Queer comedy showcase Lez Stand Up has existed in one form or another since 2012, when founder Kirsten "Koop" Kuppenbender says it first popped up at Gay Pizza: a queer night held in a North Portland pizza parlor.
While no one can claim that the age of sheltered straight guy humor has passed from mainstream might, Lez Stand Up was certainly something audiences clung to, in those days. Not only were the shows well curated with whip smart comedians, but there was an unspoken promise that one could enjoy an evening of comedy from people who were definitely not just finding out about vulvas for the first time.
Now the hesitant return of Lez Stand Up asks: Is there still demand for a dedicated queer comedy evening under such a proud banner?
'"This is a sort of toe-dip," Kuppenbender said of the event. "I’m taking the show back to its original form: smaller casts, sketch comedy, and now recorded interviews!"
The tentative return comes two and a half years after the last Lez Stand Up show. It took a hiatus from regular shows in August of 2018, far before the pandemic steamrolled Portland's comedy scene—the timing related to Kuppenbender's onboarding of parenthood and collective member Arlo Weishauser moving to LA. But we still saw the familiar, funny Kuppenbender and co. at festivals or one-off performances.
Whether parenthood made Kuppenbender more funny or absence just makes the heart grow fonder—those sets always hit hard and hilarious. Weirhauser similarly took massive career strides, appearing in the 2020 Disney film Timmy Failure: Mistake Were Made. So it's very exciting to see the title of Lez Stand Up one again grace a Portland stage. The return bill is impressive, as we would expect: Weierhauser headlines the evening, supported by Mx. Dahlia Belle, Calaix Alexander, Alayna Becker. Kuppenbender will host.
Kuppenbender is one of the city's most endearing hosts, so it's great to see her resuming those duties. She says that the short interview portion of the show will play on her forthcoming live comedy and conversation podcast, Genius Level. We're excited to see Calaix Alexander appear for even a short set; she does terrific work with Ben Harkins on Dark Web Tonight, but we're always hungry for her unique standalone humor. We should also note that Mx. Dahlia Belle is a prolific and hilarious contributor to the Mercury.