The “HA” in Hawthorne- Bridgetown Comedy 2012 – By Anne Adams

Bridgetown Comedy 2012

Portland’s biggest comedy fest is next week! Preview top acts!

Anne Adams

Can you believe Bridgetown Comedy Festival is turning five?
In some ways, it seems too soon; on the other hand, the four-day, 200-act laughathon has become so essential to springtime in Portland that the Pre-Humorous Period seems practically Jurassic. Who among us can even remember what the Hawthorne district was like before it rang with hearty guffaws?

Featured Performers

Festival co-founder Andy Wood is a recent PDX-pat now living and working in the LA comedy scene. He has a refined comedy palate that savors the absurd and the sardonic, and though he’s excited about all 200 guests, here are his can’t-miss picks.

Janeane Garofalo
“Such a comedy legend,” says Wood of the well-known actress, comedian, and liberal talk radio maven who taped her last standup special, If You Will, at Seattle’s Moore Theater. We’ve no doubt the tatted-out bespectacled feminist will find Portland similarly welcoming.

Tim Heidecker
You know The Tim & Eric Awesome Show? Well, this guy is that Tim, which makes him partially responsible for a seemingly endless barrage of blue lampoons and low-budget visual absurdity. Let’s see what he does live onstage.

Jon Glaser
You probably won’t recognize Jon Glaser from Adult Swim Network’s misanthropic and multi-layered comedy Delocated, even though he’s the star. Playing a character under witness protection, Glaser sports a black ski mask and speaks through a voice changer. He’ll appear in character for The Delocated Witness Protection Program Variety Show and join a panel discussion about his one-of-a-kind program.

Todd Barry
A well-recognized no-nonsense stand-up with tons of TV and road cred, Barry will join the Delocated events and also do a couple sets.

Brett Gelman
Described by Wood as “a comedy jack-of-all-trades, and a scene-stealer in every movie,” Gelman is a regular with Upright Citizens Brigade and Chris Elliot’s costar on Adult Swim’s slapstick action show Eagleheart.

Our Own Particularly “Portland” Picks

While Andy goes in for maximum cred and novelty, Culturephile must admit a different bias: We tend to love people who speak to us. We also favor comedians who call Portland home, and those who, despite not being from here, seem deeply committed to “keeping it weird,” particularly in a wordy, nerdy, Portland way. Hence, here are the acts that earn a flourish from PM’s highlighter.

Andy Wood
Bridgetown’s mastermind isn’t just a booker, folks; he’s also a comic who got his start in Southeast Portland, bravely bucking the mainstream back when indie rock still seemed the only coin of the realm. Though he’s too modest to make a big deal of it, without Wood there would be no Bridgetown, and probably a much smaller Portland comedy scene. So go buy this guy a drink.

Maria Bamford
“The Bammer” hates day jobs, does a pterodactyl impression, and jokes about being chronically single and in love with her pug. How is she not from Portland? Give this woman a key to the city.

Matt Braunger
Braunger won us over last October, sitting down for an interview with PM correspondent Rebecca Waits on the eve of taping his Comedy Central standup special at the Alberta Rose Theatre.

Ron Funches
Even funnier than his name makes him sound, Mr. Funches was featured in our latest March issue. “People can steal your jokes, but they can’t ‘out-you’ you,” muses the endearingly distinctive comic. 

Ian Karmel
Full disclosure: Our own bar pilot John Chandler was one of the judges last summer at the Helium Comedy contest that deemed Karmel The Funniest Person In Portland. Though that’s an ever harder title to hold, Karmel continues to prove his prominence with appearances on Portlandia and gut-bustingly good sets.

Virginia Jones
One of our Fall Arts issue featurees in 2010 and a participant in PAM’s Shine a Light event last fall, Ms. Jones was at the forefront of Portland’s comedy groundswell before migrating to the warmer climes of LA. The woman who impertinently retitled one of PAM’s priceless abstract bronze sculptures “The Scrunchie” is back to flip us even more lip.

Noteworthy Theme Shows

Think Bridgetown is all standup? Think again. Like many great fests, conventions, and consortiums, Bridgetown mixes in panel discussions and collaborations. The tent is even big enough for standup’s wacky cousin improv.

The Humor Code
Professor Peter McGraw and a panel of comedians including Pete Holmes, Myq Kaplan and more assess comedy culture clashes, from the infamous Muhammad cartoonist to Jewish jokes told in Palestine, hoping to figure out what—if anything—is universally funny.

