Sunday marks the end of an era.
When Amy Miller and Sean Jordan say farewell after their shared goodbye show at the Aladdin Theater, they'll close a chapter of Portland comedy.
In many ways, the two couldn't be more different. The fiery Miller moved up from her native Oakland for a job working in marketing for the company that owns the Aladdin, and produces concerts everywhere from Revolution Hall to the Oregon Zoo. Miller sounds sweet, but also delivers biting takedowns of everything including her adopted city.
Jordan, meanwhile, moved here from South Dakota, and, shortly after arriving, got crewed up with Karmel and Torres to produce Funny Over Everything, one of the city's most popular recurring comedy shows, which at its peak packed the Hollywood Theatre's main auditorium. His likable routine often juxtaposes his folksy manner with skateboarder slang.
But the two share a keen eye for opportunities and a steadfast desire to make it in comedy—something we eventually got them to concede is rather rare.
That took two hours and three drinks at two different bars. Here's their full exit interview, minus the parts that were defamatory or too insider-y for even the most eager of comedy scenesters.
Willamette Week: You guys leaving is the end of that era, huh?
Miller: No, you're just saying that because that's when you started paying attention to comedy, so you think that we're a specific class.
OK, let's get right into this!
Miller: Good, I want to do my 360 interview with you!
OK, obviously Ian Karmel has popularized that idea and said that many times. But it's not like we never covered comedy, and it's also not like it was this massive thing. Ian likes to pretend that there were all these things happening around and we just weren't noticing. It was Ian and your friends.
Jordan: He doesn't necessarily like saying that anymore, though, because now we'll talk about it a little bit and we'll bring it up… Right when I moved here, I happened to slide into that crew because there was like two open mics. I was doing standup at Sioux Fall for two years, but then I stopped because the club went out of business and then I didn't do stand up for a couple years and then I moved here so it felt like that's when I started… This dude had a contest. We did that contest and that's how I met [Anthony] Lopez and Ian and Shane and Ron. Ron didn't live here yet but that's how I met him, because he was living in Salem and we did that contest and we all started becoming good friends and everyone started doing shows and there were a lot of people. And that contest is what did it, oddly enough, and that was like five years ago.
Miller: It could have been one night at an open mic—that's just the night you remember.
Jordan: It could have, but after that everybody did start working a lot more and people started caring a lot more about stand up. There was an influx of people doing it.
To be honest, you guys are a golden generation—there are still people who are very good but there isn't another Ian Karmel out there.
Miller: Well… I'm gonna tell him how much you love him.
He's really good at telling jokes!
Miller: He is really good at telling jokes… But three years ago, there was no Curtis Cook, there was no me. We got here at exactly the same time. So there's nothing to say, as like the more the scene heats up the more people are going to move here to be their middle city. Actually, I know a couple people moving here.
But out of all the people who do stand up and get to the level that you guys have got gotten, how many of them end up getting a writing gig on late-night television? That's still like a 2% job right?
Miller: You'd be surprised. Comedy is very small. I mean of people who really hustle and are truly funny, most of them end up working. Especially right now.
Jordan: And that's what'll happen, is when we leave there won't be a void but there will be opportunities for people to get noticed more. Out of that class I'm the last one to leave, so people have just been like 'Well, Sean's still here, let's have him do this show at Mississippi.' Or the Willamette Week thing—I won that because Ian and Shane were gone, Amy had already won it so other people are going to step up and do this stuff but you probably haven't noticed yet because they're not on the forefront.
Miller: Yeah, well one thing I would say is three years ago, this place was still known as a cheap place to move and that has changed in just three years.
Jordan: It has drastically changed.
Miller: And that might make a difference in—because yeah, you might be right. Originally I was thinking, 'Yeah, there's no telling in who could move here, there's no telling what comic could show up in town!' But it's going to be fewer people than it was three years ago because it's expensive.
The funny thing about Ian on this subject is that he does not realize he was special. He wants to pretend there was a lot of other people and I think you guys have that same attitude. But you're seeing that now, like, yeah, why would you move to Portland instead of a larger market that's also maybe cheaper, like Denver?
Miller: I think we're in the same position as Ian, where you don't want to say, 'I'm the top shit coming out of this town,' because in order for you to get as many sets as you got, there may be people who aren't the most funny but who put on shows, and put you on them. And I think Ian was supportive of the scene, which we are too. Some of those people aren't funny or moving anywhere, but they work super hard and make the scene happen and there's a role for people like that.
