Whenever I hit up Helium Comedy Club on the weekends when they have a marquee talent booked, I make sure to grab a ticket for the latest show possible. By this point, if said comic enjoys the legal refreshments of alcohol or weed, there's a better-than-average chance that they'll be well-buzzed by the time they hit the stage, making for a much looser and often sillier set. (This is also why Midnight Mass at the Funhouse Lounge is one of the best comedy shows in town. You get lots of nicely pickled stand-ups trying to maintain their control and dignity.)
That's why when I was finally able to make it out for some of the All Jane Comedy Fest (thanks for nothing, influenza...), I leapt at the chance to catch the last show of the night at Curious Comedy Theater, headlined by the great Alice Wetterlund. And sure enough, from the get-go, host Marcia Belsky let it be known that she knocked herself out for about three hours earlier in the day after indulging in some particularly dank green.
Not that the former Portlander showed any real signs of intoxication outside of a Cheshire Cat grin that stayed on her face the whole night. In fact, none of the comics really exhibited any evidence that they'd been getting lit up, outside of Rye Silverman who took down a glass of whisky as she performed a sharp set about dating and buying clothes as a trans woman, and the hotel in Alabama that gave her a room with no door. But there was definitely a wonderfully unkempt quality to the night that could have been the result of a bit of drink and a bit of smoke.
To that end, although all the comics were great, the best sets of the night were those that had a more unhinged quality to them, like Emily Maya Mills' slightly slurred anecdotes about being the girlfriend of a single dad ("One of the kids is a boy so nakedness is an issue now. I don't want them to be weird about human anatomy but I also don't want to be, like, 'Your stepmother has a body. Deal with it.'") and some delightfully scatterbrained work from another former Portlander, Rylee Newton.
The night also made me even more pissed off for being sick much of the past week, which forced me to miss almost the entire All Jane fest. I was unfamiliar with almost every name on the list of performers at the Saturday night show I attended, with exceptions being Alice Wetterlund (thanks to her fine turn on Silicon Valley) and Rye Silverman (her album Intimate Apparel is one of the best comedy releases of the year). But I walked away from the night with seven new favorite comedians whose careers I'm going to be following closely from here on out.
That's the beauty of festivals like this or Bridgetown or shows like Midnight Mass: When smart people who know good comedy put events together, you can trust that no matter what show you wander into, you're sure to love it. Alas, I could only see but one night of laffs, but I'll be sure to load myself up with zinc and vitamin C this time next year to ensure that I'm not laid low when All Jane 2016 rolls around.