A busy week in comedy kicks off tonight. First there's Helium's inaugural Open Mic (8:00PM, free w/ two-item minimum), unfortunately it looks as if a number of Portland's comics have other plans.

The locals are throwing a roast.

The guest of honor is Stumptown comic Kristine Levine, who'll celebrate her 40th birthday being berated by 13 comedians. It's like a gang-bang on the ego. Who is Levine? I'm unfamiliar with her work, but her myspace bio provides plenty of material by itself:

A single mother who raised her chubby kids while working at a porn store, brings her unorthodox, yet highly effective and funny, parenting techniques to the stage. Want to keep your kids off of drugs and everyone else out of their pants?

The lineup is plentiful and solid. It ought rapid-fire, as the following comics—Portland's defacto Friar's Club—have just five or ten minutes apiece: Ron Osborne, Dan Cosette, Dax Jordan, Veronica Heath, Dwight Slade, Holli Pappan, Richard Bain, Josh Lay, Floyd J. Phillips, Andy Andris, Jon Green, Auggie Smith, and Lonnie Bruhn.

No word if they'll be dressing up (and I doubt it). But roasts are a great change of pace in the world of stand up—they prize quality writing and a well-sharpened wit. With a common topic, limited time to develop a routine and no opportunity to test it before an audience, roasts shine a light at those on top of their craft.

The Roast of Kristine Levine - 8:00PM @ Dante's, Tuesday August 17th