Yeah…but when we talk about a scene, it was actually just a lot of really talented people in one place at one time.
Jordan: I honestly don't think it's changing. I think that a lot of the comics here that haven't gotten those bigger opportunities. Once they get them, they will flourish. Once they start getting regular half-hour sets, they'll figure out how to do a half hour and it will be fluid and they'll figure all these things out but it takes—when I first got here, I didn't get any coverage or anything because Ian was getting the bulk of it. I was Ian's friend, and I still kinda am too a lot of people. I wasn't any good six years ago when I moved here. I was comfortable in front of people, but the jokes were bad, the Mercury hated me for like three years for a joke that I told and I look back and I'm like yeah that was a shitty joke.
What was the joke?
Jordan: I don't want to say it… It was a body-shaming joke.
Miller: To be honest, the Mercury doesn't write about either one of us ever, basically, and we don't really know why.
Jordan: The point is like if you would've when Ian was leaving and we weren't friends and I would've just been some person, people would be saying 'There's nobody here,' and here I am, pretty good at it now.
Miller: Yeah, because it's not like music like you could be the most amazing guitar player in town because you get to practice at home or do shitty shows but until we clear up some show real estate, the comics who are here who are good aren't going to get to excellent unless they get more stage time, because it's the only way to get better.
Jordan: And it goes in a loop, like I'll get booked on most of the good shows in town almost more than I should. A couple of them I do almost every week and that's why I don't have to go to the Brody on some nights because I get to do this awesome showcase all the time because I'm really good friends with the people.
OK, let me throw this down with Amy—we're gonna get into how the sausage is made. You lobbied us so hard to not have Funniest Five exclude the people who landed at three, four and five from the next year's poll. But with our best new band, we do 10 bands every year and we never run out of bands.
Miller: It's just not the same situation.
But we're doing five. If you're right and there is so much talent that just needs an opportunity, why can we not come up with five new ones a year?
Miller: Comedy is so small though, and I was thinking long-term. It's fine if you want to do that contest for four years running but once you get into six or seven years, you're excluding Nathan Brannon, you're excluding Bri Pruett so then in two years from now if Bri still lives here, she could be leagues better than everyone else and not have any chance at being Portland's funniest comic and that doesn't make sense.
But shouldn't there be new people that are coming along that are also really funny?
Jordan: There should be, but you're asking opinions. See, my opinion is there are people who can do that and will do that. It's not a fact, they might not. So I'm hoping they will. I see the talent there and I know these people I'm thinking of, and I know they're very capable of it, but who knows? Maybe they won't and next year the funniest person in town will be Bri or Curtis.
Miller: It sucks to have this small group of people who work super hard and who are get getting progressively funnier each year and will never have the chance at having that title. It's like the Helium contest, you know? Gabe's gotten in second place, third place, every year he's almost there. A he should have a shot to be one at some point. Also it keeps you from running into that situation where people are like 'ugh it's all white people; or whatever. Well Curtis should be considered every year if he still lives here, Nathan should be considered every year if he still lives here. Nathan's the best comic in town if we're all being honest.
Jordan: I won the Willamette Week poll because it's voted by our peers and industry and people like that. I don't have a set that's cut out for a contest audience. "Hey, this guy has contest-winning jokes.' They're not—I'm real dry, I just stand there and say what I say. There's nothing special about me.
Miller: You're really selling yourself!
Jordan: I'm not trying to sell myself, I'm just saying what I'm saying is that it's good to win funniest person in your town
Miller: So what if you had won second in your town and then stayed another year and you would've been like 'Fuck this, I can't even be voted for.'
You want second place to be eligible?
Jordan: Second place should be eligible, because if you ever paid attention in No Fear, second place is, in fact, the first loser… You can't use it as a credit if you got second place in something, you can't send that to out of town media.
Miller: Well Nathan's got a family here now so he's gonna be here in five years and some total random is gonna be funniest comic in Portland and he's just gonna be like 'Fuck everybody, I'm on TV now and I still live here.'
An extended off-the-record conversation about the Funniest Five and who may win this year follows…
Amy, when that whole thing with Ian happened you reached out and got yourself a full-page interview talking about the comedy scene. You worked it. Because of your day job as a marketing director with True West you understand how the entertainment business works a lot better than the average novice comedian. Has that helped you?
