"PATTON OSWALT has a funny quote," says Mikey Kampmann. "'Someone needs to set an ambition bomb off in Portland.'" And in their own little way, Kampmann and his partner-in-comedy Andrew Michaan are building that bomb.
Last October, the duo created Comedy Is OK, a monthly showcase of local comedians that just took over a regular first Thursday slot at the Clinton Street. To be sure, there are already plenty of nights packed with local standup acts. But most are open mics, whose wide range of talent—from genius to flat-out shit—rarely inspires audiences. Generally, comedy booking is highly incestuous—you do my show and I do yours. Michaan and Kampmann haven't played by those rules. "We book people 100 percent because they're funny and for no other reason," Michaan explains. "Some comics do not like [us] because that's our philosophy."
"Before we got into the comedy scene we didn't know there was a comedy scene," says Michaan. Since discovering Portland's standup community, not to mention starting a showcase, the duo has learned a lot.
Their hope is to widen the audience, bringing in both those who have been turned off by bad comedy and likeminded young people who've never been. "The message we're trying to bring with our show is: If you've been to a bad comedy show, we're sorry," says Michaan. And if you're thinking of going to a concert instead? "Just don't," Michaan laughs. "[Comedy] will be a more memorable experience."