Shannon Kidd

It should come as little surprise that I frequent gatherings inundated with my fellow social misfits (i.e., comedians). What should come as a surprise is when I attend parties thrown and attended by comedians that are stocked with actual food. Generally speaking, when I enter a colleague’s kitchen, I expect incongruent condiments and more mixers for hard liquor than hard liquor. Not today, however.

Today, my colleague’s housewarming is sponsored by her mother—a clearly affluent and equally eccentric ball of supportive energy.

“Am I magic?” I ask myself, as she looks in my eyes with a mixture of affection, excitement, and wonder rarely seen on adult faces.

“Definitely. I am definitely magic,” I conclude.

As this is a dinner party in the Pacific Northwest, gluten-free vegan tapas are front and center. Also, I’ve lived in Portland long enough for my phone to auto-complete the phrase “gluten-free vegan tapas,” though it still struggles to recognize words like “you” and “steak.”

The party’s gluten-free veganism is offset by every varietal of cheese with which God has blessed our mortal realm, including the oft-underappreciated blue strains. It’s odd that moldy milk with additional bacterial growth is most popular among those most able to afford fresh milk—but at the same time, milk is gross. There, I said it, and we all know it’s true. The only reason anyone drinks milk is to allergy-shame the lactose intolerant. Cheese, on the other hand, is delicious and unites us all by way of flatulence. Shrimp, bacon-wrapped dates (AKA dietary orgasms), dolmades, chicken and rice, and multiple salads complete the spread.

I’m mildly concerned by how excited I am about salad. Like, “OH FUCK! Is that lettuce?!” I’m no longer a medical professional, but I’m still pretty sure following the word “lettuce” with an interrobang (originally multiple interrobangs) is a sure sign of malnutrition. Perhaps a diet of fast food and whatever’s left on an audience member’s plate isn’t healthy.

The evening’s liquor includes multiple red and white wines, a small selection of beer, and a three-foot-tall bottle of Costco vodka, which for your information is some of the highest quality vodka I’ve ever blacked out on. Jokes about entertainers’ drinking habits aside, Costco vodka is legitimately palatable, and comparable to the finest top-shelf brands. I guess tonight’s moral is to drink smarter, not harder (to afford).

The apartment it- self is lovely and surprisingly tasteful. It’s clear upon entry that every inch has been arranged with affection and care. At the same time, I also know that it’s decorated as a more expensive and spacious reboot of the broken-down bus my colleague has called home for the last two years. If I’m being entirely honest, the bus felt cozier and more inviting, by the simple virtue of being a bus which is, at its heart, one long room. When you live in a bus, inviting someone onboard is an invitation for them to stroll through your entire life and belongings.

So much food, comfort, and refinery—and her mother wasn’t even done yet. The final touch? Live music.

There’s an old saying that goes something like, “Beware of aging white men with acoustic guitars.” Maybe that’s not really an old saying, but it definitely should be. Only in this case, the aging white man in question is quite talented—both at the performing of music and the reading of a room. After opening with “Pumped Up Kicks,” that most danceable of school shooting anthems, he realizes he’s surrounded by not only fellow entertainers, but entertainers whose lives revolve around finding humor where no humor is to be found, resulting in a 90-minute set of reworked ballads and sing-alongs that leave us all in tears of joy and appreciation.

Needless to say, my contribution to this party is a big ol’ 10 points out of 10.