Miller: With the Ian thing, I knew that I would have to work with you for as long as I'm here so that wasn't a bridge I wanted to burn. I don't think I've burned any bridges with comedy but from my day job I think I have burned some bridges—on the day job side I think I'm known as more of a bitch than in the comedy scene, so there are some people who don't want to work with me as a comedian because of their dealings with me there. When I moved here I think I was surprised by how small of a media market it was and that some Portland media outlets—not all, but some—are five to six years behind San Francisco. It was just a thing where I moved up here and I was like 'Oh, no, I'm not going to send you a fax, because it's 2013.' And people were like 'Oh, she's a real bitch.' There are certain radio stations that I work with all the time that I can't go on as a comedian because they hate me.
Miller: Every conflict in my life—I'm the Internet beef queen, according to other people—I try to turn it into an opportunity. Every one of those I use it to my advantage. Every time I go into one of those I'm going to get a set or an article or something for myself.
Why is that so many comics want to be dicks to the media? Is it punk cred or what?
Miller: I don't know. I really think it's short-sighted.
Jordan: There are times that I want to hop in and speak up on things but I look at the long-term of stuff and I don't see why I should deal with it because it doesn't work out that well. I just don't want to burn bridges. There's nothing you can't resolve if you just sit down and work it out.
Miller: Or, make it work to your advantage!
So what's your advice for other comics?
Miller: My advice is always be nice and work hard and try to have a realistic view of your abilities.
Jordan: That's an amazing way to put it—a realistic view of your abilities.
Miller: And your potential! I don't just mean that in a negative way. But what happens in a small scene is that people get really entitled really fast. I'm guilty of that, too. But people just think they deserve stuff because they're friends with everybody.
People think they deserve stuff because they're friends with everyone?
Jordan: Yes. Look, that's why I still do comedy, is because of Doug Benson. I met him in Sioux Falls and when I moved out here he put me on a bunch of shows I had no business being on. No business being on. I wasn't good—I wasn't bad, but I wasn't good. There were other people he could have put on the shows. But he put me on so many shows.
Miller: We all have a few of those people. And it can't happen if you're entitled or shitty.
Jordan: I know a lot of people who seems to get jealous when they see someone else get something nice. You shouldn't be jealous, you should be happy for them. Get used to not getting everything you want.
We discus the Mercury at length…
Miller: People want to get involved in beefs that are not theirs, which is really weird to me because I look out for myself before anyone else in the world.
Jordan: Me too. You have to long-term things regardless of how you want to handle it. The whole point of standup is to have fun, and I don't like stress and beef and all that.
Miller: I don't like it either but sometimes I can't avoid it because people get upset when I have any opinion. I'm not you—you could come out one day with a strong opinion and people would be like 'You know, I like that guy, he's right!' I'm a woman saying things—people don't like that.
Jordan: The one time that I ever said anything like that was when there was a show at this theater on Hawthorne, somewhere close-in—really, really shitty, divey. The bar doesn't matter, but this one time they had a sandwich board on there with someone's name who was headlining and I was like 'What the fuck is that about, they've been doing standup for less than a year and they're going to headline a show, knowing they're not very good but they're friends with the people who are putting on the show?' So I put this up on Facebook, just like on the Portland Comics board: 'Just because a place tells you it's OK for you to do a show doesn't mean it's OK to do a show.'
Did you take a picture of this sandwich board?
Jordan: No, but everybody knew what I was talking about. I named the names, I'm not going to name them now.
Miller: That's how you end up with a situation where one of the major papers in town thinks every local comedy show sucks!
We never thought that!
Miller: You kinda did!
Let's let Sean finish.
Jordan: So I put this up and was just like 'Don't take a show you're not ready for,' and everybody freaked out like I was being such an asshole. And I just had to say 'If we were all sitting in a room right now you would realize that this is coming from a good place.' Because I do think if someone's never been to a standup show and they end up at one that's poorly produced with not that great of comics on it—you're going to give this person 45 minutes when they probably have five minutes.
Miller: But you took those gigs when you were first starting, too, and You've told me about them.
Jordan: I did.
Miller: We don't know any better when we're starting out!
An extended off-the-record interlude follows. The conversation involves open mics, Bridgetown and covers the different paths for career advancement in comedy, including a long discussion of various comics who host weekly events in town…
Jordan: I'm very linear, like I want to do standup and I want to go on the road and I want to do stand up and whatever makes me travel and do stand up, that's what I work for… I want credits so I can go headline clubs instead of feature and getting on TV gives you those credits so people will headline you so you can draw, it all depends on how you want to go.
