At the PSU-student-friendly bar the Jasmine Tree the other night, Saddam Hussein walked into the bar and onto the stage to do some stand-up comedy.

"Baghdad's nice this time of year; reminds me of Mexico."

Here's the thing about Saddam--or at least the guy who played him the other night: He ain't that funny. His accent's overdone, his beard's just not ragged enough, and the jokes about Uday and Qusay might have been funny last summer. Nice sneakers, though.

Saddam, obviously, didn't spend much time thinking of jokes while hanging in the "spider hole." Thing is, unlike some more sensitive comics in this town, Saddam knows his routine is going nowhere with this audience. His exit is a graceful one: "I would tell you more jokes, but apparently you're not laughing at any of them." At that, Saddam exits stage left.

That's the thing about Star Can't Dead, a popular, hit-or-miss monthly comedy night inside the Jasmine Tree's Tiki Lounge--these comics have a sense of humor. Even when it comes to themselves.

Some of the sketches cover local events with a wicked absurdity. On this night, the cast spoofs Tre Arrow, TV personality Jeff Gianola (he says he's "the star of The Hunted") and the Portland Police Bureau. It's a chaotic scene in which the young Arrow is confronted by police while the cameras roll.

In truth, it takes some patience (or maybe just another gin and tonic) to get through some of the material. But there's a real energy flowing through the event that's otherwise missing from this town's comedy circuit.