Portland has produced some great names in comedy both current and up-and-coming. Matt Braunger, founder of Bridgetown Comedy Festival is a Portland native. Sean Jordan, regular guest on Doug Loves Movies also has deep roots here in Rip City. Many more can be named, however the one and only Amy Miller will be taping her first comedy album here in Portland on July 7th!
Amy, originally from Oakland, discovered her knack for stand-up in the bay area. She relocated to Portland to become a local phenom, hosting Midnight Ma$$ as well as Stand Up For Yourself. She’s made multiple appearances on Doug Loves Movies, won Portland’s Funniest Person contest in 2015 and was a semi-finalist on Last Comic Standing. She has since had a brief stint in New York City but is now a proud member of the Los Angeles comedy scene! Amy will be recording her album on July 7th at the Alberta Street Pub at 7:00pm and 9:30pm. Check out my interview with Amy!
Q: Can you tell me a bit about how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking going into your first album recording?
A: I’m excited! And a little freaked out. It’s a scary and weird thing to have a particular live show captured forever. But there’s also something really magical about it. Like hey remember that night at Alberta St? Yeah, here’s a piece of vinyl you can use to re-live it.
A: Kill Rock Stars wanted a place that was sort of intimate, and that doesn’t have a bar in the same room as the recording which is tricky in most smaller venues. Plus it has an ongoing comedy show now and has become a known space for the Portland comedy community so I think it’s fitting.
Q: Where are you drawing your inspiration for this album?
A: In some ways I think it’s signaling the next phase of my career. I just left a full-time job to pursue comedy and it’s cool to have my first album punctuate this time, while getting many of the jokes I’ve written over the past 6 years down on a recording. It feels like a congratulations for not quitting comedy trophy. Like I defeated the real Bowser and can move on to the harder castle and win the game. Also, I will need something to sell now. So that’s a nice perk.
Q: How do you think your move to New York has affected your career in comedy?
A: I am moving to LA! I went out to New York for about 6 weeks to do a bunch of sets and get my ass kicked a little bit after leaving the warm supportive embrace of Portland. Going to New York is always good practice in getting out short, punchy jokes, and also remembering nobody gives a fuck about your feelings. But I just signed a lease in LA. Everybody come to my swimming pool!!!!
Q: You took down Portland’s Funniest Person contest last year and are doing a great job hosting this year. How has that victory made a difference in your career?
A: Thank you! I think it’s been a good credit to have, though there’s a geographical limit to it. Like when people introduce me in New York as Portland’s Funniest Person, I can feel the crowd going to sleep. On the West Coast it’s been great and ultimately I hope got me more work at Helium which is a great club that’s given me so many opportunities.
A: I learned that when a bunch of powerful badass funny women run a TV show it can be a wonderful experience. I think I also learned to trust my instincts and remember that under any circumstances, even with TV lights, and a studio audience and three judges watching, and a million edits being done to my material, ultimately it’s my job to make the people in the room laugh and that’s where I get the most satisfaction. I will take that same lesson into the room when I record the album. I can’t be up there thinking, this is being recorded forever. I just need to make the people in the room laugh. The rest will happen if I can do that.
Q: What kind of challenges have you faced coming up with the material for the album?
A: Well that material has been coming since I started. I don’t know this from personal experience but I imagine the FIRST album might be the easiest because you’ve had all your initial years to come up with and practice jokes. The challenge is in figuring out the order that’s best-suited to a good arc for the whole show. Luckily I’ve had a lot of time to run long sets recently so I think it’s close!