Miller: That's what I'm saying about the people who foster and create the scene who aren't necessarily—like if Just For Laughs comes to you and you work at Helium and they're like who are the top five comics we should look at in your scene, you're not necessarily going to look at all the people who make the scene happen, but they're still really useful.
They're useful to you.
Miller: They're not useful to a critic unless you're reviewing the show.
Jordan: I'm not saying anywhere in here that any of them aren't capable of doing exactly what either one of us are doing.
They're just taking a different path?
Jordan: They're just taking a different road. I would never say that they don't work as hard.
Miller: I'm not as nice as he is…. It's very comfortable to have your niche. If you don't want to leave Portland and you want to just be able to perform every week and write and whatever, it's kind of a choice to not work as hard sometimes. Or they just don't want what we're looking for or they're scared of what we're looking for. Like, it's comfortable and safe to have a successful show that you produce… I don't know if every comic we know that we think are funny that have run great shows have any interest in being on television or just producing great comedy in a town, you know?
Miller: It's like a music show promoter—every promoter you know is a guy who used to have a band and like it failed, you know, like that's my boss—and then they start creating the shows and it's a similar outlet but with a different end.
A second extended off-the-record interlude follows. This one pertains to an ex-Portland comic who was publicly accused of sexual assault, and who has since left the city.
How did Bill Cosby get away with it for so long? You guys explain as his peers, his colleagues. What is it about comedy that allows a predator to get away with it?
Jordan: First of all, that happens in every scene. I feel like we're singling out comedy like it happens more. It doesn't. It happens way too much everywhere
Miller: It happens a lot in music.
Jordan: It happens everywhere
Miller: It happens in tech. I've straddled all those world for many years—straddled is the wrong word.
Jordan: There's a small industry in stand up right now that is also very very popular right now so people focus on it a lot so I think it's been brought to a forefront quite a bit more but it happens.
Miller: But I think there's a certain psychology to comedy that helps it thrive a little bit more. I mean, it is another profession where there aren't that many women and I think female comics are expected, if they're going to get ahead, to be a little less feminist than we want to be, a little less outspoken than we want to be because you kind of have to be one of the dudes and so if you are sexually assaulted and you're at the beginning of your career, it's hard to be like 'Well am I going to blow the whistle on this whole thing.' A lot of people aren't going to believe me, because that's always what happens. I mean he was in a position where he basically had no power, it's not like he was a super funny guy on the scene that people were like I just don't believe it, people were like yeah, I can see it… There are Plenty of comics who are super funny and successful that get away with being sort of casual date rapists that never get called out except among female comics. We all warn each other and we know about it.
Apparently, Louis CK right? There are even allegations that the top guy in comedy now?
Miller: Yeah, there's been allegations about him, TJ Miller, all kinds of people and…
An extended discussion of Deadpool follows, in which it is revealed that the interviewer knows nothing about Deadpool…
Miller: Comedians, it's just a weird cesspool of people who thrive on approval from everyone else and that is not the best situation for preventing sexual assault, you know.
An extended discussion of the burgers and decor at the Aladdin and various McMenamins properties follows…
Jordan: I like a thicker fry, I don't like a shoestring fry.
You like a jojo.
Jordan: I don't know what that is, but maybe.
You've lived in Portland for how long and you don't know what a jojo is?
Miller: It's just like a big steak fry.
Jordan: Do you know what a chislic is, you've heard of chislic?
I don't think I have.
An extended discussion of chislic and Los Angeles food carts follows. Somehow, this thread ends up circling back at the paths forward for comedians.
Miller: There's a lifestyle to it. It's impossible for any hobbyist to get ahead, which it's not like music—you can't be like 'I'm in a Dad rock band let me play at this Irish pub once a month' because if you're a hobbyist, people smell it on you and then anytime we're asked 'Who should the industry look at? Who are the best people in your town?' There are people who I won't name who you think are really great, but they don't have the long-term in mind, so you don't recommend them and it becomes this cycle where they're like, 'Why don't I get booked, why don't I get recommended for stuff?' Well, because you don't show up. When people are like 'I just do it because it's kind of fun,' it's, like, 'Noted, I'll never book you again' because there are people who are like 'this is all that I want and all I'm good at, please book me.'
But how many of those people are left in Portland, right now, if you had to guess?
