We take our battle to the streets! Well, the court of pulic opinion.I think the original author whoever it may be delivers an honest critique while remaining fairly on-point and objective. I'm guessing the four are Harvy's, Helium, Curious and Brody. I'm glad I got that by the way. For a second there I thought the Crab Bowl bay have been being recognized as a legitamate comedy club. My thoughts on the showcase's however, the "old guard" which only realy took office about a year and a half ago, consisting of many of the names mentioned in the article, are agains the showcases, unless they are their own. And the reason for this is simple the big names in Portland Comedy are gettin' paid. Paid large by the large comedy houses. They discurage the younger from comedians fron doing the showcases in a feeble attempt to control the comedy scene. But what really happens is. The younger comedians are getting more and more showcases that the big names not only refuse to go to, but also aim to deminish. And what happening is the younger comedians are getting more stage time in nicer venues than the open mic's. Rooms conducive to more realistic experience in the real world where the the folks come out to see some crazy comedians. Every attemp to hold back art backfires and explodes in your face, no Fruedian refrence intended. But all in all comedy is bustleing and continues to grow. In part by the big names and big name comedy houses, but also in part to all the hard-working small show producers who help foster a new generation of stand-up comics.
Anyone who reads this will know for a fact that you are crazy and inexperienced. Why don't you post your real name? And who are these favored sons? In every scene there is a section of kooks who think of stand up comedy the same way the movie "Hackers" thought of hacking. I smell corn.
Portland has a fantastic, burgeoning comedy scene. I don't think it is anywhere near a bubble. Austin is a similar city in size and spirit and supports a comedy scene that seems to me to be 10 times as big as ours.
We haven't even started to understand that there is comedy beyond stand up in Portland. At Curious Comedy Theater, we do fantastic improv and sketch comedy (as well as stand up) and people don't even know what that is yet. New York, LA and Chicago all understand the varieties of comedy and Boston, Austin, and other smaller cities are following suit.
Bridgetown, Helium and Curious are bringing consistently good to great comedy and many of the smaller comedy shows cropping up - whether stand up, sketch, or improv - are great, too. The ones that aren't good won't last. The ones that are good to great will.
I look forward to the conversation evolving from reactions to the newness of a comedy scene in Portland to actual reviews of comedy - what is solid and what isn't and why - like we see for music, movies and theater. I know we are getting there. Slowly but surely, we are getting there.
"Ian Karmel who, after taking the contest a year earlier, has become perhaps Portland's most recognized stand-up." This is like saying that someone has becoming the world's most renowned mime. That being said, Ian is without a doubt in the top tier of Portland comics.
If you ask the average Portlander who their favorite local comedian is, they'll ask you to leave em alone. This is not a reflection of Portland's comedic talent, but rather a condemnation of the logistical side of Portland's funny side. Indeed, before a bubble can pop, it must first inflate. With four legitimate comedy clubs in the city, one could assume that the bubble has reached a threshold. Not true.
For the sake of the argument thought, let's say that the "bubble" does pop. What does this mean?
It means that 3 of the 4 comedy clubs shut down. Since someone like Ron Funches is rumored to receive $50 a weekend at Helium, I doubt this will throw Portland comedy into a depression. The open mic nights will continue, and the booking companies that put on profitable shows will continue unabated, even boosted by the lack of expensive competition. Sorry, but when a Corona costs $5 at a venue, its business model lacks credibility.
But for the organizations that are serious about expanding and improving the Portland Comedy Scene, any noticeable "pop" of the bubble will be nothing but an opportunity in disguise. There is an abundance of bars in Portland, many with stages and sound systems that suit comedy. The venues that can accommodate more than 100 people are crying out for entertainment options that will pack their bars during down nights. These are the showcases that will bring in audiences and enhance the reputation of comedy in Portland in the long run, at a grassroots level.
