COMEDY – The State of the Art by Randall Lawrence


When one thinks of comedy, there are a few icons, movies, cities and clubs that come to mind. Comedy can invoke thoughts of Louie C.K. or George Carlin. It can invoke thoughts of Los Angeles and New York, of Dumb and Dumber or The Big Lebowski, of The Comedy Store or The Comedy Cellar. These cities and countless other clubs, comedians and movies all come rushing forth when you start to think of what comedy really means to you. That goes for everyone, even the comedians of Portland.

Comedy-The-State-Of-The-Art-03I recently started asking myself why Portland wasn’t a main hub of comedy like Los Angeles or New York because it’s clear, if you look in the right spot, that the talent is right under our noses on the stage of Al’s Den, tucked into the Velo Cult Bike Shop or sometimes presenting itself in plain view at Helium Comedy Portland. The reason Portland can never be that hub is because we aren’t the entertainment capital of the world like Los Angeles. We can’t hold 8.5 million people like New York. Portland does have something that those other cities don’t – Portlandians.

Comedy-The-State-Of-The-Art-02This is a city of art, of music, of life. This city is jam-packed with things to do every single day that is both affordable and entertaining. Whether it be a small production of The Three Amigos live, a show at the Liquor Store or a photographic display of the history of Portland at the city archives, this city and all of the people in it are constantly striving to promote art and artistic ability. The only problem is that throughout all the promotions we have, all the print we’re given, comedy is not given it’s fair shake.

Comedy-The-State-Of-The-Art-01When it comes to comedy, whether it be the Hecklevision at the Hollywood Theatre or a standup showcase, nothing more than mere sentences or short paragraphs are published to give our talented comedians their proper coverage. I’d like nothing more than to change that. I would love to show this city that comedy is a wonderful thing that deserves more than just a sentence or two. I would love to show this city that there are people you may see walking the streets every day or attending charity events, selling you legal pot and buying cigarettes at your Plaid Pantry that moonlight as incredible, sometimes life-changing stand-up comics and improv performers.

The Portland comedy scene as of right now is a sleeping giant and I believe that it’s time to poke that giant a few times so it can roar. It’s time that we get to know our comics the way that we get to know our politicians (minus all the scandals and misinformation). It’s time we know what is happening in this city that can make us laugh and brighten our days. Let’s all get into it and support a scene that can only grow but needs the help of the amazing citizens of this city to do so!

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