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Meet T.J. Miller, standup comedian

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T.J. Miller, of TV and movie fame, is introducing his standup act to some who might not be familiar with it at this weekend’s Colossal Clusterfest. (Courtesy Jesse Grant)
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Unlike his fat-headed, pot-smoking techpreneur character Erlich Bachman on HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” T.J. Miller — appearing this weekend at San Francisco’s inaugural Colossal Clusterfest in the Civic Center — is far from puffed up.

He understands that having two rap albums (“The Extended Play E.P.,” “The Extended Play E.P. Illegal Art Remix Tape”) to his credit doesn’t make him capable of beating Ice Cube in a rap battle.

“I found a freestyle technique where you just kind of wait to say the next thing and think of it, but I would be so nervous, so no, probably not,” says the comedian and actor. “I’d stick to what I’m good at. I could roast him pretty easily, though.”

Should he ever need to offer a mocking tribute to Ice Cube, Miller — also known for playing the blue monster host on Comedy Central’s “The Gorburger Show” and memorable turns in films like “Cloverfield,” “Deadpool” and “Office Christmas Party” — does have disses ready.

“It depends if he had a pick in his hair or not,” he jokes, “but I’d probably lay into him about all things movie career except for ‘Training Day,’ which is the only time, including when he was an actual gangster, where he seemed very gangster. Was that because he’s insecure around Denzel Washington? The list would go on and on. Was he in that movie? It may have been Ice-T. Is it hard to compete with someone who’s also Ice?”

But melting cubes is not Miller’s main motivation for appearing Friday in Comedy Central’s three-day festival that pairs 50-plus comedians, including Jerry Seinfeld, Kevin Hart, Bill Burr and Sarah Silverman, with musicians like Ice Cube, Tegan and Sara and Chromeo.

He reminds fans that although he has starring roles in five upcoming films, including “The Emoji Movie,” Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” and the anticipated sequel “Deadpool 2,” he is still, first and foremost, a stand-up comedian — with two shows at festival.

One will give audiences a preview of his new HBO special “T.J. Miller: Meticulously Ridiculous,” which he describes as “a veritable smorgasbord” of everyday observations and absurdist material about time theory and death anxiety; the other is a live presentation of “The Gorburger Show.”

“It’ll be really interesting, because this is the first time on a really big level that I’ve ever presented my stand up, and I’m an improvising stand up comedian by trade,” he says. “That’s how I started. I think a lot of people will tune in because they can’t wait to hear Erlich Bachman, the stoner, but they’re gonna see that the meticulous part of the title is real and also more of the mind behind all of this. I hope that people learn that I’m a standup comedian, a real deal, not an actor trying to be funny with a microphone. But I really hope that people get a kick out of it and think it’s really funny.”

IF YOU GO
Colossal Clusterfest
Where: Civic Center Plaza, Bill Graham Civic Center, 355 McAllister St., S.F.
When: 5 to 11 p.m. June 2; 2 to 11 p.m. June 3; 2 to 10 p.m. June 4
Tickets: $99.50 (one day) to $599.50 (three-day VIP)
Contact: www.clusterfest.com
Note: Miller appears at 6:30 p.m. Friday on the Bill Graham Stage on a bill with Sal Vulcano, Aparna Nancherla, Nick Vatterott and Liza Treyger; and 8:45 p.m. Friday in a “Gorburger Live” show on the Piazza del Cluster Stage with guests Ty Segall, Lil Dicky and Boyfriend.

HEADLINERS

FRIDAY
Ice Cube: 8 p.m., Colossal Stage
Kevin Hart: 9:30 p.m., Colossal Stage
Sarah Silverman & Friends: 9:30 p.m., Bill Graham Stage

SATURDAY
Chromeo: 7:45 p.m., Colossal Stage
Les Claypool’s Bastard Jazz: 8:45 p.m. Piazza del Cluster Stage
Bill Burr: 7 p.m., Piazza del Cluster Stage, 9:45 p.m. Colossal Stage

SUNDAY
Tegan and Sara: 7 p.m., Colossal Stage
Bill Burr, Jerry Seinfeld: 2:45 p.m., Bill Graham Stage
Jerry Seinfeld: 8:30 p.m., Colossal Stage

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