Indeed, this is where newborn booking companies come into play. They will be the ones that get 200 people into a venue on a Wednesday and pay the comics for their talents. They will be the ones that lift the comedy scene into a regular weekly attraction around Portland. No working class couple is trying to go to Helium where they can buy a $9.50 six ounce martini, especially during a recession.
Let's thank Allah for something called "Creative Destruction." As Augie Smith has pointed out, nobody can make a living as a comic by just doing gigs in Portland. And even though, as one would have it from the author's past articles, there may be only six or seven comics in Portland, our city still has the potential to renew a type of cheap, live entertainment: affordable, accessible and engaging stand up comedy shows, that happen multiple times a week at venues spanning the Metro Area. Such a concept would hopefully intrigue the author, but again, judging by his past articles, the author may have already picked his horses. As a writer myself, I doubt that, and am willing to give the author the benefit of the doubt.
Let's be real: artistically, Portland has ALWAYS punched above its weight, and rightfully so. We are overdue for a comedic breakout. But an article like this, that focusses on a comedy show that isn't even the biggest in its area this week, does no justice to just how burgeoning our city's comedy scene is.
The author is correct that comedy tends to be a bubble-bust dynamic, but one would hope he branches out beyond his usual suspects. After all, the Oregonian certainly has, and they're practically a non-profit organization now. The least the Mercury can do is be honest to the actual comedy scene, and not just to a few favored sons.
Ian Karmel is the best. He was my instructor for the "standup comedian" course at the Brody Theatre. Great training, solid advice; not to mention fun. He got me off in the right direction; the rest is up to me.
For once, Andrew R. Tonry, you and I totally agree. Sincerely, Shawn Fleek
Totally agreed. I love this art more than any, controlling a room on your wit is amazing to do as it is to watch. Most comedy is based on pain, so It makes sense in this social environment we live in Comedy will rise, I leave you with this.
Everything human is pathetic. The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven. ~Mark Twain
Here's the extended version:
That's what I just thought too!! That's IT?!
Marc Maron blast from the past: Stalker Guilt Syndrome
"...Because you're all hypocrites..." is his license for regurgitating bigotry. Tosh likes to think that his comedy de-constructs political correctness -- it doesn't, he's just a douche. AND is a comedian only a step above the likes of Mencia.
she's actually very funny and what the hell have you ever done with your life to criticize someone else?
Oh my gosh! You can't imagine getting the truth from network news either! Thats the difference. When you see her live she is real. The filters everyone else has applied just come off, and she can be funny like a friend you hang out with for the same reason. But so much more so. It would be lame to miss one of her shows tonight!!
wow that's a lame comment.. you haven't seen her obviously. She's totally funny.
She happened to be my favorite part of LCS.
I can't imagine her being funny, she is really lame on LCS. I'm not even sure why they chose her as a judge.
That saddest end to an interview ever.
I've been in P-Town for four years. An avid comedy fan i've seen what the City has to offer and would contend that seats are empty because the local comedy scene is primarily focused on Gen Y adolescent humor. Anyone over 40 wants more than dick/fart/poop/and genital jokes - a rather small, myopic and arrogant worldview that demonstrates a distinct lack of intelligence or sophistication. This stuff gets old and ceases to be creatively interesting. (Check out the above picture of some dude pissing on the wall. Give me a break. This is four year old humor. At least the Penis Puppet guys did something original with their dicks). Some of the improv groups show possibility but generally speaking those of us who have disposable income tend to spend it on the big boys/girls who pass through town and know what their doing ...Craig Ferguson, Paula Poundstone, BIll Maher, etc.
I love to laugh and will continue to rather sporadically check out the local comedy venue but not with any expectations or gusto.
For up-to-date info about Portland comedy news and events, you can visit pdxcomedyblog.wordpress.com!
This is a fantastic read...and an even better audiobook. To hear Ferguson tell you his own life with his voice is powerful.
By the way, I saw his standup a few weeks ago in Denver and it's hilarious...well worth your time and your money!
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