Friday at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival 2011

Theme Park at Hawthorne Theatre

While this review is going to be a bit short, this was actually one of my favorite shows. Brody Theater did a solid job of opening for Theme Park, and then Theme Park really nailed it. I’m not sure how describe it exactly, but everything flowed together and was great fun! I seriously considered coming back for their second show, but there was too much going on.

Whitest Kids U Know

We selected this show b/c it was in the same venue and seemed like a funny concept. I had not seen the TV show, but yesterday my dad recounted a sketch of theirs he saw online involving stealing the meds of demented old people. He found it quite funny, but they did not do this sketch in person.

Meh. There’s a reason they are on TV rather than live, I think. But there was one truly brilliant sketch involving the Quest of the Schoolyard. Folks around us seemed to love the whole thing, though, and this was definitely the most packed show we watched. To name by broad generalizations: the fat dude was funniest to me, although he did lead the schoolyard quest. the slight dude was the most disturbing in a way that was uncomfortably funny. Otherwise, whatever…

Oh, but there was one MAJOR perk of this show: Moshe Kasher and Johnny Pemberton opened with stand-up monologues and they were hilarious! I really liked both of them and would watch them both again (and did). This might have raised my expectations too much. They were, frankly, more of what I expected from a bunch of white kids.

I love the idea of hitting a third show, but I was done. I am old.

Sunday at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival 2011

My god, this was so much fun and so exhausting. Again, how did the comics do it? We were really looking forward to the Killer Shrews, but had an important date with Dungeons & Dragons involving a were-fox, snow monsters, and the undead.

This American Wife Podcast, Bagdad

We made it to this show a bit late, but we did get to see Moshe Kasher again. Yay! We also both really enjoyed Pete Holmes and his story of Amsterdam. There but for the grace of a pot cake… The spoof of All Things Considered was a bit scary — they were spot on and Nikki Glaser was great. I was sorry to have missed her earlier in the festival.

Iron Comic, Bagdad

I’m not usually one for competitions or television show knock-offs, so I wasn’t sure what to think for this one. But I was really excited to sit in a comfy chair. This was so popular we ended up in the balcony (we had a leisurely dinner at Chez Machin) but there are couches up there. Kickass!

In any case, the show itself ended up being super funny! All the comics participating were awesome. Kyle Kinane had a surprise win, but I think this was due to his excellent riffs in the sudden death(?) final round. I would have voted for Hannibal Buress winning, but what the hell. The whole thing was pretty damn silly and I had a great time!

I wanted to go to a third show. But I am old and tired and have to go to work. Oh well. Next year!

Saturday at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival 2011

Hawthorne Theatre Lounge at 7pm

I like this space. It’s small with really silly performance area in the corner. As the comics discussed, it’s like a little diorama or perhaps the room that Anne Frank hid in. Nice drinks and bartender. We went early and hung out in the sun at SE 39th & Hawthorne in the patio behind the bushes. This is spectacular people watching territory. I would highly recommend it.

The comics were funny too. They sort of blurred together in retrospect. But I liked hanging out in a small space watching the comedy. It had some discomfort b/c the comics are RIGHT THERE and I have to refrain from either engaging too much (and becoming my parents?) or making rude faces (becoming my brother?). But it makes it very real. I am super impressed with folks who do this. Jeez. Looks really hard.

Laughter Against the Machine at the Bagdad

We have now reached the portion of the weekend where I selected shows based on the comfort of the seats. I wasn’t sure about this show since political humor can be a bit heavy handed and we’d already been to Pop & Politics. But it was great! I had an excellent time!

I would go see Janine Brito anytime. I was super bummed that this was her last show at Bridgetown. Hopefully she will come back through Portland soon. She was also rocking the bowtie, which is always an awesome choice. W. Kamau Bell was super funny, and I was bummed he had missed Pop & Politics. In fact, I think this was the most solid group of stand up comedians we saw all weekend. Nato Green kicked butt and knew his Portland shit. Aparna Nancherla was delightfully funny — I always like the sweet ladies with a wicked sense of humor. Hari Kondabolu was pretty darn funny, but I had seen too many of his bits on TV. Next year, I’ll just come and watch and spend less time on the blogs beforehand. Jimmy Dore did a pretty similar set to Pop & Politics, but it was interesting to see how little things would shift with timing and word choice. Margaret Cho was the final set, and I quite enjoyed her bit about asshole hair, but I am a fan of humor around all things poop related. I could tell the people around me were not on the poop train. Their loss!

