Happy 15th Birthday, Portland Mercury! A Note from Editor in Chief Wm. Steven Humphrey
My haphazard strategy led me to the in-progress Best of Boston showcase at the Bagdad, where it was pointed out by somebody onstage that "this isn't Boston. Who gives a fuck?" The crowd was pretty thin, but enthusiastic and receptive. "The little crowd that could," as we were dubbed. I caught complete sets of Jono Zalay, Jay Larson, Dwayne Perkins, and Shane Mauss. Of those the two I'd maybe seek out again are Larson and Perkins.
Larson was the only dude who had a noticeably Bostonian accent, and his jokes about pranking people were the funniest bits of the evening. The best was when he got a phone call from someone in New York who had the wrong number. It was a dude looking for "Brad" who was pissed off about some kind of budget that had gone from $15,000 to $10,000. Larson ran with it, making up shit as he went along, and amazingly the dude totally bought it. Days later he called back to bust him. Obviously, Larson didn't give a shit. HILAR. He's on again twice tonight (7 at Helium, 10 at the Bossanova main room) and again on Saturday (7 at the Hawthorne Theater main room).
Perkins' was the only African American of what I saw of the set, and as opposed to last year when every single comedian of color had a bit about Portland Whiteness (in fact there weren't any jokes about Portland at all, which is really unusual for this fest—maybe a memo went out, or maybe Portlandia already ruined the potential)—not that that isn't deserved—the closest he got was a pretty charming impression of white people dancing to hiphop, and how he wished he had that kind of freedom instead of being bound to constraints when he danced, such as the beat. It was pretty good update on an old saw. He's on tonight (8 pm at the Hawthorne), Saturday (7 at Hawthorne Theater Main) and Sunday (8 at the Eagles Lodge).
I really only dipped my toe in the massive schedule of performances last night (I had to go see Bear in Heaven too), but there's a whole lot of festival left. As ever, the best thing to do is spring for the pass, bring cash for beer and pizza, and just swing for the fences.