Set List In this improv challenge, comics are given a never-before-seen “set list” of outrageous topics to perform on the spot, while the audience follows the list on the projection screen behind them. “This has been a huge hit at Edinburgh and everywhere else they’ve put it on,” says Wood.

The Super Serious Show
An LA-based showcase hits Portland with special guests, including Dave Hill and Conan writer Andres du Bouchet.

Bridgetown 2012 takes place APRIL 12-15.

Bridgetown Comedy Appeteaser!


 In its fifth year of existence and awesomeness, Bridgetown Comedy Festival is bringing back many favorites and veterans, like hilarious lefty mimic James Adomian and local boy/founder Matt Braunger, as well as AMAZING performers Maria Bamford, Tim Heidecker, and Todd Barry, but they have also gone out of their way to freshen up the offering to keep this festival exciting for everybody- over HALF the roster is new to Bridgetown, so look out for some hilarious new faces, as well as some great headliners that we just haven’t been lucky enough to host yet!

Also, please note that although the general population is 1%-2% red-headed, the Bridgetown line-up is 6% red-haired, which has got to mean something.  Tell me if you figure out what it means.

Portland favorite Doug Benson will be there, with his best friend/bodyguard/karate expert Graham Elwood!

Pete Holmes returns after setting the Bridgetown world on fire in 2011- this year, he  started the very strange and funny You Made It Weird podcast, has voiced a baby who sells stocks on the internet, and made return appearances on John Oliver’s Comedy Central stand-up show!

Former SNL writer and Onion contributor Mike Drucker will be back, he’s amazingly funny and cerebral- he has worked with Brian Posehn and Patton Oswalt, and has also hung out with my dogs!  Also, it’s his birthday today!

The incredibly talented, phenomenally awkward Jesse Case is returning to eat veggie dogs and crack jokes!

My tiny hero, Janine Brito, is returning from San Francisco, she made waves last year with her bowtie and her special jokes!  Goddamnit but she’s funny!

Even more exciting are some of the comics making their Bridgetown premiere:

Alice Wetterlund is a recent LA transplant from Noo Yawk, where she kicked all kindsa ass at the UCB and wrote with Bridgetown alum Kurt Braunholer.  She will recap the shit out of Grey’s Anatomy for you.

 Dan Mintz– he’s the voice of Tina on Bob’s Burgers, and even more than that, he’s a funny Alaskan.
Nate Bargatze–  A Tennessee native and national touring act, he’s the son of a magician, which is a common curse at his house.  He lives in New York City and wants to tell you jokes.

Sagar Bhatt-  He’s in sneaker commercials!  He was a finalist on Last Comic Standing!  He makes films!  My God, what doesn’t he do?

Lucas Dick- We’re excited for the Bridgetown premier of Andy Dick’s son, Lucas, who is very funny in his own right, but whom I hope will not try to fight me at an afterparty, or go missing for several days after the festival.

Mary Mack is an incredible and very unique performer, having appeared on Last Comic Standing and Live at Gotham.  She can play the mandolin and charm the birds out of the trees.  I like her, is what I guess I’m saying.  She’s on Marc Maron’s amazing podcast this week, so wet your beak!

Matt Ingebretson– he draws, he tweets, he stands up and tells jokes!  He’s written for Funny or Die and the Tommy Wi-Show!  Check out this amazin’ dude!

Taylor Williamson– He’s been on Last Comic Standing, Montreal Juste Pour Rire (but the English language version) MTV’s Total Request Live, and is the youngest person to do comedy on Craig Ferguson’s show.  (Low whistle)

Amanda Perrin-  A redheaded Canadian lady who’s funny- she might as well be our mascot.  She’s from Calgary and is hilarious.  Please make a point of checking her out!

Matt Fulchiron– He can be seen in his own Comedy Central Presents and has been featured on Live at Gotham, Last Comic Standing, Tosh.0, Craig Ferguson and Comics Unleashed, and is right now at SXSW, eating tacos and leering at UT students.

Guy Branum– He’s got a wikipedia page, which for me is the height of obvious awesomeness.  He’s a writer and regular panelist for Chelsea Lately, “Staff Homosexual” on Chelsea Lately and worked against type as Natalie Portman’s sassy gay friend in No Strings Attached. Guy also writes for the “Gay Voices” section of The Huffington Post, and ironically he’s not gay, just another straight actor pretending.  Just kidding, he’s as gay as the Queen’s hat.   Check his business out!  And when I say, “business”, I mean his comedy.

