Last Friday, a monthlong funnyman search ended with an hour's worth of comedy at Barracuda, Old Town's largest, most cavernous club. Five comics, out of a group of 20 men and women, vied for the title of funniest man in Portland. After a month of waging comic battles, these contestants had armed themselves with the freshest material, ranting out the most provocative humor ever...or so you would have hoped.
Turns out those sights were set too high, as it all started to sound the same: There were stoner jokes, masturbation jokes (one man spent far too long on an ode to the tube sock), military jokes, wife jokes and kid jokes. Montana and the Dakotas didn't fare very well, and swear words appeared in heavy rotation, though the eventual winner seemed to use the fewest.
The mood at Barracuda was focused and the crowd large. Comedy crowds outside of Harvey's? Amazing. The team of judges, positioned at one of the two dozen tables set up on the dance floor, conspired with whispers, worksheets and cocktails.
There was lots of laughing and cheering, but a sorry lack of heckling, except during comic Don Frost's monologue (what did Frost expect? He started with a rant about the size of his breasts). It's not that the men weren't funny. But predictability may very well be the comic's worst enemy. The crowd, while attentive, was complacent.
This was comedy for the Sitcom Generation, a world in which laugh tracks are mandatory and the regurgitation of stereotypes gets the biggest chuckles.
The winner, self-described "fat and furry" guy Eric Severson, wasn't the angry comic (that was the sock mucker) or the jilted one (the one with the manly casabas). No, Severson talked about sex after nine years of marriage, taking car trips with his dad and the secret meaning of green-colored candies.
What does it take to be the funniest man in Portland? All it takes, it seems, is to be the most normal.
at the clubs this week: PORTLAND GOES INTERNATIONAL!thursday
Slabtown goes south of the border for one night only.
Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th Ave., 223-0099. 8 pm. 21+.
bikes, beer and bingo
Liberty Hall, 311 N Ivy St., 287-1098. 7 pm. , $1 bingo cards. All ages.
And you thought that old reggae/hip-hop club the Red Sea was dead. Wrong. It's back--and on Friday nights DJs Uni-T, Rising Sun and others kick off the weekend with a par-tay.
Red Sea, 318 SW 3rd Ave., 241-5450. 9 pm. $5, ladies before 11 pm. 21+.
Like a flea market for lovers, this bazaar should cater to all the boys and girls who like to give homemade presents but don't know how to make them.
Nocturnal, 1800 E Burnside St., 239-5900. Noon. All ages.
pacific northwest pro-wrestling
If WWE's Raw appearance at the Rose Garden tomorrow night is a little intimidating, check out this NW version at the Milwaukie Elks Lodge.
Milwaukie Elks Lodge, 13121 SE McLoughlin Blvd., 320-5377. 6 pm. $7-$10. All ages.
johnny connolly and friends
Irish squeezebox troubadour Connolly returns to the Moon after a lengthy holiday in the mother country.
Moon and Sixpence, 2014 NE 42nd Ave., 288-7802. 9 pm. 21+.
XV movie night
Tonight's film theme: steamy sex. It's Gina Gershon vs. Kim Basinger in Bound and 9 1/2 Weeks, respectively.
XV, 15 SW 2nd Ave.,
790-9090. 9 pm. 21+.