Kickstand Comedy announced the first show in its new brick and mortar space today, in an email that also hoped to raise funds for "more staff, and a new broom and mop," among other asks. "The paint is drying and the walls are up—so we're celebrating" the release read.
Though the new venue's soft open approaches on the horizon, Kickstand’s artistic director Dylan Reiff told the Mercury today that an actual open is still a few weeks away, saying: "This is a little preview... we'll still be renovating for bit longer."
The first show in the new digs is October 21, and showcases Los Angeles comedy troupe Holy Shit Improv, who will mix it up with some as-yet-unnamed Portland improvisers.
In our Fall Arts Preview, the Mercury wrote about Kickstand's enduring quest for a theater of its own. The pandemic nipped the nonprofit's plans to renovate the old Brody Theater downtown, but the organization's pivot to producing Comedy in the Park shows proved wildly successful, drawing audiences 4,700-strong according to counts by its project partners Portland Parks and Recreation.
In an interview for that piece, Reiff told the Mercury he was hopeful that the park audiences would follow them indoors, though the Friday sunset shows programmed primarily stand-up comedians, and Kickstand's true passion remains improv. He also talked about a forthcoming partnership with Holy Shit, dreamed up as series of recurring monthly visits with rotating LA comedians coming up to interact with our city's talent.
"The point of Holy Shit's shows are: Oh look, who's on stage!" Reiff said. "It's always a different group of improvisers, pulled from writers' rooms, podcasts—they're really well known performers." Reiff provided a little backstory for the group, explaining they formed during the pandemic's great theater shut down. Holy Shit still streams their shows on the comedy collective's Twitch channel, and is bringing their production team to stream the Portland shows too.
Holy Shit is slated for two shows on the space's preview night, and the LA improvisors have a lot of cred to interest audiences. Casey Feigh is an actor and comedian appearing on shows like What We Do in the Shadows. Same goes for Suzi Barrett, who you may remember from the Drunk History episode about a law that led to the Americans with Disabilities Act—it was funny. The strongest audience pull comes from Carl Tart, who plays Sherm on the NBC sitcom Grand Crew and was the voice actor behind Lieutenant Kayshon on Star Trek: Lower Decks.
Holy Shit Improv performs at Kickstand Comedy Space, 1006 SE Hawthorne, Sat Oct 21 8:30 pm & 10 pm, $20-50, tickets here, all ages