The late Richard Bain at the Tonic Lounge, circa 2011.
The late Richard Bain at the Tonic Lounge, circa 2011. YouTube Screenshot

Former Portland stand-up and one of the most beloved comedians on the LA scene, Richard Bain, has died at the age of 37, according to the Comedy Bureau.

Bain reportedly died on Memorial Day—the cause of death has yet to be released. A native of North Carolina, Bain moved to Portland and sharpened his craft in our then burgeoning stand-up scene during the early 2000s—particularly at Suki's open mic which was the early comedy home to such locals-made-good as Ian Karmel, Ron Funches, and Christian Ricketts. Right before Bains moved from Portland to LA in 2011, the Mercury's Andrew Tonry described him this way:

Richard Bain has been hoofing around Portland's previously nascent stand-up scene for years. In that time, few have matched his hilarious reliability. Bain is one of the rare comics who can make people laugh without telling an actual joke. As they say, comedy isn't about saying funny stuff—it's about saying stuff funny.

Bain's got punchlines too, of course. And wicked stoner rants on laziness, self-loathing, and Jimi Hendrix getting kicked out of high school for having sex in the halls. Bain does everything from surprise aggression to commenting on his own set, to surreal stream of consciousness. Above all, the rolly, bushy-haired Bain exudes a magnetic charisma onstage.

Bain was an inspiration to many local comics including Nariko Ott (Portland's Funniest Person 2016, Mercury Geniuses of Comedy) who told the Mercury in 2017:

“It’s a very important lesson to learn how much you suck,” Ott says. “After I got here, I started doing stand-up and thought I knew was doing, but then I saw Richard Bain and was, like, ‘Ohhh... the ladder is so much taller than I thought it was.’”

And in our 2010 best of the year roundup, we gave Bain the following "award":

Local Comic Who Needs to Get off His Grandma's Couch in Vancouver and Move to LA and Become Famous Already: Richard Bain. Dude, you are so funny it's not funny. And I don't want you to go, but I want you to get the dough you deserve. Or at least not to look back and wonder.

Apparently he took our advice, because the next year he packed his bags and moved to Los Angeles where he became a much loved figure among the city's comedians, many of whom are offering sweet testimonials this morning.

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Here's a Bain performance from Portland's Boiler Room from back in 2011. He was a talented, joyous, and boisterous soul whose ability to crack us up will be missed.