Man, it’s a hot one. Like seven inches from the midday sun. Hopefully tomorrow will be less intense on our weather bones, but I think you should still plan to be inside—in the air conditioning, where it’s safe—watching Phil Schallberger’s live taping of his awesome comedy show Live in Theory at Curious Comedy.
I got a chance to see Schallberger's Live in Theory recently, and it left me light-headed from laughing and happy to see Schallberger finally on stage with crew that perfectly match his unique style—because they are all performed by Schallberger himself.
In Portland’s comedy scene, Shallberger is something of a known wildcard. You know he’s going to do something unexpected and, when he does, you know it’s going to be funny as hell. Schallberger never really fits with a typical stand-up line-up, never seems satisfied with a joke that follows a logical course of thought, and frequently leaves audiences in stitches with looks of amazed confusion like what the heck was that?
Schallberger's audiovisual work is the most identifiable thing about his style, but his characters are what everything is actually built around. For Live in Theory, Schallberger's taken four of his caricature personas and created a full length show, which he's been taping at comedy clubs. Live in Theory collects the characters of Hobo Tom, Herr Dr. Philip Schallberger, Dymitry Simkovf, and Byaernxch Canerbye into a 75-minute show of rants, games, and a truly intense commercial for Conover's Handy Honey-Baked Buns.
Shallberger is something of a known wildcard. You know he’s going to do something unexpected and, when he does, you know it’s going to be funny as hell.
Some will remember conspiracy-theorist/duck-obsessive Hobo Tom from the Portland Mercury's 2017 Geniuses of Comedy show, where he lead the audience through an increasingly raucous follow-the-bouncing-ball sing-a-long about ducks, winter, and his wife never coming back. Humor needs to be careful with it's treatment of characters that are inspired by homeless people, but Hobo Tom's rants are so clever that it's doesn't feel like punching down. It feels like punching sideways, into an LSD trip.
Some fellow comedy fans have expressed their dedication to "just see everything Schallberger does." And I'm also largely of that mind. But Live in Theory is especially worth your time. It's great to see Schallberger stepping into the bright light on his own, absurd army of personas at his side.
(Thurs June 13, 8 pm, Curious Comedy, 5225 NE MLK, $10)