If you believe this study from the University of Colorado, Portland's interest in comedy ranks fifth in the nation, just ahead of New York and Los Angeles. Whether you agree with the list or find the reasoning somewhat specious, a bit of my own anecdotal evidence might bolster the case: Out-of-town comics are increasingly coming to Portland to record their albums or specials.
James Adomian, Maria Bamford, Matt Braunger and Kurt Braunohler have all taped in Portland, and Cameron Esposito is recording a special at the end of next month; engaged audiences must have at least something to with it. This Sunday we'll add another to the mix as Chuck Roy takes over the Alberta Rose Theater to film a special destined for some type of national release.
Roy is tremendous, a booming presence and time-tested veteran. He's also a bit of an outlier: a gay, pot-smoking Republican.
I remember seeing him for the first time years ago in his native Denver. Midway through a set full of chest-thumping bits, he revealed himself as the big bear he is. A great flip of the script, knocking lazy assumptions of the macho straight male and the effeminate gay twink on their ear.
In Denver, Roy is revered as one of the scene's founding fathers. In a great podcast with Adam Cayton-Holland (the prince of Denver stand up to Roy's king), Roy delves into his politics and explains why chasing comedy in Hollywood wasn't for him.
To the best of my knowledge, Roy has performed rarely, if ever, in Portland. But Sunday's taping ought to be the ideal introduction: When filming a special, a comic is coming in with their best material totally honed. Should be a good one.
The show's at 7PM. Tickets are only $7 and they're available here.
The following video is full of NSFW language: