Clusterfest’s “activations” include a station for listening to classic calls from Comedy Central’s “Crank Yankers.” (Leslie Katz/S.F. Examiner)

Big Clusterfest acts head indoors

Three-day comedy, music showcase starts today in Civic Center

Seasoned fans of Clusterfest, the big comedy and music event in San Francisco’s Civic Center for the third time this year, will see some changes this weekend.

For one thing, main comedy headliners are appearing indoors, inside the 6,000-seat Bill Graham Civic, rather than outside on the huge plaza stage. That begins today, with Amy Poehler in two time slots: First, in conversation with with Fred Armisen at 5:15 p.m. and doing standup with friends at 10:30 p.m.

At a media preview event before the fun gets underway today, executives Jonathan Mayers of Superfly and Jonas Larsen of Comedy Central touted Clusterfest as the only thing of its kind: “It’s a celebration of all things comedy: standup, sketch, improv, podcasts and fandom,” said Mayers, adding that the big acts are moving inside due to feedback from fans and talent in previous years.

For some comics, “working outdoors is a little outside of their comfort zone,” Mayers said.

Among the other changes is a new app so audiences can make reservations to see shows in the festival’s smaller rooms in the Bill Graham Civic.

“We don’t want guests to be waiting in line,” Mayers said, adding that adjustments are being made every year to improve the audience experience.

The media tour included a look at Clusterfest’s touted “activations,” where folks can hang out and snap pictures of their favorite pop culture sites.

There’s the “Seinfeld” set (near where the Colossal stage was last year), “The Office” set, and a sizable “Drunk History” Pub, along with smaller stations showcasing “Atlanta” and the puppets from “Crank Yankers” in front of a wall of old-fashioned phones on which visitors can listen to classic calls. The silly show, which ran from 2002-07, is slated to return to Comedy Central.

Running today through Sunday, Clusterfest has five stages, and also includes plentiful music.

Organizers said sales were high for three-day tickets. People enjoy its communal quality and are buying into the exeperience, said Larsen.

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