ON SUNDAY, March 13, the Portland comedy scene bid adieu to this year's graduating class of stand-ups bound for LA. Making good on a promise of something "way better than a Dave Coulier show," Amy Miller and Sean Jordan's half-winking, half-sincerely-bittersweet farewell showcase had the Aladdin Theater packed with local stand-ups onstage and off. On hand to say their goodbyes the only way they know how—with jokes, and also some uncharacteristic feelings talk—were Bri Pruett, Gabe Dinger, Anthony Lopez, and Nathan Brannon. Phil Schallberger and Jordan Casner hosted a fake, very weird sale of Jordan and Miller's personal belongings no longer needed in LA; the wares included "Amy Miller's glass ceiling," which the hosts tried to break, to tragicomic effect.
Pruett closed her set—which included her delightful joke about objectifying male cyclists (sorry, male cyclists)—with an anecdote about performing with Miller at a show in LA, where Miller was introduced as "the queen of Portland comedy." A man turned to Pruett, she said, and asked if it bothered her to hear Miller identified that way. Pruett said no, because, "There can be two queens."
It was a rare instance of putting into words an annoyance that women breaking into male-dominated fields often face—of being invariably compared to other women doing the same thing, and thus artificially pitted against the people who might otherwise be their closest allies.
Pruett wasn't having any of it, and took the opportunity to voice her support for and appreciation of Miller. It was one of the most genuinely touching statements about gender in comedy I've ever seen.
Miller took the stage after her many openers. She delivered a long-con joke about her Twitter enemies, like "Kelsey, from Kansas City, Missouri." Jordan followed with a hip youth pastor impression, the last he'll give as a Portlander. The whole thing coalesced in an unexpected Rihanna cover sung by Miller herself, surrounded by the show's full lineup and backed by the Decemberists' Chris Funk, Ural Thomas and the Pain's Scott Magee, Adam Shearer of Weinland, the Thermals' Hutch Harris, and Bitch'n's Emily Overstreet. But before all that happened, Miller broke her often-dry persona and simply said, "I wanna just cry for 20 minutes, but I can't."