PORTLAND, OR — I bounced around a lot Saturday night since there was so much good shit. Also – I realized that it only takes me about two minutes of good comedy to fall completely in love with someone.
There are four to five comics who I would offer my womb to if they wanted a child right now. It’s problematic. That is not the point.
First up on day three of Bridgetown was Last Comic Standing-Room-Only at the Bagdad. Claudia Cogan won me over immediately with a strong stage presence that drew people in right away. Also – her hair is super shiny. Jesse Case was phenomenal and I couldn’t help but overhear mumbles in the crowd about his set when the crowd dispersed.
I peaced out part way through the show to see a show at the Hawthorne. I popped in just in time to see Solomon Georgio. His gentle stage demeanor forced everyone to listen close, and his natural talent and comfort on stage is obvious to any audience he’s in front of.
I bounced back to the Bagdad just in time to see Doug Benson. As can be expected in Portland, the audience went insane because they couldn’t wait to hear jokes about pot – and then try to find Benson after the show to get him high. They got what they came for – and Benson was on point as per usual.
I stayed in the Bagdad and nabbed a second row seat for Laughter Against the Machine. Focusing on political humor, LAtM had an incredible line-up of comics who blew me away one after the other.
Janine Brito was a phenomenal MC and every time I see her, the material has improved. And being a chubby lesbian, as she puts it, is a sure-fire way to have an audience fall in love with you in Portland. Hari Kondabolu is one of those comics who I said I had fallen for earlier. Other than being totally adorable, Hari’s material was smar and approachable for white hipsters, while still making the older couple next to me uncomfortable. Aparna Nancherla is, of course, adorable. I met her earlier in the weekend but had yet to actually see her set at the festival. She was fantastic and her stage presence is absolutely gripping.
Jimmy Dore came out next and that same older white couple breathed a sigh of relief at his presence. Of course, they were uncomfortable again when he started discussing Obama and health care. Everyone else was totally on board. His set reminded me of an Uncle talking to you in the living room during a family birthday party – approachable and sincere. Without anything creepy.
Nato Green was next and though a more aggressive white gentleman, the audience was on his side thanks to the topic of protesting and, again, Obama. Everyone in Portland loves to protest.
W. Kamau Bell came out next and his in-your-face material was a great jolt to wake up the comfortable audience. He was provocative, angry, hilarious and he pushed the audience in a glorious way. He’s definitely made it to my list of favorite comics after this weekend.
Of course, next was Margaret Cho. There’s literally nothing I could say about her that hasn’t been said but this woman is a heroine of mine. Cho is one of the main reasons I wanted to become a comic, and she’s still inspiring. Her material is always fresh, her style is still accessible to any audience, and god damn it, I want to make sweet love to her.
Next I jumped to the Hawthorne Lounge and caught Johnny Pemberton who was fucking fantastic – I saw him at Persona! where he killed, but his regular material was just as witty and smart.
Last night I was also able to see Kyle Kinane, who is absolutely incredible. Until last night, I hadn’t seen him live and holy shit the man is phenomenal. His strong voice carried through the room and everyone was completely engaged with him, laughing with him.
You guys, last night was tiring. Now it’s Easter, but instead of resting, I am going to go see comedy tonight. For you.