The Bridgetown Comedy festival is next week and it's always fucking spectacular. There's a truly amazing, diverse range of talent, and if you go to even a FEW of the shows, I can guarantee you'll see something so funny that you'll feel like tearing a hole in the sky and laughing directly in the face of every god who has ever existed. Check the Mercury next week where other people (Alison Hallett) will write better than I (FOR A GIRL) about why you should go see Bridgetown.
In addition to bringing in stellar comedians from around the country, Bridgetown also includes some local comedians—but due to Bridgetown becoming, truly, one of the best comedy festivals in the country, and Portland's comedy scene becoming one of the best up-and-coming comedy scenes in the country, there's no way to get every deserving local comedian onto the festival every year. I don't envy the people who have to make that decision, and luckily, you don't have to decide!
Here's a list of some comedians who won't be at Bridgetown this year, but you'd a REAAAAAL schmuck if you didn't catch their act before they moved on to a bigger city, or they find out they love speed chess and quit comedy or like, maybe they get killed by a hippo.
Christian Ricketts—I've talked about him in this space before. Go fucking see him.
Jimmy Newstetter—You go to YouTube, you look up Jimmy Newstetter, you enjoy the fuck out of it, and then you go see it live—'cus it's even better live. Frequently, stand-up comedians play inside a set boundary. We learn the set-up, punch-line dynamic, and though some people obscure that dynamic to almost unrecognizable extents, it's still set-up, punch-line. Jimmy Newstetter can tell that kind of joke, but he's best when venturing outside the safety zone. His commitment to bits is staggering and staggeringly funny. His imagination is a beautiful fucking place, and we're lucky that place is still in Portland.
Catch Newstetter at the Down To Funny comedy showcase at EastBurn, 1800 E Burnside, on Mon April 15, 8:30 pm.
Jen Allen—You know how in old cartoons, somebody would travel through time and they'd be floating through space, but it'd be filled with math equations and clocks and hieroglyphics and whatnot? Watching a Jen Allen set is like floating through that space—but instead of math, it's outlandish impressions, pure absurdity, touching honesty, and then a theory about what it sounds like when a Care Bear poops. (Jen is my girlfriend, go see her despite her terrible judgment.)
Jen's performing May 5 at the Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th.
Marcia Belsky—Portland's sharpest, Jewish New York wit is from Oklahoma, somehow. She can verge on the
political, but never without being charming. She can eviscerate an idiot, but never without a touch of well-humored empathy. You know when you talk to someone at a party, and they think they're being really funny, but also making a bunch of great points, but they're just being obnoxious and you want to spit on their shoes? Marcia is the person they
think they're being.
Marcia is hosting Down To Funny at EastBurn, 1800 E Burnside, on Mon April 15, 8:30 pm.
Phil Schallberger—Phil has always been one of the funniest people in Portland. Then one day he broke his jaw and I assumed he'd stop doing stand-up for a while, but later that week he did a thing with music and note cards that was one of the funniest things I've ever seen. His frustration with some unseen force constantly produces some of the most innovative, dynamic comedy in the entire city.