Katie Crown- What?  Another funny Canadian?  What are we, sponsoring green cards?  This lady has appeared on the Jon Dore show (le sigh!  So great), she’s a puppeteer and voice actor, and is in general crazy talented.

Ever Mainard– This lady kicks all kinds of ass in Chicago comedy, and is one of that city’s favorites.  She’ll improv you, and she’ll stand you up, she’ll make you laugh!

Ben Roy- He’s outta Colorado, where he ran a show with Bridgetown returning alum Adam Cayton-Holland- he’s performed at the New Faces showcase in Montreal and just about everyplace else!  His favorite Cormac McCarthy book is Suttree, which is also my favorite!  Fuck “The Road!”

Tone Bell- Won NBC’s Stand Up For Diversity contest in 2011, is a theatre major, likes cats, coffee, and making breakfast for nice girls.  He’s coming to Bridgetown out of Dallas, Texas.  If you’ve never seen a Texan before, approach with caution.

Other shows to watch out for: the amazing film FREAKDANCE will be screened!

The incredible long-form improv show, ASSSSCAT returns with another all-star cast!

Clear your calendars from April 12th to the 15th, buy tickets and find a place to sleep!  It’s comin’!  Follow @bridgetown on Twitter and like them on Facebook and do all that crap!  BECAUSE IT’S HOW TO HAVE FUN!

Updates!  Janeane Garofalo, Rory Scovel, and Jon Glaser!  And Amy Schumer!  And Mary Lynn Rajskub!  Holy Crap!

Eye In The Sky Action Review: Bridgetown 2010

The Bridgetown Comedy Festival gets better every year.  I have been honored to perform in the festival all three years of its existence. 

Sure, I have a hangover, a headcold, a bruised toe and a sprained finger, but I have my memories.

I drove Jason Nash up to his one-man show at Curious Comedy.  Later, I caught Veronica Heath’s  show, with handsome Dwight Slade, the charming Karl Hess, and the freshly baked Steve Agee.  Moving on, I got to my own Portland vs. Seattle show, hosted by my friend Dax Jordan. 

Portland comedy was supposed to be doing battle with Seattle comedy, but we all love each other too much.   I wandered into my friend Alysia Wood’s show, where I saw the wonderful Heather Thomson. James Adomian closed the show in his new “look”, with a fedora and big beaded necklace.  Time for the first afterparty.  Mostly Seattle and Portland people the first night.   The dance room, dj’ed by Barfly’s Jen Lane, rocked with hip-hop and disco until four-ish.


Woke up at the crack of noon, did my sketch comedy show from 8-9:30 and ran down to Rubber Bullets, with NYC/Seattle’s Andy Haynes, LA’s Brody Stevens, Hampton Yount, and Rory Scovel as an injured widower who loses money to Joe Frice. Wandered to the Comedy Calvacade, where Brent Weinbach’s character in a Kurta bemoaned the poverty of his childhood, growing up with only one Xbox, and an extremely persistent heckler annoyed Jason Nash, and later found Kevin Hyder’s joke notebook and was kicked out of the afterparty.  

My show was at the “technically outdoor” venue Bar of the Gods. My hilarious friends Randy Mendez and Steve Agee were on it, and I also saw Claire Titleman’s amazing self-help method.


Friday’s afterparty featured what was, for me, the highlight of the festival. Warming up, I danced with April Richardson to Pulp. Later on, more drinks led to a FULL BLOWN DANCE-OFF, featuring fake breakdancing by Timmy Williams and a great turn by Seattle’s own Solomon Georgio.  I woke up mid-Saturday, barely beating dusk.


I hit the lounge show at Hawthorne, watching Phil Schallberger have a GREAT set for a packed house. We rubbed elbows with dashing rogue Jon Dore. He’s very handsome for a comedian, very funny for a Canadian. I accidentally sat next to a hiding or hungover Matt Besser. (listening to stories later, I think he was recovering from or getting onto mushrooms.

I got to see an AMAZING improv show, featuring Janet Varney, Scott Adsit, Oscar Nunez, and Danny Pudi, who dropped a Roald Dahl reference.


David Cope!

