Fall Arts 2016

Fall Arts & Culture Guide

It’s Peak Art Season in Portland. Here’s Your Game Plan.

Food and Ink

Cooks Tell the Stories Behind Their Tattoos

PICA Puts Down Roots

At This Year’s Time-Based Art Festival, the Stakes Are Higher

August Wilson, Guns, and Fractured Fairy Tales

Here Are the Mercury’s Fall Theater Picks!

Martha Grover’s Messy Lives

The End of My Career Author Is the Voice of Portland Right Now

Big Big Wednesday Is “A Beautiful Object”

The Local Literary Journal Looks to the Future

Wordstock’s Challenge: Too Many Readers

2,500 People Were Expected at Last Year’s Festival. 8,500 Showed Up. Here’s How the Organizers Plan to Meet the Demand This Time Around.

Your Guide to the Symphonic Season

There’s a Lot More Than Pokémon in the Oregon Symphony’s 2016/17 Concerts

THE CREATORS OF a new weekly showcase of local stand-up can say only one thing to Portland comedy fans: You’re welcome. Hosted by three comedians, You’re Welcome takes place every Wednesday at 9:30 pm at Mississippi Pizza.

After cycling through other possible names—like Hanson, and Dad Jokes—Caitlin Weierhauser, Matt Monroe, and Nariko Ott landed on a name with a double meaning. “It’s like, ‘Welcome to the show,’ but I read ‘You’re welcome’ very pompously in my head,” says Ott.

At a recent show, they talked about what makes You’re Welcome a valuable addition to a booming scene.

MERCURY: How did the showcase come about?

CAITLIN WEIERHAUSER: It might have been Matt’s idea.
MATT MONROE: I was running a couple monthly shows in Denver and I’d always wanted to do a weekly. I originally asked Caitlin because, in the times I had visited Portland over the last year, we seemed to hit it off really well. I thought she was so funny. It was going to be us and Zak Toscani, but Zak is, uh, dead. So.
NARIKO OTT: And that’s how I moved up the friendship rung!
MATT: No, Zak’s moving to LA at the end of the year, and Nariko was definitely our next choice.
NARIKO: They did have a lot of other recipients on that email.
CAITLIN: To be fair, Nariko was my first pick, Zak was my second, and Matt was my third.
MATT: For sure. That’s absolutely how I would rank that.

What makes this trio-of-hosts dynamic work?

MATT: Without Zak, Caitlin and I both said, Nariko! I didn’t even know if he would do it.
NARIKO: Because of the mountain of talent that I sit upon.
MATT: That, and, we all wear beanies. I didn’t want any beanie rivalries.
NARIKO: We should have called this show Two Beanies and a Denim Jacket.
CAITLIN: I wanted to call it One Haircut, Three Humans. I like working with Nariko because we match for most of the shows we do.
NARIKO: I would venture to say that we are the most coordinated show, fashionably.
CAITLIN: You mean, homogenous?
NARIKO: We are the most homogenous show in Portland, for sure. We’re all very white.

What do you each bring to this showcase? What’s your experience?

CAITLIN: I’ll just say it, I’m the alpha.
MATT: Caitlin’s the ringleader of this show, and I guess I’m the Riker to her Picard.
CAITLIN: Tonight we’re having a Lez Stand Up takeover, the group I do shows with.
NARIKO: I do a monthly called No Pun Intendo at Ground Kontrol. I was

also someone’s third choice to run that. It was originally Ron Funches’ show, and Raishawn Wickwire. Then it went to Steven Wilber. Then a bunch of people died, and then me.
CAITLIN: The success rate... for hosts of that show is like, 100 percent. Plus, Portland’s currently reigning Funniest Person, this one [indicates Nariko].
MATT: I don’t exactly take credit for that, but it DID happen after we inducted him into You’re Welcome.

What’s the advantage to doing a weekly show instead of a monthly?

MATT: Stage time.
CAITLIN: We set aside the time to write every week. We know we’re going to do a seven-minute set a piece, so we know we need to have something new worked out every week. It’s a motivational thing.
MATT: It’s very selfish. But it also benefits the scene. Any time you can have a weekly showcase that is well produced and well attended, more importantly, and well run in general, it’s good for everybody.
NARIKO: Because people have probably heard your shit, especially if they’re coming back to see a weekly show, you’ve got to have something new. Plus, at the top of the show, we get to just talk about whatever happened in a funny way. It’s a cool way to have to be funny on short notice.

How much prep work goes into each show>

MATT: Almost none.
CAITLIN: Nearly zero. No, I do a couple mics a week; that’s a lie. I do like, one. Maybe two. But each show means a couple hours of writing and prep.
MATT: For me, it varies. I only do one or two a week too—it’s bad.
CAITLIN: [to Nariko] How many do you do?
NARIKO: I do five to 10 a week.
MATT: That’s why he’s Portland’s Funniest Person. He’s not funnier than everyone, he just works harder.
NARIKO: Then you win Portland’s Funniest Person and people watch you eat shit a lot and you feel bad about it.

Why this venue?

MATT: I think I walked into almost every building with a stage in it over the course of two months, leading up to this place.
CAITLIN: I graciously let him do that. I mean, I gave him a list and sent him to places.
MATT: I was worried I would have to convince Mississippi Pizza to do stand-up. But it turns out Caitlin has experience running shows here.
CAITLIN: This was the original home of Lez Stand Up! Then I ran a show here for a while, where Nariko was a regular.
MATT: It’s perfect for stand-up. I’m very picky when it comes to stand-up spaces because it matters way more than people know. You need low ceilings, acoustics, closeness to the audience, lighting.

Great! Anything to add?

NARIKO: Jet fuel can’t melt steel beams. I want to see it in print.
CAITLIN: With the three of us putting a show on together, we have a unique opportunity to grab out-of-town talent and provide stage time in a cool environment for local talent. This is us participating in our community in the best way we can figure out to do it.
MATT: I agree. And you’re welcome. I still think we should have called this Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Shop, because it’s super accurate.