David Alan Grier at the Bagdad 5/17/13

David-Alan-Grier-1You might not know this, but you love David Alan Grier. Maybe it’s his energy and material, which is sharp, spontaneous and yet is distinctly one man’s voice. It might be his work ethic you admire, which after nearly three decades is strong as ever and shows no signs of slowing. It could be for his range as a performer, seeing as how he’s won awards for his work (both comedic and dramatic) in theater, on screen and as a writer and producer. No matter why, this Friday, May 17th, is a chance for you to let that love have an outlet and see the man some call DAG perform at McMenamins’ Bagdad Theater with host Tristan Spillman.

Spillman has been hosting Bagdad’s monthly comedy night for several years now, helping to produce literally hundreds of shows. An accomplished comedian and a respected figure in Portland’s comedy scene, his material ranges from the wacky to the mundane, and is delivered with a honed precision and such earnest heart that you can’t help but follow him down any path of whimsy he may guide. Not content to just be a stand up, he also produces a zine, which features local writers and artists, with each of his shows and has appeared in a number of internet clips.

The real amazing about each of these performers is that they’re great human beings as well amazing comedians. Tristan has used his position as the host of one of the premier venues in town to give a chance for the raising stars of Portland to find a launching pad for their careers. Locals legends like Ron Funches, Ian Karmel and even current reigning Portland’s Funniest Person Champion Nathan Brannon have all found themselves on the Bagdad’s stage, performing for crowds larger than they might of found before, in part from Spillman’s efforts. Brannon, who has opened for Grier (at a previous out of state show), said of him “He’s real personable. You would think, being famous for so long, he would be tired of talking to so many people, but he was very open. A great guy.”

So clear up your Friday, and catch a show I promise you’ll love. The doors open at 8, the show starts at 9 and tickets are only $25. As it’s a McMenamins location, there is food and drinks available for purchase, but it is a 21 and over event. For more information, and to purchase tickets, please visit the Bagdad’s site at http://www.mcmenamins.com/events/111943-David-Alan-Grier?mobok=y.

Your Alternative to Bridgetown Comedy Guide

So every year, for the last half a decade or so, every comic in the metro area, from the open mic level (our initiation rite) up to the world renowned veterans (seriously we have these here), get a little tingle in their spines as The Bridgetown Comedy Festival comes to Portland. Established comedians from across the country, nay the world, gather in our little city for a weekend of humor, mirth and calculated debauchery, that of course starts on a Thursday. It is a ton of fun and I highly recommend you go, if you can.
Sadly not all of us have the eighty bucks for a weekend pass just laying around, or the sitter can only come on Sunday, or the idea of seeing all those crowds is just too much. It’s fine, I understand and I’ve got you covered. Here are a few cheaper, one night, none festival showcases you might wanna give some attention to this week if you can.

• On Wednesday (which is sorta today) the lovely Belinda Carroll hosts her wonderful comedy showcase at the Crush Bar (1412 SE Morrison St), with this edition starring Alex Falcone, Mark Colletta, D’Emmanuel, Lauryn Pithie-Petrie, Jonas Barnes and all headlined by Todd Armstrong. As if that wasn’t enough, there is truth to the rumor that many comedians who are performing at Bridgetown this year are also gonna be swinging by to try some material out as well. They seat at 8, the show starts at 9, so it’s neither too early, nor too late an affair. Combine all that comfy seating, yummy food and good drinks and it’s a steal at just $5.

• The talented Scoot Herring host his appropriately named Fawesome: A Comedy Show this Thursday in the Hawthorne Hideaway (2221 Se Hawthorne Blvd). The doors open at 9, the show starts at 9:30 and not only are there drink specials but they keep the kitchen open all night long. It’s a donation based show, so you can pay what you want, but the performers (Nick Walker, Seth Milstein, Cody McCullar, and headliner Steven Wilbur) are all some of the hardest working comics you’ll ever meet with a wide variety of styles and would be well worth your time.

• For some weird reason April 20th has a bunch of shows in places that require you have some sort of membership or card to get into. One example of that is something called Doc’s 420 Hot Mess Thing, located at Doc’s (4229 SE 82nd Ave Ste B) where you will need to prove you’re at least 21 because at 9pm that night several comedians will be performing in a strip club. Hosted by Jamie Stewart it will feature performances by Josh Lay, Patrick Perkins*, Hilary Adams, Boomer, Rico Starr and be headlined by Big Jim Willig (of the Big & Loud Podcast). There is a $3 suggested donation but I don’t think anyone will complain if you want to put dollar bills on the stage for the performers too. There’s also going to be live music and I think at some point the strippers will end up back on stage.

• Lastly, chronologically, is Down & Dirty: A Dark Comedy Showcase on Sunday at 9 for only $5 in the Ash Street Saloon (225 SW Ash St). This monthly showcase, hosted by the feckless Patrick Perkins* with performances by Shades Mathison, Alex Rios, Michal Boxan, Jared Richard, Annie Box, Boomer, Bryce Jones and the ever busy Todd Armstrong, promises to be everything the name implies and more. Which is great, even if you’re into that kinda thing and even better if you are. This showcase isn’t for the easily offended but they’re welcomed too.

No matter if it’s a big festival show stuffed with established comedians, a smaller venue with local artist or even one of the major comedy clubs, this promises to be a great weekend for stand up comedy. I humbly, and completely biasedly, suggest you take the time to get out there and see a show this weekend. Because I’d hate to see you miss it.

*Full Disclosure; that is me.

Bridgetown is One Month Away! Get Your Tickets or Sign Up to Volunteer Now!

bridgetownPeople! Can you believe it? The Bridgetown Comedy Festival is only one month away! It is well worth your time and resources to spend the week enjoying the awesomest comedy event in Portland that happens all year.

Bridgetown has grown bigger and more packed with talent with each passing year. In this, its sixth year, the line-up is spectacular, with big names like Dana Gould, Reggie Watts, and Peter Serafinowicz and Robert Popper. Beloved former Portland comedians like Dax Jordan, Richard Bain, and Virginia Jones will also be there, plus a host of startlingly talented folks from all over the country (I’m talking Todd Glass and Kurt Braunholer and Moshe Kasher, people. I’m talking Jake Weisman and Guy Braunum and Brandie Posey and Emily Heller. I’m talking KATE BERLANT here, people.  I could go on but I won’t. It’s going to be fantastic.)

The festival is  April 18 – 21 and will primarily be held on Hawthorne Boulevard. Weekend passes, priced at $79, are on sale now at http://www.bridgetowncomedy.com, with an additional $10 pre-sale discount available through March 27th.

Also! There is still time to volunteer! Bridgetown couldn’t happen without the amazing people who contribute their time and energy. Whether you want to sit at a table selling tickets or shirts, drive things and people around, or just lift heavy boxes for a while, the festival would love your help. You can volunteer a little or a lot, and your reward is free admission for a night or the whole weekend. Sign up now at http://submissions.bridgetowncomedy.com/apply-to-volunteer and you will hear back within a couple weeks about what your role will be. Comedy all the time, people! All! The! Time!