I performed at Bridgetown in 2010, thanks to a fellow comedian vouching for me, and I had a good time. Okay, actually it was up and down. Mostly because I was stunned at the lack of ethnic diversity in Portland. And I was double stunned that the hipsters of Portland —- the bulk of the audience who attend the festival —- wanted no part of me talking and/or yelling about it. I didn't really think too much about returning until it I realized I could go back with the sociopolitical comedy show I lead with Janine Brito and Nato Green, Laughter Against The Machine. I figured this way the people of Portland would know if they came to see me that they were in for some yelling. Honestly, it also probably*** helped that I was able to persuade Margaret Cho to headline the show.
Is there a difference between white shame and white guilt? I think I developed some white shame this weekend after one comic referred to Portland crowds as "grotesquely pale." Even more than hipsters, Portland's lack of diversity was one of the festival's running threads. (Although in my experience this year, the only comic who got a negative reaction to a joke about race was Louis Katz, a white comic who made a joke I don't remember and then assured the audience that it was "okay to laugh" because his joke "wasn't actually racist." This coming from a comic who opened with jokes about vegans, hippies with dirty feet, and—seriously—took a swing at "Didgeridoo? More like didgeriDON'T!" It was the only moment all weekend I was remotely tempted to heckle, because there are few things more insulting than a comic assuming the crowd isn't laughing because they don't get his joke.)
Anyway, read the whole of Bell's piece for an out-of-towner's perspective on the fest, including kind words for the heroic organizational efforts of Andy Wood, and more praise for Moshe Kasher—he dominated this thing.
Also note: Everyone is concerned about Andy Dick.