Comedy Is OK is the best comedy show in town. It's $5. Try it, you might like it.
Read up on this new invention, and how it might be used to make your 800 word rant decipherable. Other than being visually inaccessible, its pretty accurate. It was wrong for me to mention Ron Funches.
"Comedy hurts when it's bad. Much more than a shitty band, an awful comedian has the potential to turn audience members away from the art as a whole."
This is a good highlight of the double standard, but I just wanted to chime in that fear of shitty comics is about 30% of the reason I stay away from shows by unproven talents: fear of an obnoxious crowd is the other 70%.
The fake conversation format of stand-up really invites the drunks/assholes/dum-dums to try to participate, and it is really, really annoying, even worse than the "Freebird!" dickbags at concerts.
Did you attend Cheap Date? I didn't...because they were SOLD OUT when i got there. How dare you imply that these comics would put on a show that didn't meet or beat the standards of any other show in the city that night. They are amazing comics and the fact that they refuse to associate with the likes of you is a testament to many of us of your incompetence. "Young" comics...examine yourself and your material HONESTLY and ask yourself...would i feel satisfied as an audience member if i was the only person performing and had paid to see myself perform? If the answer is no then you are stealing from the public and being untrue to yourself and your art by allowing someone to pay you to do a set no matter how enticing it seems. He is right about one thing...one bad performance can put a sour taste in an inexperienced audience member's mouth and can deter them from seeing standup again at that venue. However, in my experience working during paid and free shows, that phenomenon increases for every dollar paid to see the show. You may perform in front of a "200" person audience and get paycheck for doing so...but more than likely, if you do something like that too soon in your career, you will lose the RESPECT of that audience...and ultimately you are not respecting yourself. I started my journey into the world of comedy by watching others...attending countless open mic's and just sitting in the audience supporting my friends. Those comics earned my respect because i saw them putting their blood, sweat and tears into their work. Watching them take the sting of every silence and enjoy the elation of every laugh. Watching them grow as comedians and progress from the bottom of an open mike list to being asked to do a showcase. Watching their art develop...had any of them been lured into one of these paid gigs too early in their comedic development I venture to say that it would have done little if anything for their career but give them a false sense of accomplishment and deter them from putting everything they had into perfecting their art. The process is grueling...but those refined by fire will emerge beautiful. To the comment above...there is no reason that a young comic in portland shouldn't be able to perform in at least 3 shows a week if they put in the work and contact the appropriate people. I have watched comics who are consistent and strong and have put in the work be rewarded for that with invites and performances in many of the showcases around town. Yes there are clubs that "edit" their shows and yes it can be frustrating as a comic. But to say that they are holding back art is going a little far. There are plenty of showcases or open mic/showcase combinations that are run by wonderful, hard-working people who are happy to give new comics a shot. You are almost certain to grace helium's stage the first time you sign up on their open mic list and when you get discouraged by not being chosen every week remember that the comedy scene IS flourishing and continuing to grow as you pointed out and that the up and coming comics deserve the same chance which means someone else will have to sit out. Are there politics involved, i'm sure there are. But if you don't like it, move on and put your time and talents elsewhere. But those "big names" deserve to get paid and i hardly doubt that the "large" payments they receive are enough to park a luxury car in their driveways. Just because they are paid does not mean they themselves are doing anything to discourage younger comics...in face many of them fully support younger comics or spend their time teaching and grooming them...and most of them are well loved and respected by the community. Which leads me to my last rant....@hookerwithapenis...How dare you use Ron's name to further your BS argument. He is an amazing person with a big heart both for people in general and for Portland comedy. He works hard for himself and his family and certainly deserves more respect than that from a piece of crap like you. I would rather get on a stage with him for free in front of a 3 person audience than be associated with one of your shows no matter how much you paid me. And i think there are several of us that feel the same...maybe more after this article and discussion so i guess in a way i should thank you. To all those working their tails off to "make it"....i congratulate you and keep up the hard work. To those who want an easy hand out for crappy sets...you will never get anywhere and you are shooting yourself in the foot.
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
#3 for COTW
AAAAARG! Ships don't run on dilithium, they run on a matter-antimatter reaction which the dilithium modulates. It's like saying a fuel cell runs on platinum! No! It runs on HYDROGEN!
Is there no end to the betrayals I must suffer at the hands of this benighted species?!?
The best part about this episode was Uhura all vamped out. Who is playing Uhura and will she be nearly as hot?
Arrive early. Two hours early. Maybe three.
The best thing for me about this show was how young the audience made me feel.
I was in a definite curmudgeon mood going into this, so my apologies for starting with a bad attitude (season tickets meant I was going).
And most of the rest of the audience was TOTALLY loving it, so I think if you are of the generation that came of age with Janis this could be a wonderful show for you. I felt a little bad when I stuffed my head in my hands as the crowd went wild around me.
The thing I had the hardest time with was that this was a "simulacrum of a rock concert." Which is in some ways odd, b/c concerts can very much be staged performances. But the artifice was too obvious for me, I guess? Felt like Disneyland? I'm not sure. Cat Stephani shares my first name, so I give her a thumbs up for that, but she sure looked healthy and conventionally beautiful. The patter was painful for me (and can be with an actual concert too), but I could tell the folks around in were finding it interesting. The audience really bummed me out too, man. :D
But setting aside my freakout of being surrounded by some of the challenging social aspects of my parents generation, I thought the music was technically impressive (I would totally go see Sabrina Elayne Carten put on a show and it was fun to watch the musicians) and I really enjoyed checking out the physical set and enjoying the fractals and streaming shit. I wonder if I had be drunk or stoned if that would have helped?
I wish the musicians had just been told to put on an awesome music show inspired by Janis or something.
did you actually go to this thing graham if so jokes on you they have your money and all you have is the regret. kinda like when you parents decided against abortion
I sent this in as a Blogtown tip, weeks ago! 1,700 teams entered, from all over the world. Only 15 were invited to compete in Hanover, and NWDP was the only US team. And of those 15 teams, NINE of them have the phrase "The National Ballet of..." in their names! Go scrappy Portland!
I'm going to the first open night of their new show tonight!
@lipp: I would say that every moment of the production that didn't have Sabrina Carten on stage was a cringe worthy moment. The Janis Joplin they presented was a boring hackneyed shit-brained hippy parody; or maybe Joplin really was that annoying and stupid. However, the production kept the usual high standards of PCS. It's just too bad that they didn't have a script worth working on.
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