Comedy moves quickly, but these latest bits will get you on all the cool shows and festivals, because everyone’s doin’ em!
Extremely Detailed Solipsism Pretending To Be Mad About Small Things ShockJock (90’s Nostalgia) Fat Guys, Shirts Off If I Yell It, It’s A Punchline I Pooped In Public, A Closer White People Interpreting Rap Lyrics Homeless People Are Weird That Time I Ate Too Much Pot Hillbilly Philosopher (Nihilism in a Trucker Cap)
When you submit your comedy album to Pandora, like I did with my comedy album, Gothic American, they sort your tracks into little pre-written buckets for their algorithm- and the description of the tracks from my album, Gothic American, make a nice little poem about my comedy:
(This is not an edict. This is a list of ideas that are up for consideration.)
Easy: Don’t judge friends and peers for their clothing, appearance, weight, or age. Don’t think they don’t deserve relationships, opportunities, or success because of how they look. If you hear other people criticizing your women friends for their appearance, defend them.
Harder: Don’t judge women you DISLIKE for their clothing, appearance, weight, or age. Don’t do it to strangers. Don’t do it to celebrities. If you hear other people criticizing women for their appearance, remind them that this is a tool of the patriarchy. Remember that the joke behind calling someone a Cougar or a MILF is the sheer absurdity that anyone over thirty could be sexually attractive to anyone when they’re all worn out and shit, and by extension that our looks are what we are worth.
Hardest: Don’t judge yourself for your appearance, weight, or age. Don’t think that you don’t deserve anything because of how you look. Don’t allow yourself to be treated badly. When you truly reach this level, you’ll see how we’ve all been getting less than we deserve.
Vote for Women
Easy: When you’re out at comedy shows, write down the names of women you find funny. Tell them that they are. Tell other people.
Harder: Book those women on your shows. (Still pretty easy!)
Hardest: Support shows with women, queer, trans, or other minority comics on the bill. Let the bookers know you appreciate the way they book their shows. If diverse shows put butts in seats, they will continue.
If woman-headlined shows put butts in seats, they will continue.
You don’t even need whole people at the show. Just butts.
Talk About Booking Women
Easy: When you’re booked on a comedy show and you see that you’re the only woman booked, ask the booker why. Offer to share with them your list of amazing women you’ve started writing down the names of from the last tip.
Harder: When you’re on a comedy festival with fewer than 20% women, ask why? Do they need your help promoting to women to submit next year?
Hardest: When you get booked on a TV show, and you’re on set and you see less than 20% women on the crew or staff, ask why? When you’re hired to write on a TV show and you notice you’re the only woman writer, ask why?
Don’t let men talk shit on other women. Especially if you’re new, you’ll hear men talk about women fucking their way onto shows, fucking their way into festivals. Reject this. Don’t let men tell you how other women are crazy. Don’t let them tell you that you’re the only chill one. They’re trying to pit us against each other so we continue to be divided and weak. Thanks doods!
So you can see that feminism is more than just really, really liking Beyoncé, but it’s not impossible. We can all represent for each other every day. And also Beyoncé.
After the madness of Halloween is over, I will be heading to Seattle for my first real public shot at humiliation in the form of the 31st Seattle Comedy Competition.
I’ll be competing with friends, peers, rockstars, heroes, a pretty Canadian, and, in a greater way, against myself. If I find myself with any amazing wisdom gleaned from the ego beatings, I will post it here. Remember, it’s an honor just to be nominated!
Fall Arts Preview By Anne Adams, John Chandler, and Randy Gragg Photo: Michael Schmitt
“You know what really gets my goat?” asks Virginia Jones. “Wolves.”
Pause … hope … laughter.
In the suspenseful lifestyle of casting one-liners for yuks (and bucks), Jones is one of a growing cabal of local weekend warriors tackling stand-up comedy—and, sometimes, slowly, starting to shape their work schedules around the gigs rather than vice versa.
“The great thing about stand-up,” she asserts, “is that you can work and hone until you get it just right … It’s completely unlike brain surgery.” Pause … hope …
On September 4, Jones will perform in the Grand Dames of Comedy showcase at Hawthorne Theatre and host two open-mic nights for Curious Comedy Theater, Portland’s first and only nonprofit comedy group.
“There’s a lot of new energy,” Jones says, noting the three-year-old Bridgetown Comedy Festival’s importing of such nationally acclaimed acts as Patton Oswalt and Janeane Garofalo and the opening of city’s first comedy chain franchise, Helium, which lifted off this summer.
Why the sudden P-town laugh riot? Is it our coping mechanism for rising unemployment? Indie-rock fatigue? Jones calls it a perfect storm of rising national interest (e.g., the reality show Last Comic Standing), plus the growing chops of locals like Shane Torres, Christian Ricketts, and Marcia Belsky.
“There’s all this hungry talent,” she says. “They book anywhere they can—old-man bars, Thai restaurants—just to some get mic time.”
“When I started doing showcases, going to comedy was only slightly less hip than going to a funeral,” Jones adds, without pause but with plenty of hope. “I think now it’s starting to explode.” —AA
SHOWS TO KNOW
CURIOUS COMEDY THEATER’S COMEDY ROULETTE Oct 8-23, Nov 6-20 A small cast of improvisational cutups including Stacey Hallal, Bob Ladewig, Virginia Jones, and Josh Fisher will redirect their comedy sketches and prepared material based on whatever the audience wants to see. Can we handle that much responsibility? Curious Comedy Theater, 5225 NE MLK Jr. Blvd. 503-477-9477. curiouscomedy.org
GREAT DAMES OF COMEDY Sept 4 at 8 A slew of she-larious locals storm the stage in (presumably) diamonds, feathers, and big hats for a little X-chromosome humor. Picture the rowdy gals and quiet introverts from your high school all grown up and cracking wise. Belinda Carroll hosts.
Many thanks to the all-powerful and benevolent Anne Adams for including me.