It doesn’t really feel like winter’s over until the Bridgetown Comedy Festival arrives, and with it comes all the mildly drunken, over-warm summertime comedy vibes you could possibly want. Over its nine-year run, Bridgetown has given us a pre-2 Dope Queens appearance from Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson that was a harbinger of podcast greatness to come; an earnest, sharp song-and-joke performance from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Rachel Bloom; and so many welcome appearances from nationally known comedians rubbing elbows with their Portland counterparts rising up the ranks of our local scene. Bridgetown is fun and weird and intense. It always revives my appreciation for comedy, and I always come away with a whole list of up-and-comers whose talents I wasn’t previously aware of. From the return of an old friend to rants you’ll be happy to listen to, here are just a few of the shows on the Mercury’s agenda.
Can I Pet Your Dog?
If you’re a dry-witted human, Janeane Garofalo and Karen Kilgariff are genuinely aspirational. And if you’re a dry-wit connoisseur who also loves dogs? Amazing news: Kilgariff and Garofalo are appearing in a special live episode of Can I Pet Your Dog?, dog owner Allegra Ringo and dog wanter Renee Colvert’s podcast for those of us who find our day improved by even the mere sight of a very good dog. They’ll be joined by newcomer Drew Lynch, and honestly if you aren’t drawn in by the promise of comedy and puppies, I have nothing else to say to you. Sat May 6, 2 pm, Bossanova Ballroom, 722 E Burnside, $20
Guy Branum’s Gay Bash
LA stand-up Guy Branum may be a genius. That isn’t hyperbole: Dude has a law degree and was on a QUIZ BOWL team before taking up comedy. At last year’s Bridgetown, he was sharp-edged, a little mean, and so gregarious that you left feeling deeply disappointed you couldn’t hear him make fun of libertarian men forever. This year, Branum’s back, and his annual Gay Bash is prime time to see solid sets from queer comedians. I’m especially excited for Seattle comedian Nick Sahoyah, who killed at Bridgetown last year, and Portland’s own Caitlin Weierhauser, one of the local comedians I’ve seen the most growth from over the past couple of years. Sat May 6, 9 pm, Paris Theater, 6 SW 3rd, $15
Let’s Do It With Bri Pruett
Is it vain to recommend a show starring one of the Mercury’s former columnists? MAYBE SO. But when that former columnist is Bri Pruett, it’s unavoidable. Let’s Do It With Bri Pruett was a charming, educational sex column, and even though Pruett now resides in LA (*sobbing emoji*), the spirit of her kindhearted approach to sex ed lives on in this charming, educational Bridgetown show. Expect Pruett’s signature refreshing candor and a lineup of guests including the bafflingly multitalented Dave Hill, Portland comedian and #FatAnimals illustrator Becky Braunstein, and pun king Myq Kaplan, who you should follow on Twitter if you’d like some cute jokes to disrupt the internet’s cesspool of political disappointment and MRA outrage. Thurs May 4, Paris Theater, 6 SW 3rd, 8:30 pm, $15
The New Negroes
Each year, one of my favorite parts of Bridgetown is getting to see Baron Vaughn (of Grace and Frankie) perform as many times as possible. The first year I covered the festival, this happened by accident. Vaughn seemed to be on the docket at almost every show I went to, but his set was never stale no matter how many times I saw it—he’s that good at his job. The New Negroes is Vaughn’s reliably strong showcase featuring African American comedians, and this year Portland stand-up (and one of the Mercury’s Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy) Marcus Coleman is joining the lineup. This is usually one of the festival’s best showcases. Do not miss it. Thurs May 4, 10 pm, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside, $15; Fri May 5, 10 pm, Bossanova Ballroom, 722 E Burnside, $20