Miller: There are probably five… It's between five and 10. It's not many.
Jordan: If you were to ask people, if you were to sit every comedian down and ask them, 'what are you going to do with your life,' they'd say I want to be a comedian, but—
How many of them mean it?
Jordan: Right, like five or 10. I mean it's easy to say, it's like I said I was going to be a professional skateboarder when I was 18, and I meant it if you asked me, but I didn't because I didn't pursue it. I didn't do shit. I just stayed in South Dakota. Whatever, I know it's a childish analogy to put on this thing but it is like that, like you have to, because standup, to tell your family that you're going to be a comedian, is a really harsh fucking gun to put in your mouth.
Miller: And you have to be aware of how possible it is and how small it is. Like, it's ridiculous that we have friends who do it full time. It's ridiculous that Shane is going to be on Conan O'Brien. Like that doesn't many any logical sense, but it's all possible. And there's a flip side, I think, where there are some delusionals who are like 'I'm going to do comedy forever' and they're not. And then I think there's some people who have so much self-doubt that they're like 'I want to be one of the people who says that but I just don't know if it's going to happen for me.'
The group of people who have both the talent and the drive is very small.
Miller: In every scene though, in every single town.
Jordan: Like every single thing that is hard to do. Like if you want to be a player in the NBA. Just go to a high school and ask kids, are you going to be in the NBA? And almost all of them are going to be like 'Yep, I'm going to be in the NBA.' They're not all telling the truth. They don't all honestly think that.
Miller: But then there's a couple who will be in the NBA who don't want to say it out loud. You tell somebody you want to be a comedian and they look at you. I'll tell people that and they'll be like 'Really? That's astonishing, good for you,' and I'll be like 'Don't good for me, this is what I chose to do and what I will do.'
I'll say, though, having one great afternoon of drinking at Holman's with Shane, there was no doubt this man could be a professional comic. There's no—
Miller: Not for Shane. It's just that if you told teenage Amy like you might be a comedian and you know, this show that you watch every fucking night before you go to bed, you might be on that show. It's just crazy that it's a job and that we get to do it. And we have friends who go and perform in front of our idols and that it's so small that we are all one degree away from the greatest comics in the world. We're one degree from Louie.
Jordan: If someone came to me at work and was like 'Did you watch Conan last night, the comedian was so funny!' there's a chance that I have their phone number. That makes it very real for me. Even when I started, you start with small goals. When I started hosting, I was like 'I want to feature. I want to feature at clubs, I want to do the longer set,' and then you start doing that and you're like 'I want to travel, maybe I'll get paid to go somewhere, that seems crazy.' And then that happens and it's never as big of a deal
Miller: If you get a hotel paid for you're like this is the fucking best job ever.
Jordan: And that's one of those things, where if you're still grateful, you still want to do it, it still drives you to do more—but I think for a lot of people that fades away. Or a lot of people don't get the opportunities but they still have the thought in their mind like "Yes, I will be a comedian," but it's not going that way. Like, you know, I played basketball for awhile and I never made a shot.
Miller: I went snowboarding twice. And took lessons both times and I just fell down constantly. But the second time my instructor was like 'What do you like to do?' and I was like 'I don't know, I'm a singer, like a choral singer.' And he was like 'That's great, I bet you're really good' and I was like 'I'm okay' and he was like 'Some people shouldn't sing, right?' and I'm like 'Yeah, no, a lot of people are really bad singers' and he's like 'You're like that, but for snowboarding.' And that's just like a conversation I want to have with a lot of comics—like it's really cool that you want to do this and you're willing to fall down over and over, but at some point, you've got to stop.
Jordan: Let me say this, though: Just to be the devil's advocate, if somebody does want to do it for a hobby, that's fine. It's not a bad thing.
An extended discussion of open mic nights follows. That eventually turns to some underwhelming professional showcases and to the upcoming Bridgetown Comedy Festival…
But at Bridgetown not everything is great, especially when Bridgetown was putting on all the locals, it was not… and they were putting on way too many shitty locals.
Jordan: They really trimmed it down.
Miller: Here's the thing about festivals, even now even current-day Bridgetown is that it goes back to the long term goals. A lot of people do festivals—Sean and I don't do this—and they go 'Uh, it's my fourth set of the weekend, fourth set, I'm gonna fuck around, I'm gonna do crowd work' and we're like, 'No, there is industry here, do your best set!' It doesn't have to be the same set every time but you need to realize that people are watching because this is a nationally known festival. So there are a lot of Bridgetown shows you can walk into where someone is literally just fucking around and we see that as comics and we're like 'What are you doing?'