Saturday night I hosted my own show with the very funny Paul Jay, heard a meditation on desire and birdwatching by Aaron Cayton-Holland, and closed by the antics of amazing headliner Victor Varnado, who by the way absolutely makes a dance party, if you’re having one.

Saturday’s afterparty started to get crowded, and I started running into local rockers and DJ’s who heard we had free drinks.

The Willamette Week’s Jay Horton commented, “If comedy keeps throwing parties like this, it’s gonna ruin its reputation.”  I saw Matt Walsh wandering around after splitting a pot brownie with Besser.



Sunday’s shows rocked on, with the Famous Mysterious Actor hosting Ron Funches, Ron Lynch, and Matt Braunger, who pleaded, “Please- don’t throw ham at me!” I really wanted to go to Sunday’s afterparty. I wanted to.   But my body would not be pointed across the river. Spirit willing, body weak.   

I heard every comic from LA talk about Voodoo Donuts through his beard.  Every room was the prom I wanted to go to, full of people I liked and people I wanted to know.  I wanted it to go on forever.  However, I would have died if it had gone on another day.  Thanks, Bridgetown!

In this shot, the cast and crew re-enact a scene from Predator.


Bridgetown PostMortem!

My brother and I got a cheap one-way ticket out of town, just for the rest.The Second Bridgetown Comedy Festival is over, and the only thing that happened is that hundreds of comics, fans, and locals had the BEST TIME EVER for four days.

Pictures of Portland comics, out-of-towners, famous people, and random stuff is in the Flickr Bridgetown pool here.

High points:


Brody Stevens called out a drunk “trustafarian” for peeing in the green room hallway. It was an amazing event, where ALL the comics converged on this guy and the situation. He eventually had someone go grab him from the bar next door. He was subject to questioning, audience beat down, and a good final judgment from Todd Glass.

The AMAZING Reggie Watts did shows on Friday and Saturday, and appeared on the Podcast Sounds of Young America, although seeing him in action is really a treat.

A guy yelled “Better be funny!” at Brody Stevens, and Jimmy Dore tore over and screamed “YOU’RE NOT FIT TO LICK THIS MAN’S BALLS!” or something very much to that effect.

Gabe Dinger says: David Koechner yelled at me from across the street to give me my notebooks that I left at the previous show, we met in the middle of the road and he said “How could I forget a name like Dang-gerr?” when I told him it was Dinger he said it was ok, no one gets his name right ether. Then we almost got hit by two cabs simultaneously. Lesson? Never ever under any circumstances correct David Koechner or you might die.

Veronica Heath says: Hanging out with Janeane backstage at the Hawthorne show where she educated me and we talked about botox, grapefruit juice, sweat, powells books, and the Bay Area. I’m so glad she wasn’t an asshole. Very down to earth, very nice, and much tinier in real life than I had imagined.

And everybody, local and out-of-town, has been talking non-stop about the hilarity of Dax Jordan’s Comedy Robot. I am heartbroken to have missed it. If I could only be at two places at once, you know? But I cannot.

It was awesome seeing my brother John have some great sets, and introducing him to my friends and associates. I hope one day we will do a double act that will make people very, very uncomfortable.

Many thanks to Andy Wood, Matt Braunger, the dozens of volunteers who all worked hard to keep things running on Festival Time, i.e. half-hour to one hour late, and a special thanks to LiveWire’s Courtenay Hameister, who gave us some awesome press and who took over special Twittering duties.

Bridgetown Comedy Festival!

Portland can’t wait for the first-ever Bridgetown Comedy Festival, from March 6-8! There is a HUGE roster of West Coast comedians, headlined by the star of the Oscar-winning food-cooking rat movie, PATTON OSWALT- and I believe that there’s some time in there for yours truly.

My Sets Are:
Thursday, March 6th: Mount Tabor Legacy Lounge, 8:00 PM
Friday, March 7th: Mount Tabor “Big Room”, 7:00 PM
Saturday, March 8th: Bar of the Gods, 8:00 PM.

POSTSCRIPT: It was fantastic. I got to see, meet, and point at so many funny, funny people. I was particularly knocked out by Kyle Kinane and Tig Notaro, and James Adomian, Jason Nash, and the lithe David Cope. Thanks to all who attended.

The hilarious Mr. Oswalt cuddles a puppy onstage. Don’t tell Grumpus.

James Adomian’s amazing George W. Bush was the surprise hit of the festival.

The only real record of me in the festival was a throwaway line about wrist-slitting, recorded in the Mercury blog.