PORTLAND, OR – The first night of Portland’s 4th annual Bridgetown Comedy Festival began last night and the skies of Oregon shined down. Literally. Like, it was over 50 degrees, you guys. There was sunshine. Every hipster in attendance was excited, but they would never tell you that.
With 19 shows at eight venues along the popular Hawthorne Boulevard – there was a lot of laughter to be had. Though sober, I was drunk on giggles, and stumbled up and down the street following the smell of PBR.
My first stop was the 8pm show at the Bagdad Theater. Though I was prepared (and excited) to see Pete Holmes and Nikki Glaser, who are two of my favorites, I was really excited to see the other comics on the ticket. Adam Cayton-Holland (Comedy Death-Ray) and his stories of drunken uncledom instantly made him an instant crowd favorite. Portland darling Virginia Jones (2010 Seattle International Comedy Festival) also impressed with her unique brand of self-deprecation and goth sexuality. I found a new favorite in LA comic Eric Andre (Lopez Tonight, Live at Gotham), and I may or may not have stalked him all night.
Nikki Glaser (Last Comic Standing), of course, brought huge laughs with her sexual escapades … or more like, sexual blunders – but I heard someone yell “Preach, girl!” so it’s fair to say the audience was with her. Holmes (Comedy Central Presents, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon) rounded out the show, and definitely gave us all the happy ending we had been waiting for.
Next up, I stopped into the Hawthorne Theater for a few minutes of “Snob Theater” and had time to see Ron Funches (Stand Up for Diversity, Portlandia), who has made the Portland circuit his bitch. His stories of as a pot-smoking Dad to an eight-year-old with autism had everyone in his corner … feeling guilty for laughing. Moshe Kasher also came with his fast-paced slightly offensive set, upsetting the woman sitting behind me – so I suppose he did his job. I also caught Brent Weinbach (Comedy Central) in a new light: as a singer.
Seriously. Weinbach came to Snob Theater as a musical act and a lot of the audience came expecting to see his unique brand of comedy, but instead heard his original songs about love and loss. Though interesting (and not too shabby), I think most of the audience was bummed – I’m looking forward to seeing his stand-up set later in the weekend.
Finally, we ended up at the Tanker bar, which is the best place to go at the end of a night at Bridgetown. Headlining and local comics alike show up for short sets at “Continuous Comedy Cavalcade”, where there is much beer drinking, and mingling with fans and peers. PBR is one of the festival sponsors, so it was flowing from the draft all night. It was a Thursday night in a state with a more than 10% unemployment rate – so there were decent crowds at every venue – but tonight should bring bigger crowds and some really exciting talent.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to drink Gatorade and cry into the toilet.