So we've come to the end of the five-week sojourn of comedy that I've been weaving tales from... I guess you could call me a Sojourny Weaver. I know, me being that funny right off the bat isn't making it any easier to come to terms with the fact that this is the last tour diary, and I'm sorry. HOWEVA (Stephen A. Smith ™) we've come to the end, and it's time to put a bow on it. So here it is, the inaugural “Ian Karmel was on the road for a little while and had a variety of experiences” awards!
Best show I got to be a part of: This is a toss-up between the “Funny Over Everything” at Bridgetown Comedy Festival, where I got to be part of a show that included Matt Braunger, Doug Benson and my friends Ron Funches, Shane Torres, Jen Allen and Sean Jordan, and the “Sausage Fest” show at the Moontower Comedy Festival show where I got to perform with Joe Mande, Baron Vaughn, Sean Patton, Bill Dwyer, Brent Weinbach, Jackie Kashian and this other guy who's first name I can't remember, but his last name was Dudey, and he soldiered through that like a champion... I'm going to have to hand the “best show” award to the Sausage Fest show, that's just too much talent, but I'm also going to do this...
Show that almost made me cry: It got RILL dusty in the room during the aforementioned Bridgetown “Funny Over Everything” showcase. With the exception of Doug Benson, everyone involved in that show has a deep connection to Portland - a very good night for our comedy scene.
More awards? Yes! After the jump!
Drunkest: Wednesday night at Moontower Comedy Festival. I hosted a show for Hannibal Burress, and then this really funny dude Paul Varghese and I started doing shots of bourbon, and I — thinking my night was over — started getting really hammered. I was that type of drunk where I had all sorts of important opinions about things and affection for shit that I had previously found meaningless, it was really fun. Then the guy running the festival asked me to do a set on something called the “Super Secret Show” where the line-up for the show was to remain a secret, so as to create intrigue! Maybe Aziz Ansari would show up! He didn't, instead it was me, Ian Karmel, so drunk that I thought I could crip walk. So I did the set, it went well, and so I celebrated by getting even more hammered!
Best Comedy Geek Moment: Maria Bamford and I hung out for fifteen incredible minutes in the green room at Cap City Comedy Club in Austin. We managed to have a fulfilling conversation despite the fact that I was singing the Rocky theme in my head as loud as I could.
Worst person I encountered: This rich, middle-aged, blonde woman in Austin who wouldn't shut the fuck up during my entire set. She just kept talking to her two friends and clinking her white-wine filled glass and rolling her eyes — which would be fine if she were in the back, but this fucking monster was in the second row! Fuck her! Give me a heckler, please. I can deal with a heckler, but I honestly talked directly at this woman for 30 seconds before she even noticed I was talking to her... she was five feet away from me! Mugsy Bogues couldn't have taken a nap in the distance that separated us. For ten minutes I tried to get this woman to shut-up. I tried every tactic imaginable — I was mean to her, I was nice to her, I turned the room against her, I accused her of wanting to sleep with me because she has a 19th century Jew fetish and I look like Tevya from Fiddler on the Roof. Eventually, someone kicked her out, which was awesome... especially when I got the whole room to sing “Tradition” as she was escorted out of the club.
Best thing I ate: I had cheese steaks in Philly, BBQ in Austin, breakfast burritos in Austin and Panda Express in the Mall of America... but the best thing I had on the whole trip has to be the Juicy Lucy in Minneapolis, a hamburger with cheese INSIDE of it. WHAT!? HOW? Dark magics, only explanation.
Wrap it up, dude: This trip was amazing, and I want to thank the Portland Mercury for letting me share it with you guys — I probably wouldn't have kept a diary without them. I'm going to continue to catalog my road trips on a Tumblr — I've already got trips to Denver, Reno and LA in the works — and I'll let you know how to get at those when they're available.
I learned many things on this trip — but I think the most important thing I learned is that I can kill crowds all over the country, people everywhere think I'm really funny and good at stand-up, that's awesome and encouraging and really self-serving and egotistical... so why am I bringing it up? Because I'm probably not even the funniest guy in Portland, and if I am, it's a really close race. We are blessed in this town to have vibrant music, arts, theater and food scenes, but we now have a comedy scene to match. I don't know how I can stress this enough — there's something rare and beautiful happening in the Portland comedy scene right now — and while Pok Pok and Portland Center Stage and Blitzentrapper and Red Fang can all continue to sustain themselves here in Portland, the same isn't necessarily true of comedy scenes. Scenes explode, they jettison their talent to New York, Chicago or Los Angeles, and then they either wither or reload. Portland is verging on explosion. Go see some local comedy. Fucking go do it. Go. GO! Or whatever, stay in and Hulu some shit, I hate you.