Oh, Portland. After a decade, you’re finally starting to grow on me. Your rivers, your bridges, your crazy cyclists. The food and drink selection, however, is certainly one of your shiny bits.
Between Ian Karmel and Ron Funches appearing on WTF with Marc Maron’s podcast, and Shane Torres’ Farewell Show before he heads off to NY…
If the name of a comic’s album gives us any insight into what to expect in his comedy, then Myq Kaplan’s albums titles are supremely helpful. There’s his most recent album – “Small, Dork, and Handsome” – along with “Meat Robot,” and “Vegan Mind Meld”, to name a few.
I’ll admit when Ian Karmel announced he was leaving Portland, a part of me panicked. It’s not that Portland doesn’t have other great comics – we certainly do (Sean Jordan, Curtis Cook, Jen Tam, Barbra Holm, to name a few) – but Ian was my surefire indication that a show would be funny. If he was on the bill, it was almost definite that other awesome funny people would be in the line-up, too. What would I do without that reassurance?
The fact that we even have Bridgetown Comedy Festival today can be owed to comedian Matt Braunger (and co-founder, Andy Wood). Braunger, who was born and raised in northeast Portland, describes himself as “…a lightning-rod of awkwardness…” in one of his specials. His humor is grab-a-beer-with-a-friend relatable, and he bursts with energy on stage.
I arrived in this weird Pacific Northwest city back in the early 2000s, settling into a house in Portland’s then-undesirable Northeast neighborhood. I remember being pretty dismayed with the food options in the area, venturing out one night, determined to find a great restaurant nearby. Thankfully, I stumbled upon a dimly lit corner spot on Fremont Avenue, where the menu at Acadia pulled me in, full of seafood and Cajun spices, and I stayed for both dinner and dessert.