John Waters, the biggest name on Friday’s Fun Fun Fun Fest comedy roster, also drew the biggest crowd. Nattily dressed in a white shirt, black tie and black jacket with a grey flower pattern (I think he probably had pants on, too, but it was impossible to tell over the heads of the fans) Waters held court, tackling taboo topics including drugs, sex, sexual orientation and his films.
On the topic of sex, the director and author spent a lot of time addressing fetishes, some of which he made up.
“I try to be open minded, but I have my limits,” he said, urging audience members that it would be a bad idea to Google them.
“I promise you, the next time you have your computer fixed, you’ll be arrested.”
He moved on to commentary about his long and storied film career. Of “Hairspray,” Waters said, “I accidentally made a hit!” He noted that the musical is now being performed in high schools all over the country, but the practice of “blind casting,” in which character roles are filled regardless of race, sex, etc., has taken some of the edge off of these productions.
Calling “Crybaby” his juvenile delinquent movie, Waters lamented that there are no real juvenile delinquents anymore. The closest we have, he suggested, are computer hackers.
“I like hackers,” he said. “I wish I had a hacker boyfriend. They stay home.”
His thoughts on serial mom segued into a short bit about food allergies. “If you really have one,” he said, “Don’t tell me. Because then I could kill you.”
He spent some time pimping his new book, “Carsick,” which detailed his cross-country hitchhiking journey (after the set, he signed copies and took photos with fans).
The performance wound up with Waters imagining a run-in with Festival security.
“They’d take me to the Huntsville jail,” he said. “Or, worse yet, the Williamson County jail.”
Tasteless comic Neil Hamburger led into Waters’ set with a series of tasteless one-liners and knock-knock jokes, none of which can be repeated here. The crowd was slightly smaller than the crowd Waters’ generated, but was no less raucous.
“Robot Chicken” writer Rachel Bloom killed with an amazing voice and super sharp lyrics to parody songs and original tunes. Her OCDance — featuring movements such as touching the wall a certain number of times in succession — was hilariously funny and visual.
Performances by local comics earlier in the day were well-received, but played in front of much smaller turnouts — some of the comics played before groups numbering in the teens.
A special shout out is due to local sketch comedy group Bad Example. Sketch comedy is hard to pull off outdoors and troupe members were up to the challenge. One outstanding bit featured a poor, Dickensian orphan begging for a caretaker. He turned each possible guardian down for reasons of race and sexual orientation. A recorded bit, barely visible on the large screen at the back of the stage, was also hilarious. It featured a salad and a cupcake vying for the attentions of a young lady.
We’ll be checking out this group’s regular performances at 9 p.m. Saturdays at The New Movement.