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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bridgetown Comedy Fest: Crowded Houses

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Sun, Apr 15, 2012 at 3:01 PM

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Without even trying, the two comedy shows I saw last night at the Bridgetown Comedy Fest proved to be very popular, beginning with the "As Seen on TV" set at Helium headlined by Maria Bamford, who kind of ruled it with her aging crazy-lady routine (her scarily applied, too-dark rouge really helped set the scene). But first, I caught Andy Dick's poor fucking son, Lucas Dick, who seemed really sweet; one of the first things out of his mouth was, "Yeah, my dad's a dick." Next up was Lance Weiss, whose set contained lots of dark references to suicide and depression. Oh, and hey, he kicked off the cavalcade of Portland jokes that was to run throughout the rest of the evening. Er, actually I don't think he was even joking when he called Portland "the whitest fucking town" he'd ever seen. Eh? Also: He asked if anyone in the audience was or had been in the military... nope. But some of us had ridden the Gravitron! Then in came Kirk Zipfel with a hilarious (because it's true!) bit about women's moisturizing products becoming more precious and expensive the closer you get to their eyes, and Matt Champagne's recreation of an overheard-on-the-street phone call between a pimp and his ho ("You don't wash your ass!"). Bamford ruled the roost, though, with her odd duck perspective on her mother's concern about both her lack of religion and marriage prospects, especially now that she's on the wrong side of 40. Oh, also her neighbors' concerns that she is "mentoring the kids in the area without telling anyone about it" in a creepy zombie voice.

When it was over I headed up the street to the Hawthorne Theater Main (there's been some debate on how walkable Helium is from the rest of the Barmuda Triangle, but when 238-RIDE quoted me a 26-minute wait time, I started marching, and got there in less time than that, FWIW). Hawthorne Late Night was in mid-swing, with notable performers like Hari Kondabolu taking the stage in front of a standing-room-only room. Nearly everyone had a Portland joke. Mike Burns declared his affection for the place by contrasting it with the fact that he had gotten "stabbed by cholos" back home in LA; Guy Branum admonished us for all dressing like lesbians ("you live in a city: buy some heels"—clearly he hadn't clocked my walking shoes) and said somewhat accurately that "Portland is like San Francisco if it quit its job to concentrate on music"; and it wasn't exactly a joke, but Dan Boulger name-dropped the pop-a-shots at Spirit of 77, which is just endearing. Other highlights were a couple of political points, like Branum's that the US has at least three major Holocaust museums rather than slavery museums, and Boulger's imagining of us explaining the Great Repression to our kids: "Oh, it was awful. Nobody had any money... but we all bought iPhones anyway."

After fulfilling Helium's two-drink minimum with a coupla chardonnays, I drank naught but water, yet somehow I am wiped. But I'm going to persevere and head out tonight. I'm especially hoping to catch Jesse Case at 10 back at the Hawthorne. I saw him perform to a nearly empty room early on Day One of last year's fest, and his was one of my favorite sets of the entire weekend. I wanna see how he's seasoned over the past year.

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