[Portland's funniest funny guy IAN KARMEL has graciously agreed to allow Blogtown a peek into the life of a touring comedian with this new series, "Comedy Tour Diaries." Travel along with Ian as he brings laffs to some lucky people in Philly, Minneapolis, Austin and more!—eds.]

Philadelphia Tour Diary

Friday, April 6th, 3pm — The most important, fundamental part of being a stand-up comedian never change: Write. Perform. Edit. That's all you need. How do you start? Write some jokes, find an open mic and perform those jokes, slowly edit out the stuff that doesn't work. How does Louis CK do stand-up? Writes, performs, edits. You can take classes if you need structure, buy books if you need writing exercises, but ultimately they're all going to tell you that you need to write, perform and edit. If you want to get better faster, then do those things more often. That is all the advice I would give to people interested in doing stand-up comedy.

I was doing the writing part of the holy triumvirate when I heard some sirens and yelling. I went to go check it out because I'm a curious little kitty, and holy shit! It's Occupy Philadelphia!

Occudelph Halflife

More after the jump!


I have to be honest for a second. I was never down with Occupy Portland. I'm not against them, either. I think most of their points are valid, I was just cynical about the effectiveness of setting up camp in Portland, Oregon. I visited the Portland encampment a couple of times, but I just kind of saw it like a diorama at a really smelly natural history museum. Seeing the protests in Philadelphia, home of so many other demonstrations in our nation's history, put the movement in a new light... then again, it's really easy to get sucked in to the romanticism of it all when you're watching people march past the old, important-ass City Hall and gather in front of the line waiting to see the Liberty Bell and read them the constitution.

Ill probably quit comedy and just start taking important pictures.
  • I'll probably quit comedy and just start taking important pictures.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of a shorter line! Am I right?! Im right, shut-up guys.
  • Ian Karmel
  • Life, liberty and the pursuit of a shorter line! Am I right?! I'm right, shut-up guys.

8:30 pm — The jokes are hitting in Philadelphia, I have my first set that I'd consider “killing” and I am relieved. Portland is such a nurturing creative environment, which is good! Portland breeds astoundingly creative comedians who play with the conventions of the art form and use satire, characters and set-plays to be funny—comics like Christian Ricketts, Tynan DeLong and Jen Allen (go see these people at Bridgetown)—but this same nurturing environment can make you feel insecure about heading outside of Portland. There was a real part of me that was afraid I'd be telling jokes in Philadelphia and someone would throw a bag of wet garbage at me after my second Chewbacca reference. The jokes worked, though, and the Philly crowds were great.

ENOUGH WITH THE SERIOUSNESS. Look what happened in between shows!

Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you...
  • Ian Karmel
  • Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you...

It gets mad boring between shows! Even when the headliner is awesome, you can only watch them so many times, and you have to keep yourself entertained. What's more entertaining than getting Kathy Ireland to wish you a Happy Passover? What's that? Oh, you didn't say anything? Sorry, man, I thought you said something. Yeah it was pretty fun.