Edit: I have mothballed this page, since I have moved out of Portland- please see the amazing PDX comedy blog for more updated information!
I have had some questions lately about where people can see free and enjoyable local comedy, or where they should go to perform some, and although I try hard not to have anything useful on this page, I am too lazy to write things down for people and would like to have something on the internet.
Boiler Room with Kevin Michael-Moore, 503-227-5441. NW 3rd and Davis.
This is the longest-running open mic in Portland. It is celebrating its ninth anniversary! It’s old enough to earn its own money! To maintain quality, the bulk of this show is now PREBOOKED, contact Kevin by phone or on Facebook – but you can also show up at 8:30 and try to get on one of the limited available slots! Kevin Michael-Moore is an amazing emcee. Kevin doesn’t take any shit, and keeps the chitchat to a minimum.
Suki’s, at SW 4th and Carruthers. 9:30-forever. Host Jimmy Newstetter!
This is a fun room in the dive bar in the basement of Travelodge. The comics believe that sitting in the small cul-de-sac room is the same thing as being in a soundproof box. Dax is skilled and funny, and this is the hands-DOWN best place to be ignored by your friends while they talk about who threw up in whose car, and also who has pot.
The Brody Improv downtown is hosting a regular mic on Wednesday nights! Show at 8:30! Contact Tom Johnson at TMJbrody@gmail.com before Wednesday to sign up! No cover!
Dante’s, W Burnside and 2nd. Rochelle Love is at Dante’s running a mike from 8:30 to 10 on Tuesdays! No cover!
HELIUM at SE 9th and Hawthorne has a free open mic- sign-up is between 6 and 7, line-up posted at 7:30, show starts at 8! Work out your chops at a pro venue!
There’s a late-night open mike at Tonic after Whitney Streed’s 8pm showcase! Come on out and sign on up!
Curious Comedy is adding a second open mike on first and third Thursdays, with hosts Jen Allen and Mandie Allietta! It starts at 9:30 and is free, signup is on email in advance, so find those gals on Facebook!
The Bulldog Tavern on West Burnside runs an open mike whenever the 8 o’clock showcase is over, show up and ask for Brady!
The Brody Theatre has added a second free open mike after their 8:30 Fly Ass Jokes showcase- contact Tom Johnson before 3PM Friday to reserve a slot- TMJbrody@gmail.com! No cover, starts around 10:00!
The Hungry Tiger, Too has a new comedy open mike on Saturday nights! Sign-up is at 9:30, the show’s at 10. Rotating Hosts. Go and look to see who looks annoyed, and attempt to sign up with them!
HARVEY’S Comedy Club is re-introducing their open mike on Sundays on the MAINSTAGE at 9:00! Signup starts at the side bar at 8- Come show them what you’ve got!
A biweekly Sunday night mic at 9PM at the beautiful Curious Comedy Theatre on MLK, hosted by myself! 5225 NE MLK! This mike just turned two, and the next one is Sunday, November 13th! Free For All, Fun For Most!
The Grand Cafe is starting a late Sunday mike at 10! Go look for the red-headed kid, Jacob Christopher! He’ll sign you up, and there might be karaoke after your set!
When I got to the Boiler Room for five minutes of open mike time, I sat down at a table with two other gentlemen. One of them was kind of familiar. I assumed it was someone I had seen do stand-up. He was drinking a three-olive Martini, which I thought was a little Pearl District for Old Town. I was sitting with Oscar winner Gus Van Sant, his suitcases, and his PA. He was talking moviemaking with his compatriot.
I was excited that the man behind a Drugstore Cowboy might see my five minutes of stand-up. Maybe he’d be impressed by a joke I was telling in German. Maybe he’d write a fantasy biography of my life, casting Nick Cave as my husband, and change my life forever.
When our long-suffering emcee Kevin Michael-Moore launched into a version of The Girl From Ipanema where said girl is legally blind, my new famous friend found his legs and left, his companion carrying his bags.
It was clear after his departure that every other comic had also noticed who it was, and had prepared a joke for him. Instead, we just told them to each other, like usual.
One of my favorite people, Eddie Izzard, says that in order to get good at stand-up, you just have to do it a thousand times. I finally put my mike where my mouth was last night at the Boiler Room.
When I walked in, I assumed that roughly every third person was there to do a five minute set. It was clear by midnight that every single person in attendance wanted mike time. Straw fedoras and “wacky” t-shirts abounded. The night was a sausage party. As new meat, I went after 21 other comics times and went on at a quarter of midnight.
I was pleased that everything got some kind of laugh, and was winding up for my finish when a cute but very inebriated metrosexual (it turned out to be Bobby Hacker) got up and started taking his clothes off, which was okay, but then he started taking my clothes off and putting a flashlight down my shirt. So I took off abruptly, in the midst of another comic yelling “You’re gonna get kicked out again, Bobby!” All in all, I am fairly happy with how it went – I got a good reception from the few remaining patrons and comedians. A coked out guy in a suit yelled approving things. I maybe learned something.