Finally, after a month of performing six nights a week, Don Front was named the winner of the 2011 Portland Comedy Contest. The trophy—and the accompanying $1000 first prize—went to the right guy.
As the contest wrapped at Harvey's Wednesday night it seemed the other comics knew what was coming. Frost entered with a basically insurmountable lead. Despite an impressive showing by runner-up Richie Stratton, whose manic depression, self-loathing, brash, and wired physical style proved rather consistent, Frost's off-the-cuff, wide-eyed, vein-bursting spontaneity was something all-together new, singular and violently marvelous.
I shot the video above (coming soon—it's uploading) on the first night of the finals. Then the group had just been cut to the final five: Frost, Stratton, Gabe Dinger, Rico and Mike Coletta. That night Frost came out on fire, setting a ferocious pace. I felt like he should've won the contest right then and there, on the strength of that set alone. From then on it seemed his to lose. Stratton took second place, followed by Dinger, Coletta, and Rico.
Winning the contest with such a touch-and-go style is testament to Frost's honing of a particularly difficult craft—he doesn't write traditional jokes and bits, but rather flies off the handle about whatever catches his mind's eye in the hyper-caffeinated moment.
A professional comic, Frost was happy to take the winnings, although he joked that they don't come close to accounting for a month's worth of work. As such, he plans to get back on the road immediately.
Once he returns, do yourself a favor and see him. For years Don Frost been one of Portland's very best stand ups. Now he's got the title to prove it.
Read on for No Pun Intendo, Ground Kontrol's talent-laden comedy showcase
TREMENDOUS TALENT TONIGHT @ GROUND KONTROL
Although some of those Rock Band Karoeke nights were unintentionally hilarious, tonight marks Ground Kontrol's first shot at hosting comedy. While it's difficult to tell if the room and all its bleeping sounds and distracting screens will provide an effective incubator for stand up, the talent is unmistakable.
Indeed, Thursday evening's lineup features some of the best Portland has to offer plus some out-of-town comics, including Seattlite and Onion contributor Mike Drucker, and a super-secret guest. I can't say who, but here's a clue: this person's work has, fittingly, included performances of vintage Nintendo game music, including a rendition of the Mario Brothers underworld, level 1-2 soundtrack that goes "penis-penis-penis."
The evening was put together by the video-game loving local kingpin Ron Funches, who'll be joined by the towering Ian Karmel, Jimmy Newstetter, and Whitney Streed (who threw off an inspired tribute at Tuesday's special send-off party for Richard Bain at Suki's). Although he's not on the press release, I believe Bain has joined the bill. If not, get him up there. It may very well be our last time to see Bain before he becomes famous, as he's moving to L.A. at the end of the week.
See, this is a big one. There's so much god damn funny in this lineup that there's really no need for the games. But I would school some fools at NBA Jam afterwards...
No Pun Intendo @ Ground Kontrol - 10:00PM - Free
BRENT WEINBACH @ HELIUM
All this weekend the tremendous Brent Weinbach is headlining at Helium. A past recipient of the Andy Kaufman Award (previous winners include Reggie Watts), Weinbach is weird as all hell and a supremely versatile comic. He does it all: satire, one-liners, impressions, physical comedy, music, and all the way to some downright meta shit.
A perennial Bridgetown favorite, I've written about Weinbach before. Check it for a little background and some videos. Then get your tickets—he's not to be missed.