PERHAPS YOU DIDN’T NOTICE, but Portland comedy is BLOWING UP. Funny people are doing funny things all over town, including stand-up, sketch comedy, improv, music, and more! That’s why it was high time we gathered a bunch of this city’s comedic movers and shakers onto one stage for one night—and we’re calling this showcase “The Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy.” In this one-of-a-kind show you’ll see Portland’s best-known stand-up comedians (plus hilarious up-and-comers) as well as luminaries from the local improv, sketch, and music worlds. And it all goes down on FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, at Revolution Hall (1300 SE Stark) at 8 pm—and all for the low, low price of $15 advance, and $18 at the door. So get your tickets right now at merctickets.com before they sell out!< Wanna know more? Here’s the Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy lineup of laff-makers, and why they are simply... UNDISPUTABLE!

BRI PRUETT

You may know her from the Mercury’s sex-positive advice column Let’s Do It with Bri Pruett, her many comedy appearances around town, or maybe just out shopping at Safeway. Pruett has Portland’s number for sure. From her pitch-perfect impressions of Pearl neighborhood fitness-head bakery cruisers to her laugh-’til-you-cry impression of a Blazers game—played without a ball but with love, honor, and respect for emotions—Pruett wields her wit with precision. Her honest call-outs about annoying Portland tics are dealt with so much love and “you do you” that I always come away from her sets feeling kind of GOOD about myself? Does comedy do that? Bri Pruett do it. SUZETTE SMITH


ALEX FALCONE

Stand-up Alex Falcone always produces a great set, full of funny everyman jokes about Fred Meyer, cream cheese and bagels, and the use of time machines to kill fascist babies. (So maybe not every “everyman”—because not every shmoe is this hilarious.) His wry sense of humor pokes fun at eating ice cream, playing too many video games, and making out with the wife. He’s a wonderful comedy-night host, like at his great live talk show Late Night Action with Alex Falcone, and he’s charming, likeable, and once made me spit pizza out of my mouth because he was so funny. (I’m glad it didn’t come out of my nose.) So I guess you’d be something akin to a baby killer if you miss his performance. Don’t be a baby killer. COURTNEY FERGUSON


KIRSTEN KUPPENBENDER

Kirsten Kuppenbender’s the genius behind Lez Stand Up, which champions queer-friendly, feminist-informed stand-up and happens to be one of the city’s best comedy showcases, full stop. (Although it’s not recommended for anyone who thinks “lesbianism is a phase!” jokes are funny, which is something that shouldn’t have to be said in fucking Portland in fucking 2016.) Kupp’s hilarious, and prone to off-the-cuff brilliance, and her jokes always make me realize how not-for-me so much stand-up really is, because they’re so instantly funny, so legible to a feminist audience. They take me back to my women’s college undergrad days, when no one gave you a weird, blank stare just for using the word “kyriarchy” in a sentence. Fuck the kyriarchy! And don’t miss Kirsten Kuppenbender. Ever. MEGAN BURBANK


MOHANAD S. ELSHIEKY

“Republicans are against anything that enters America from the Middle East, but I see they have no problem with hummus and Christianity.” That tweet from up-and-coming Portland comedian Mohanad S. Elshieky clearly shows his whip-smart political bent. Hailing originally from Libya, much of Elshieky’s comedy is built on self-effacing observations of being a Middle Easterner in politically correct Portland, and our population’s sometimes hilariously clumsy ways of dealing with people of color. His impeccable timing and sweet nature is one of the reasons comedy watchers across the city have been perking up their ears whenever he hits the stage—because he gets better every time. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY


KATIE NGUYEN

I’ve been a huge fan of Katie Nguyen ever since I first saw her perform at a comedy showcase in a record store shortly after I moved to Portland. (There, she won my undying devotion with her hilarious yawn-blocking bit.) Nguyen’s sets are wonderfully dry, and involve a lot of brow-furrowing and awkward miming—you can tell she’s also a very good improviser—and I have never seen a set from her that didn’t make me laugh, even if I’d seen it before and knew what punchline was coming next. That’s the best testament to Nguyen’s consistency as a performer I can think of, and it’s tremendously rare. MB


THE ACES

Shelley McLendon really knows how to rock a lower horse half (when playing a moody centaur), but no one can beat Michael Fetters when it comes to twisting his body into a pretzel. Buckle in for some fast ’n’ physical, improv-laced comedy from Portland sketch power duo McLendon and Fetters, AKA the Aces! I’ve seen them be sexually frustrated sloths. I’ve seen them underestimate sharks. I can never guess what they’ll roll out next, but I know it will be weird and hilarious and really make me think about animal rights. They’re kind of famous for their animal impressions, if you haven’t gathered. (I considered making this review just exclamation points. In short, never miss the Aces!) SS


