There’s a new comedy festival in town: the Pacific Crest Comedy Fest (PCCF). And if you’re like me, you’re wondering, “What the hell is a Pacific Crest?” And also, what’s this fest about?

“We named it after the Pacific Crest Trail,” says Kirsten Kuppenbender, one of the festival’s organizers. “You may have read the book Wild? Inspired by my life?” Wild was written by another local, Cheryl Strayed, but Kuppenbender is a comedian (a founding member of Lez Stand-Up) so she gives a lot of joke answers at the PCCF meeting I’ve attended to interview the festival’s trio of organizers. The other two are Siren Theater owner Shelley McLendon and former Bridgetown organizer Randi Wigginton.

“I don’t think we got into it that far,” McLendon says, about the festival name.

“We got a little bit of a pun rhyme in there and that was that,” Kuppenbender agrees.

Getting into it, the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service says the PCT “runs along the high crests of the Sierra and Cascades mountain ranges.” So “Pacific Crest” is a term for the highest parts of the West Coast mountain ranges. That’s actually a great metaphor for a fest which seems to feature every local stand-up comedy show that I like, my favorite comedians who moved away, and a nice assortment of promising up-and-comers.

McLendon diplomatically steers away from my best of Portland label, saying, “There are lots of things we weren’t able to include that are also the best of Portland.”

“It’s a sampler platter.” Wigginton says.

“It’s a taster,” McLendon agrees. This seems as good a time as any to mention that the Siren Theater just added Hot Pockets to their menu.

PCCF will be wholly contained at The Siren, with shows happening in both their main hall and the theater’s upstairs loft. The Siren’s loft used to be Kickstand Comedy, before they moved to their NW Broadway location, so although the Siren has been home to festivals like Sketchfest, this will be the first time they’ve been able to use both stages for programming.

If you’re one of the festival’s weekend passholders, segueing between shows should be easy. “Passholders can go wherever the fuck they want.” Kuppenbender says. “And even if you aren’t a passholder, you can still go to one show and then decide to go to a different show. You’d just have to buy a ticket.” McLendon adds that the passes don’t include admission to the Girls Gone Mild brunch show (Sun Nov 10, 11 am) because that show comes with waffles.

It’s definitely tempting to hop around between shows at the PCCF because the line-up is bonkers quality: For instance, Caitlin Weierhauser and Amy Miller are reprising their Uncle Cait & Aunt Amy Holiday Show (Sat Nov 9, 8 pm) as a road show. That means they’re touring up from LA, but I bet if you brought antiques, they’d give appraising a shot. And as I mentioned before, all my favorite local shows are part of the festival’s programming: Rants Off/Dance Off (Sat Nov 9, 10 pm), Minority Retort (Fri Nov 8, 8 pm), Earthquake Hurricane (Thurs Nov 7, 7 pm), and the Mercury’s I, Anonymous Show (Sat Nov 9, 6 pm)—hosted by Kate Murphy with guests Weierhauser, Bri Pruett, and Steven Wilber. Weierhauser and Pruett both used to be I, Anon hosts so that one should be pretty spicy!

Although many are hailing PCCF as “the successor to Bridgetown” (oops, I think that was us), especially due to Wigginton’s involvement (she’s also helped organize High Plains Comedy Fest and LA Riot Comedy Fest), the team disagrees.

“We’ve gotten that question a few times,” McLendon says. “‘Are you trying to replace Bridgetown?’ But how could we? Nor do we want to. We hope they come back. The things we’re trying to do with PCCF are in part inspired by the caliber of Bridgetown. There’s so much talent in Portland. And people want to see it, so why not do this?”