[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 of course, PDX!—eds.]

Back in Portland

Thursday, April 12th 2pm — Bridgetown Comedy Festival is magical. Andy Wood is either himself a wizard, or he is operating in concert with a league of wizards. Andy Wood doesn't have a long, flowing beard flecked with wisdom and pipe tobacco, but does that necessarily mean he's not a wizard? Does a wizard have to have a beard? I don't know. Wouldn't you think a powerful wizard could cast a spell of vanishing on his beard? But then, why would you hide such a fly beard? If anybody wants to get a coffee and talk about it, let me know... anyway, Bridgetown is magic.

Example? My friend Ron Funches and I get a text message that says to head down to Big-Ass Sandwiches. So we get to the food cart and that dude from Man vs. Food (who should definitely look way more like Funches and I than he does) is there filming a new show about sandwiches. They ask us to be in a segment, which is cool on it's own, but then they asked us to eat a sandwich for the segment. I've been on TV before, and it's great, but it's never been delicious—the combination of the two? Get the fuck outta here. Now, maybe this isn't Bridgetown magic, the cart is wonderful and deserves to have an infinite television loop of famous gluttons getting down on their sandwiches, but I like to think one of the festival's wizards was there, peeking over a thundercloud, sitting high atop a horse made of the sacred whispers of the ancients.

8pm — Hella late—I hope that whatever you do for a living, you have something that is even remotely like Bridgetown. It's fucking spectacular. I'm sure it's great for a comedy fan, a movable feast (Ian Karmel watched Midnight in Paris seven times when he was in Philadelphia. Lonesome.) There are so many brilliant comedians, amazing shows and fantastic venues, it's easy to get overwhelmed. There are almost too many awesome shows. It's like going hunting in Oregon Trail—look at all these fucking buffalo! What do you mean I can only carry 250 pounds back to the wagon?! To be a comedian involved in Bridgetown, it's all that and more.

Now, it's fun for the obvious reasons: You get to perform on great shows with comedians from all around the country, people you probably wouldn't have seen if it weren't for the festival, you get to be inspired by dozens and dozens of different comics from a myriad of backgrounds and locales who bring all of their influences to bear, and it's a great way to grow as a comedian.

The comedy is the best part, it really is, it's amazing. HOWEVA (STEPHEN A. SMITH WHERE YOU AT!?) the after-parties are also very much for fun having. It's just a giant room full of your peers and heroes, with donated beer and vodka and pizza. You get to talk about the night's shows with people you've never met before, but who already feel like friends. You run into people you haven't seen for months, years even. You make connections in different cities, to make your road work easier and economically viable (see diary entry number one) and you're doing it all in one of the happiest environments imaginable! Pretty much everyone is in a great mood, it's like you're all on ecstasy (figuratively, mostly, I think... who the fuck even does ecstasy? I don't think comics.) It's just a giant celebration of what we're all lucky enough to do for a living. It's something to think about when you're splayed out on a stiff bed in some weird city watching your eighth episode in a row of some Travel Channel show... which you might be able to see Funches and me in soon, because of a bunch of wizards.

By the way, come see me—and Matt Braunger, Ron Funches, Sean Jordan, Shane Torres, Richard Bain and a very, very special secret guest—tonight at The Hollywood Theatre at 11:30pm!