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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Re: This Morning's Think Out Loud

Posted by Alison Hallett on Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 10:54 AM

Ohh man. If I could write this blog post entirely in emoticons, I would.

This morning, Think Out Loud hosted three local comedians who will be performing at this weekend's Bridgetown Comedy Festival. The ostensible premise of the show was, rather horribly, whether Oregon makes good comedy fodder (Socks and Birkenstocks LOL!!!! ...No, really, that happened). Fortunately for host Emily Harris, the three comedians on the show—Virginia Jones, Auggie Smith, and Ron Funches—were frank and funny, with lots to say about working as a comedian, and the particular challenges of the medium. At its best, the show was a great advertisement for the festival, and for supporting local comedians in general: When smart, articulate artists talk about their work in an interesting way, it tends to get people curious. At worst, this show was a different kind of funny—I'm not exactly sure why the decision was made to interview the organizer of the Manzanita "Laugh-In," where people gather for four minutes a week to laugh at nothing, unless it was a higher-concept bit than I'm giving Think Out Loud credit for. "We don't need comedians to laugh," the organizer proclaimed, which seemed kind of shitty given the nature of the program (it did prompt Auggie Smith to call him a jerk, which was fair).

A couple of the questions from callers, too, were hilariously awful—in the same way that author Q&As at book readings often turn into an opportunity for questioners to showoff how smart they are, a few of the callers this morning took stabs at comedy, and failed so spectacularly that it really reinforced the difficulty of what these comedians do. (Carrie Brownstein called up too, to talk about ThunderAnt. I have nothing snide to say about Carrie Brownstein. My 14-year-old self would kill me.)

Listen to it here; it's worth it for both the intentional and unintentional hilarity.

Bridgetown tickets here; and don't forget to read our article about the festival and Andy Wood's efforts to raise the profile of comedy in Portland.

(Confidential to Emily: Thanks for saying "Hey, the Mercury isn't here to defend themselves" when Virginia accused us of only covering comedians who wear leather pants, following a rather terrifying rant by Auggie Smith about how local media doesn't support comedy [confidential to Auggie: Send press releases here; we do our best to list them all. Please don't yell at me anymore]. Also, I gotta give Virginia Jones long-overdue credit for her joke about how when spring hits Portland, finally you "don't have to open your wrists to see color," which I quoted last year but did not attribute.)

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