Some very quick thoughts about the Bridgetown Comedy Festival last night. (I apologize for not having pics, names, or any otherwise useful facts.) After a guest list snafu, I got the wristband and went down to the Hawthorne Theatre to see a couple acts, including a Seattle comedian who insisted that Seattle has better bands than Portland. His proof? Kenny G and Sir Mix-a-lot are from Seattle. Whatever, dude. Also, he—like every other comedian I saw last night—talked about Voodoo Donuts. Literally—every single person mentioned Voodoo, as if it is the only thing they know about Portland.
Over to the Bagdad, saw a couple funny acts including a guy who looked like Walter Sobchek from The Big Lebowski and a guy who strummed a guitar while he told his jokes. Then Janeane Garofalo came on, and was disappointing in almost every way. She didn't tell jokes or have any themes; her entire bit consisted of describing things (such as her tights, or Natalie Portman) in flowery vocabulary. If you think the thesaurus is funny, you would have loved it. There was one supremely awkward moment where she looked up into the balcony and screamed, "What's that light up there? Are you filming me?" She almost pitched a hissy fit onstage. I don't know exactly what the deal was, but I think she saw the lights from the stage reflecting off the Bagdad's projector lens. It was pretty uncomfortable for the audience. Then the duo of Phirm 'n' Hard, or Hard and Firm, or something, came out and played/sang comedy songs. It was incredibly geeky, and once they started singing a song whose entire lyrics were the digits of Pi ("Three point one-four-blah blahblahblah" they sang, and so on), I quickly fled.
Back over to the Mt Tabor—that most neglected and underutilized of venues—for a sketch comedy show called The Midnight Show. This was pretty bad, too; it started with an incomprehensible sketch about a drunk detective, during which a guy offstage sung "dunt-dan-daaaaah!" after every line, and a song sung by a doctor about how organized religion is stupid. There was a funny moment where an old man came out and did the old-timey prospector dance, but this was pretty tough going.
I spent the rest of the night at Tanker, where comedians stopped by to do abbreviated sets. This was the most fun, serving as the front line, well into the wee hours. Comedians hopped onto the makeshift stage, tried new material, let their hair down, improvised, and if they ended up bombing (as several did), bailed the stage. I hate to call it a workshop environment; it was more like a very drunken karaoke party, but it was fun.
The Bridgetown Comedy Festival continues tonight and Sunday.