Portland comedy has expanded at an exponential rate in the past few years. This year, in particular, brought dozens of new comedy showcases. It's a lot to wade through, but it also means that you can see great comedy for very little money. To help you navigate the ever-expanding scene, we've again compiled a list of the five best new showcases.
Mississippi Pizza Pub, 3552 N Mississippi Ave., facebook.com/ywcomedyshow. 9:30 pm Wednesdays. Free.
You're Welcome is one of the most raucous weekly comedy nights in town, hosted by some of the most talented comedians. Adam Pasi is a previous Funniest Five winner, Marcus Coleman is on this year's list , and Shain Brenden will almost certainly be on a future one—a recent Brenden routine included a hilarious slam poem about life inside a McDonald's drive-thru. And because there's trivia beforehand at Mississippi Pizza, you're almost guaranteed to get a few tipsy hecklers.
Lez Stand Up
Siren Theater, 315 NW Davis St., sirentheater.com. See website for upcoming shows. $10.
Lez Stand Up isn't exactly new, but for its first years of existence,
the lesbian- and queer-inclusive showcase appeared only at random intervals at different venues across the city. This year, Lez Stand Up finally found a home at the Siren Theater. It's still doesn't have a regular schedule, but now that it has a regular venue, you can usually count on seeing it a couple times a
month. Lez Stand Up shows are about as feel-good as comedy gets, thanks to the bubbly energy of host Kirsten Kuppenbender and the cathartically aggro stage presence of Caitlin Weierhauser.
Sincerity Is Gross
The Slide Inn, 2348 SE Ankeny St., facebook.com/sincerityisgross. 7:30 pm Sundays. Free.
If half the battle of creating a good showcase is making your audience comfortable, then host James Barela does his job before his shows even start. In its first year of existence, Barela's showcase has booked lineup after lineup of the city's most dependably funny, craft-oriented comedians. One recent show was dominated by casually flawless sets from newcomers Corina Lucas and Jake Silberman. It's not a showcase where comedians usually experiment with wacky new material, but that's part of why it's so reliably funny—it's back-to-back sets of comedians performing their best material.
The Ape Theater, 126 NE Alberta St., facebook.com/standinguprightattheape. 7:30 pm Wednesdays. $5.
Dylan Jenkins, who placed in last year's poll, teams with Neeraj Srinivasan for a showcase at the brand-new, comedian-run Ape Theater. The Ape is in the basement of the Alberta Rose Theatre, and feels like a secret clubhouse, complete with colorful string lights and paper cups for the keg of Lompoc in the lobby fridge. Both hosts have a footing in the local scene (Srinivasan is the newly appointed co-host of the long-running Minority Retort), which means a good local lineup.
By the Collective, 205 SW Pine St. 8 pm Saturdays, restarting in 2018.
One of two great showcases co-hosted by Marcus Coleman, the atmosphere of this show with Brandon Lyons is as carefully curated as the lineup. Held in the downtown boutique By the Collective, it's set amid potted ferns, racks of clothing, and a mini-fridge stocked with Capri Sun. Coleman and Lyons expertly riff off each other and test out new material. More than any other showcase, it feels like a watering hole for Portland comedy—the most recent show included sets from Bri Pruett and Curtis Cook and some of the funniest people in the city just hanging out in the audience. The showcase is taking a break, but look for dates in 2018.
GO: WW's Funniest Five showcase, hosted by Adam Pasi, is at the Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St. 7 pm Tuesday, Nov. 28. $10.