny music Jack Black’s band is known for (and was like a bigger, better version of the musical revue from D.C.’s Bentzen Ball).
Armisen, above, arrived on-stage as his “SNL” punk parody Ian Rubbish, backed by members of Blondie and the Sex Pistols. He played clever songs (his ode to Margaret Thatcher, “Sweet Iron Lady”) and made wise-cracks, but the set felt like a real rock show. Ignore the goofy lyrics in “It’s a Lovely Day” — “When your cup of tea/ Is filled with a sour milk sea/ You’ve got to say/ It’s a lovely day” — and it was hard not to take him seriously. (You can stream his songs at ianrubbish.com.)
Rudolph performed as Princess, a totally unironic Prince cover band. She sang like a Prince fan getting to live out her dream. It was funny because Rudolph is always funny, but it mostly just rocked. That seemed to be the point of the festival: Just because you’re funny doesn’t mean you can’t rock, too.