JASON TRAEGER

While some comedians utilize intimate, one-on-one crowdwork to keep wandering ears within reach, Jason Traeger has developed a stage presence with an octopus-like suction that allows him to latch on to entire audiences all at once. Like some sort of twisted version of Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus, Traeger’s polished demeanor comes across as calming at the onset, then, in an instant, he’ll have the entire audience barreling down a strange and psychedelic highway at light speed. Stray from the act for even a moment and you might find yourself alone and in a frightening place as you attempt to tune back in. Stick with him, and not only will you experience one hell of a wild ride, you’ll probably find yourself consumed by fits of laughter, and a bit closer to understanding the inner workings of one of the wildest minds in Portland comedy. CHIPP TERWILLIGER


MARCUS COLEMAN

Another bright new star on the Portland comedy scene, St. Louis native Marcus Coleman starts each set with quick, gut-punch gag that puts you on the ropes with laughter. Then he keeps up the laugh attack with sharp, smart jabs about politics, family, and life as a black man in St. Louis, which—SURPRISE!—is a weeee bit different from life as a black man in Portland. His hobbies include $1 tacos, shots of Jameson, and “trying to make racism funny.” And I’ll be goddamn if he doesn’t do exactly that. WSH


THE DOUBLECLICKS

Becoming an undisputable genius of comedy is no easy feat. Add a musical component to the mix and it seems downright impossible. Fortunately, Portland is home to the charming and prolific geek-folk duo the Doubleclicks. Made up of of sisters Angela Webber (guitar and ukulele) and Aubrey Webber (cello), the Doubleclicks write songs that will make you laugh without leaning on parody and vulgarity. Songs like “Cats at Parties” will have you beaming while also addressing the real struggle of overcoming social anxiety. Meanwhile, a heartfelt touring song like “Coming Home to You” finds more common ground with the Mountain Goats than it does with Weird Al or Tenacious D, yet it still kicks off with a Dungeons & Dragons reference and manages to sneak in an all-too-relatable reference to dinner at Chipotle. It’s traits like these that make the Doubleclicks undisputable geniuses, and a rare treasure in the world of musical comedy acts. CT


BANG + BURN

The time that’s elapsed since I voluntarily watched an action movie is probably most appropriately measured in years. (There is maybe one James Bond movie I like? I’m not at all sorry.) But I make an exception for the improvised action movies invented on the spot by fantastic duo Bang + Burn, AKA John Breen and Beau Brousseau, two of Portland’s improv veterans. They’re a joy to watch as they act out all manner of action-movie tropes—secret agents, villains in underground lairs, secretly evil sexy ladies—all while narrating their own slow-motion fight choreography and reminding you why improv is worth fucking with at all. MB


PHIL SCHALLBERGER

Every time Phil Schallberger steps on stage he brings something new—no two performances are alike. Schallberger has a talent for creating bizarre characters who crack open social rituals and expose them for what they are: absurd. He also has a talent for innovation, often using pre-recorded audio, unusual props, and concepts so alien to a standard comedy show that you might think you’re watching a literal alien doing stand-up. If you’re looking for observations about airline food and dating, maybe look elsewhere. But if you want to know what it’s like to date airline food? Phil just might be the guy to tell you. CAMPY DRAPER


THE LIBERATORS

If the Portland improv community were forced to elect a dictator, the Liberators would win hands down. This four-person improvisational team—starring John Breen, Shelley McLendon, Nicholas Kessler, and Tony Marcellino—have been killing it in Portland for years, while setting a very high bar for all other forms of comedy in town. Smart, funny, spontaneous, creative... those are four words. Here are four more words! Edgy, poignant, sexy, sinewy—they all describe the Liberators when they take the stage and transform themselves magically, on-the-spot, into sea turtles, amorous cops, 18th century damsels, geriatric ninjas... anything their beautiful, warped, and hilarious minds can bring to life. And in the Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy, they’ll be presenting one of their special recent cinematic works, which will bring their bizarre and hilarious characters into sharp focus. WSH


NARIKO OTT

Want to know what happens when a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am gets hit by lightning and turns into a person? So does Nariko Ott. And now that I think of it, that might be a good metaphor for Ott, too. With his luscious head-banger locks, sweet-guitar-lick mustache, and shoot-from-the-hip attitude, Ott has been able to establish himself as one of the best stand-ups in Portland. In fact, the dude just won Portland’s Funniest Person 2016, and in 2015 he was named one of Splitsider magazine’s “Top Up and Coming Comedians.” He’s definitely one to keep your eye on. CD


WHAT A LINEUP! Plus, “The Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy” will be hosted by the Mercury’s own Wm. Steven Humphrey—who has been known to elicit the occasional guffaw, and may just have a trick or two up his blousy sleeve!