Thinking about seeing a comedy show brings two thoughts to my head: laughter and a 2 drink minimum. If you’re like me, you’d much prefer the former to the latter. I can say with confidence that such an ideal no-drink minimum show does indeed exist. It may, in fact, be the most “Portland” way imaginable to experience a stand-up show. The show is not presented in the standard comedy club or basement bar, but instead takes over a completely unassuming bike shop. Every Wednesday night at 9pm, Alex Falcone, Anthony Lopez, Bri Pruett and Curtis Cook gather to put on a show that has brought some of the best laughs I’ve experienced at a stand-up show. It’s called Earthquake Hurricane, and it’s a wild, ever-evolving breath of fresh air!
The show itself takes place on the stage right in the middle of the Velo Cult Bike Shop off of NE 42nd Ave, within walking distance of the historic Hollywood Theater. Audience members sit in the middle of the shop at tables artistically showcasing bike parts, while they sip on craft beer served by the shop’s bartenders. They take note of the many bikes hanging off the walls, from the ceiling and on wooden displays flanking the stage. You may even see one of the bartenders fixing one of the many bikes brought in by a Portland patron earlier that day.. Dueling bike repairmen and comedians makes for a completely authentic “Portland” experience that you cannot find anywhere else.
Every week, the show’s hosts take to the stage to discuss weekly events, news and their own lives as an introduction, before bringing on the showcase of comedy for the week. Performers from all over the West Coast flock to Earthquake Hurricane to perform for the delightful crowds that attend. Along with up-and-coming local talent, I have seen incredible performers who are known to regularly sell out large comedy clubs such as Improv, Helium, and The Comedy Store. Some examples of these gems are Sean Jordan, Geoff Tate, Barry Crimmins, Matt Braunger and James Adomian. Between comics, the local hosts take the stage to deliver their own 5 minutes of comedy, always bringing the evening’s themes together with clever wit and audience participation. .
Earthquake Hurricane is absolutely a show you don’t want to miss. I’ve had the pleasure of attending almost regularly for the past 6 months. The show has become part of my weekly routine, as I don’t want to miss the comedians’ reactions to the news of the week.. Watching all of our local talent come through to develop material and support one another has been an incredibly entertaining and rewarding opportunity that is just too rich to miss! Seeing Portland’s weirdness through the eyes of visiting stand-up comedians is also a humbling and very entertaining experience. We need to laugh at ourselves sometimes, right?
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.
I 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.
This 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.
When 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!