And then I was excited for a third show but I was too tired. How were the comics still going?

Bridgetown Comedy Festival 2011: Thursday

Ben & I got passes to the 2011 Bridgetown Comedy Festival and had a great time, although I did feel a bit like I had binged on too much chocolate and was ready to just eat salad for a while. But I’m looking forward to watching more comedy in Portland and probably getting a pass again next year. This post is intended to the flag the comics we saw who I’ll track down again and try to document the packed 4 days before I forget everything.

Thursday, April 21 is my mother’s birthday. Fortunately my brother was out of town so I seem somewhat less douchy for not spending her birthday with her. On the upside, she seemed to have made plans without me just fine!

Pop & Politics with Jimmy Dore at the Mt. Tabor Theater

I don’t think I’d been in this venue for a very long time. We showed up about 6:45 and were ready to purchase a drink, but no alcohol until 7pm! We ended up drinking no alcohol, but enjoyed the show none the less.

The general idea of Pop & Politics (I’m pretty sure) is that Jimmy Dore riffs on video clips focusing on popular culture or politics, and is eventually accompanied by a panel that also riffs. When he hit his stride, things were pretty funny. Before the panel came out, one of them spoofed a mid-western Republican representative and did a lovely job. I think his outfit really brought it all together. Maybe played by Paul Glimartin, but I’m not sure now!

W. Kamau Bell was going to be part of this, which didn’t mean anything at the time but made me sad later as he was pretty damn funny. I think Andy Wood (the organizer and a comic) subbed for him. I particularly liked Kyle Kinane and Auggie Smith. I’m pretty sure Auggie is based in Portland so hopefully we’ll see him again (Auggie’s website).

A collection of comics at Bagdad Theater at 10pm

We then walked down the street to the Bagdad to watch a collection of comics. We were sort of interested in seeing Andy Dick, and Thursday night seemed like a calmer time to see him. On the way we stopped at Toji Korean Grill House somewhat randomly and had a unexpectedly good meal of noodles.

We then crammed into the front lobby of the Bagdad with a bunch of other passholders thinking we were not going to get a seat. But then they let us in and there was a ton of room. Oh well. Comfy chairs are good, and the drinks are remarkably cheap.

This must not have been the most memorable show, because I’m managed to forget most of it in retrospect. Or maybe just the perils of having been the late show at the Bagdad on Thursday. I do remember thinking Andy Dick was remarkably normal seeming and somewhat self-aware, but apparently this was not true of the whole weekend.

Ah, with a little reviewing of names on the Bridgetown Comedy Festival: I really enjoyed Ron Lynch’s magician character but Ben was not sure he was following the humor. There was something so lovely and gentle about the extraordinarily ordinary magic that seemed just right to me! Ben really liked Adam Burke, a Brit who now lives in Chicago. I can’t remember the details of his set, but I remember thinking the whole set of riffs were really tightly put together. Erin Lennox came out and had some very funny riffs about WNBA, relationships, and an amazing vagina of truth. I don’t think the folks around us fully appreciated her. Andrew Overdahl seemed like he would be a very cool dad.

I think one of the best things about this show was the host, Karl Hess. He shared with many of the California performers a fine appreciation of the medical marijuana card, and was still funny about it. He managed to do a great job of setting up the performers and keeping things moving along. I believe Karl was the performer who talked about feeling productive when he spent time cleaning up his Facebook feed by hiding friends who were sharing really boring things. I thought this was excellent. The older guy in front of me seemed confused and left shortly thereafter. Probably because he didn’t realize he could hide people in his Facebook feed and had some urgent cleaning to do.

And that was Thursday night. I think things ended around midnight which was very late for me.