For months, I have been meaning to check out Minority Retort, Portland’s comedy showcase for people of color and other minorities. So on the last night of Bridgetown, I headed to Bossanova Ballroom to see Minority Retort for the very first time. Hosted by the show's producer Jeremy Eli, the event would also be an opportunity to see our beloved Bri Pruett, who recently relocated from Portland to Los Angeles.
Seattle's Wilfred Padua kicked off the night, and unfortunately I missed the first part of his set. But you can find his comedy on NBC's SeeSo and SiriusXM. I really liked Irene Tu, an Asian lesbian chick who talked about the fun and challenging parts of looking like a twink (turning both men and women gay, and trying to decide which bathroom to use). I always enjoy when women unabashedly talk about their periods, so I was pleased when Tu detailed a menstrual massacre. She ended on a funny bit about using nursing bras and adult diapers, not because she was nursing or elderly, but because they’re superior to regular bras and pads.
Having appeared on Conan and Comedy Central, Ahmed Bharoocha’s set was pretty polished. Being half white/Catholic, half Pakistani-Indian-Burmese-Muslim, Bharoocha discussed his stance on religion, saying that despite his doubts about God, “I don’t like the attitude that comes with being an atheist.” He also touched on having “half-white guilt,” (which I can attest is a real thing), and being surprised that none of his Facebook posts had any effect on the election. Heh.
When it was finally time for Bri Pruett to take the stage, she was met with a thunderous applause, and a few “booos” when she mentioned her recent move to LA. As always, I loved Bri’s focus on feeling good in your own skin. “No one should feel ashamed of their bodies… just the smells!” Bri said. She also went into the benefits of being half-white, half-Korean American: Being a “secret” minority allows you to laugh with your oppressor and spy on other people’s racist conversations. I also liked her idea of calling young girls “sir” sometimes, you know, to empower them.
There was also an interesting set from Arish Singh, which included some ventriloquism with a neo-Nazi puppet. Dulcé Sloan was great, once again. She’s got one of the best stage exits ever: quietly strapping on her purse, casually grabbing her drink, just saying “Bye,” and slowly sauntering offstage.
Next up was Nico Santos, a gay Filipino who’s a star on NBC’s Superstore. Coincidentally, I happened to catch an episode of the show on Hulu earlier in the day, not knowing he was on the lineup for last night’s show. I really related to Santos’ depiction of emotional eating, which for him happened with chocolate cake in bed, self-loathing, and shame. (For me it took the form of furiously eating half a bag of Juanita’s Chilipeño Chips and salsa in bed later that night.) He also talked about the one drawback to flying on Virgin America: Their black light can make for an embarrassing situation, and an opportunity for a semen-on-the-face joke: “I didn’t realize I looked like a CSI crime scene until I stepped on the plane.” Also, fun fact: Santos is from Gresham!
The final comic of the evening was Marcella Arguello, who’s a fan favorite on Comedy Central’s @midnight. At 6-feet 2-inches, Arguello wants us to know that the tops of our refrigerators are fucking disgusting. I was kind of shook by how good her full-bodied Michael Jackson impression was, and she also did a decent Beyoncé speaking voice. One thing I really liked was when she talked being mistaken for both half Black and trans (she’s really part Latina), and when she said “If we are going to split up bathrooms it should be between people who clean up after themselves and those who don’t.” Amen to that!