The Last Day of Bridgetown

Despite it’s sound, the title of this article has nothing to do with a coffee shop singer/songwriter struggling to make his way in Portland.  It has more to do with the last day of the fantastic Bridgetown Comedy Festival, closing out one of the best comedy experiences in my life/our run here at the Comedy Bureau.

Probably having seen more shows in their entirety than anybody at the festival (I averaged about 4 a day), I was content to stay the entire night for all the shows at the biggest venue of the festival, the Bagdad Theatre.  Despite having dozens of shows over the past three days, Portland still came out in droves to the Bagdad catching the three great shows closing out Bridgetown.

Before any of that, I sat in the far reaches of the balcony and had a pleasant word with the many voices/characters of Tony Sam and his efforts behind major Bridgetown sponsor (transcript to be posted soon).  With plenty of buzz coming about from his all-character showcase, Persona!, he wishes he could be up in Portland a whole lot more despite having to work nearly the entire festival.

First off on the Bagdad stage, Eric Martin’s NPR parody podcast This American Wife along with incredibly talented comedian and Bridgetown vet Paul Jay and Jen Goldberg took the stage with a mix of hilarious embarrassing sex stories from Pete Holmes, Moshe Kasher, NYC’s Claudia Cogan, and SF’s Chris Garcia, and great sketches/interviews with Ron Babcock and Nikki Glaser.  This particular show was a great sampling of the new format in which comedy is being consumed and how it’s grown.  Basically, people paid to be part of a live audience of something that they could have downloaded later for a fraction of the price.  People, at least in Portland, apparently, love believe in comedy that much.

Next, Nato Green and Moshe Kasher’s Iron Comic, a multiple topic comedy competition show filled the Bagdad past capacity.  Head to head to head and so forth, Kyle Kinane, Hannibal Buress, Emily Heller, Baron Vaughn, and Doug Benson took on each other writing material in 10 min. or less in multiple rounds.  Riffing off of lunch, the Importance of Grammar, and NASA, everyone put forth strong efforts.  On the topic of lunch, Hannibal opened with “I am not familiar with the concept of lunch.  I feel like I am at a disadvantage,” to huge laughter and applause.  Still, defending Iron Comic champ Kyle Kinane ended up facing Doug Benson in the final round and “schooled” him with a perfect rapid fire response to topics being thrown at him right on stage.

The Comedy Bureau snagged an interview with Kinane after his win (full transcript to be posted soon) and found that he probably isn’t going to Disneyland.

The final show at the Bagdad Theatre was a straight stand up showcase with some of Bridgetown’s best.  There was absolutely no low points at this show, despite this not being some of last night of a festival gala.  Strong performances from top to the bottom of the bill came from LA’s own Dave Ross, Brent Weinbach, Ryan Stout, and Jimmy Dore.  The aforementioned Claudia Cogan and Chris Garcia, along with Mike Drucker, Billy Wayne Davis, and Portland’s own Auggie Smith put forth quite the show with their top notch stand up wrangled in by host Nick Rutherford and his Portland thrift store purchases, which kept in line with the Portland maxim: Keep Portland Weird. (there are pictures of this that will come later, we promise).

Though there was a cliché moment of sadness as some of the Bagdad Theatre employees took the letters down for Bridgetown off the marquee with a little light rain to punctuate the emotions of the comics, organizers, and audiences, the last day of Bridgetown felt victorious in a way.  Perhaps most of America is unaware of it, but at least Portland was just exposed to the forefront of comedy and our “little thing that we have going” back here in LA.  

This sentiment was emphasized at the last after party at Paddy’s when Auggie Smith channeled Braveheart, shut up the whole bar, and gave a rousing, yet still funny, dedication to festival curator Andy Wood.  Wood was left, as everyone who was a part of the Bridgetown was, speechless in awe at how amazing the last four days, sleepless as they may be, were.  

From LA to Portland, the Comedy Bureau, sincerely “tips its hat” (it’s an LA thing), nicely done.  2012 can’t possibly the end of the world as long as the Bridgetown Comedy Festival is around.