True fact: Portland needs some good laughs right now. That’s why the Mercury is so hot-to-trot on our annual comedy show, the Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy! Here’s how it works: We scour the city for the funniest, most gut-busting hilarious stand-up comedians and up-and-comers, and then stick ’em all on one stage for the finest night of comedy Portland has to offer. It’s all going down on September 8 at 8 pm at Revolution Hall—so get your tickets quick because it will sell out!
Need more convincing? Then let’s meet the comedians of the Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy 2018!
Alex was picked as Portland’s Funniest Person in this year’s annual contest at Helium Comedy Club, which should be reason enough to race around the block to see him perform. AND YET? He was also a runner up in 2017’s Seattle International Comedy Competition, named one of Willamette Week’s Funniest Five, hosts one of Portland’s best comedy shows (Earthquake Hurricane), and was a previous Mercury Genius of Comedy. He also says very funny things about sex, marriage, and the futility of life in a mesmerizing, mathematical fashion. You’re gonna want to watch him work.
You may have seen this whip-smart Libyan native in the 2016 Geniuses of Comedy show, as a runner-up in Portland’s Funniest Person competition, on the Lovett or Leave It podcast, and you will see him in the very near future on a stand-up TV special for Epix. But every time Mohanad takes the stage, he dazzles with his self-effacing, wry observations about being a North African in Portland.* Keep your eye on this very talented comedian—he’ll be breaking big before we know it.
Corina is a bright, shiny, new-ish star on the Portland comedy scene whose butt, in her own words, is described as “breathtaking.” Hailing from Northern California and spending way too much time in Catholic school has provided her with an adorably raunchy style that netted Cori an impressive third-place finish at this year’s Funniest Person contest. Comedy scenesters know her from appearances at the Portland Queer Comedy Festival and as a co-host of the longest running comedy show in the city, Flyass Jokes. Catch one set, and there’s a good chance Corina will be one of your new favorites!
Originally from San Antonio, Texas, the wonderfully wry Carter Anderson delivers a very particular twist with his stand-up. During the Portland’s Funniest Person finals he had the audience in stitches as he reminisced about his youth as a Black person with a white person’s voice. This up-and-comer is already making a name for himself in the comedy community, and hosts the weekly “Let’s Get Awkward” open mic, as well as the new trivia night, “Are You Smarter Than an Idiot?” (He definitely is. And funnier, too!)
If you like introspective, navel-gazing comedy, then you will definitely NOT enjoy Riley McCarthy who explodes onto the stage like an atom bomb of funny. Another relative newcomer to Portland, Riley hails from the desert wastelands of south central Wisconsin, and has loads of knee-slapping anecdotes about growing up queer in the Midwest, as well as incisive, razor-sharp political insights. Trust me, you’re going to fall in love with Riley, instantly follow him on all social media, and probably adopt him, if he’ll have you.
Another Portland’s Funniest Person finalist, Kate Murphy is part of the feminist comedy collective Cramps, and her recent appearance as a panelist for the Mercury’s I, Anonymous Show slayed in all manner of ways. She’s also been featured in the Hell Yes Fest, the NW Women’s Comedy Festival, and has lots of pointed, hilarious things to say about Portland foibles including electric unicycles, passive-aggressive parents, and the joys of watching someone pick pubes off their tongue. In short, she... is... FUNNY.
As one of the co-hosts of the monthly comedy extravaganza Minority Retort, Neeraj Srinivasan can speak with some authority on race, being a first generation Indian American who grew up in Boise, Idaho. To say his childhood was “unconventional” is a bit of an understatement, which means Neeraj will take you on a wild rollercoaster ride down memory lane as well as his hilarious, awkward journey into “petty adulthood.” He’s a highly regarded regular in Portland’s comedy scene, and has performed at the Out of Bounds fest, Treefort, and the Undertow Comedy Festival—oh, and his tweets are absolute comic gems. Follow him online and in real life!
Amanda is one of those no-holds-barred comics who come on stage ready to WORK. For reasons that will become obvious after seeing her perform, she was chosen as one of 2016’s “Top Five Funniest” by Willamette Week, is a two-time winner of the PDX Dirty Dozen Roast Battle, and has appeared alongside such comedy greats as Jeff Ross, Dave Attell, Nikki Glaser, and Jay Pharoah, just to name a few! Plus she produces one of the Northwest’s best new comedy festivals, the Undertow Comedy Fest in Lincoln City. On stage, she’s an absolute, take-no-prisoners delight, dishing out loads of common sense and laughs.
Born in Chicago in 1956, Debbie survived ailments including polio and spina bifida, which would put most people down and out—but not her, because she only grew stronger and funnier. She represents the classic school of comedy, providing lots of home-run one-liners that are a welcome relief from much of the deprecating, emo-laden comedy of today. Expect lots of humor based on real-life experience including marriage, the vagaries of aging (and hip replacement), and the finer points of kicking your grown kids out of the house.
Another Genius of Comedy alumni (circa 2016), Katie’s particular brand of comedy is lovably odd, dry, and packed with lots of brow-furrowing glares. Raised in the world of improv and sketch comedy, Katie is what’s known as a “comedian’s comedian” in Portland circles, and can leave audiences in stitches with one caustic glance. She’s also a co-host of the wildly popular Earthquake Hurricane show, and has performed in festivals across the nation, including the much-missed Bridgetown Comedy Fest. If you like “comedy of the smart, and wonderfully weird,” Katie’s your gal.
Shelley McLendon featuring sketch comedy group Sedan
Shelley’s a bit of a comedy legend here in Portland, making her name with the late, great improv group the Liberators, brilliant sketch comedy group the Aces, as well as being the brainiac behind such crowd-pleasing live action movie parodies as Road House: The Play, The Lost Boys Live, and Poltergeist Live. Plus, she’s the boss lady for one of the top comedy spots in town, the Siren Theater. For the Geniuses of Comedy show, Shelley will strut her hilarious stuff with her newest sketch comedy group Sedan (featuring Paul Glazier, Chad Parsons, and [blush! Me!] the Mercury’s Wm. Steven Humphrey). Get ready for a gut-busting blowout of laughs!
Hosted by the consistently hilarious Nariko Ott!
A former 2016 Mercury Genius of Comedy, Portland’s Funniest Person 2016, and Splitsider magazine’s pick for “Top Up and Coming Comedians,” Nariko brought the house down last year as host, so we’re bringing him back to provide even more fun! Do not be a fool and miss this show!
You can bet your butt that a night with this many laughs will sell out quick—so don’t mess around! It’ll be undisputably hilarious!
The Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy 2018!
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 8 PM
Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark
$17 advance, 21+
* In an earlier version of this article, Mohanad Elshieky was incorrectly identified as being from the Middle East, when in fact he is from North Africa. I am an idiot, and I sincerely regret the error.—Wm. Steven Humphrey