Jordan: And a lot of comics that are already doing well will do that more, at Bridgetown, where they'll just fuck around, where they get hammered and they're like 'This means nothing to me' because it doesn't mean anything. They were the name on the show, they were the draw, they don't need it to further their career, they'll just get hammered, like hammered hammered, like way beyond normal comedian that I've seen drunk. This is why I don't drink before sets.
You don't drink before sets?
Jordan: No, not really. Maybe one beer.
Miller: It sucks because some people have bought tickets or a whole pass just to see that person do three sets and every time they phone it in. But it happens at the bottom level, it happens at the top level. Festivals are sometimes like an open mic, almost. A lot of people are just fucking around.
It seems like there are a lot of excuses for why certain comedy shows shouldn't be funny.
Miller: I agree with you. I totally agree and I think really good comics who care a lot don't make those excuses, but I've seen a lot of headliners at Bridgetown just go like 'I didn't know I was doing this show until five minutes ago and will talk shit about the festival' and then you feel oddly protective.
Jordan: Not even just Bridgetown, all the festivals.
An extended discussion of the various comedy festivals that've cropped up in the recent boom follows…
Jordan: You just said when the comedy boom goes. It ain't goin' nowhere. I think it's here.
Oh, come on.
Jordan: I think it's here. The boom happened once, it died. And now it's back again and when it comes back, the Renaissance has much more longevity than the original boom.The original boom happened, it died for a long time and now it's back but it'll be back for a lot longer. It'll cycle.
Miller: It's not going to die immediately. A lot of this current boom wouldn't be happening without people like Marc Maron who were here for another boom, did nothing for a long time but toured comedy clubs then stuck through the whole thing and came back… We all stick around, like cockroaches.
Which is why Susan Rice was the perfect person to follow you as Funniest Five. It never goes away. She's forever.
Miller: Our generation, especially, will be the first generation of comics that it's like almost impossible to quit because could you imagine trying to get a regular job. Like, I work in music so it's fine, but everything we've done has been chronicled online. There hasn't been a generation of comics like that, where you're just like I'm gonna go get a fuckin' regular office job because nobody will know who I am.
Jordan: The erotic fan fictions that you've written, all those disgusting things, like drunken sets that you didn't know people were recording and they throw them up on Youtube that I still don't know are out there. Like once a month I'll find myself I'm like 'that's bananas that that's up there.'
You just said you didn't drink before you went on!
Jordan: Open mics?
You guys have so many excuses for these open mics!
MIller: Well it's kind of like a private party, like you're not supposed to be there reviewing it, it's for us. Get out of there!
Jordan: If you get caught up having fun—you do the show you were booked for and everyone's like 'Let's go to this show in some city like an after-the-show-type-show' and you're a little torn up and the set's not terrible, but you're torn down, you don't want people seeing that.
Miller: I would say the Boiler Room open mic partially established my place in this town. which I don't know if I've told you that story… But it was when [former Trail Blazer] Jared Jeffries was doing stand up for awhile in town and nobody knew me, it was maybe my third week in town or something and Shane was there, I don't remember if you were there.
Jordan: I never saw Jared Jeffries do standup. I really wanted to!
Miller: It was an open mic, I was like I'm gonna go after this Blazer, who was surprisingly funny, nobody fucking knows me, I'm a girl, so I can like do my jokes, whatever, be like 'I'm gonna make an impression on these comics because I just moved here and make good jokes, or I can just roast this basketball player I've never met' and that was the funniest thing. And Jared Jeffries took it pretty well, he was very sweet after, but that was like the night where everyone I had seen lurking around that didn't have the balls to come up and say hi to the new girl in town. That was the night I met Shane and he was like 'that was amazing that you just made fun of that Blazer' and the Blazers were really bad at the time so it was even worse… That's what open mics are for. Part of it is just for us to get to know each other and try shit out and it's not supposed to be looked at—it should be private. I don't think anyone should be allowed to come watch it and mostly the people who do come and watch are people who want to start stand up and don't have the balls yet, because you'll see the same people come to open mics three times a week and you're like 'Oh this person really supports the comedy scene' and then they start six months later and you're like 'Oh, they were studying.'
Jordan: That's what happened with Nariko, do you know Nariko?
I've known Nariko before any of ya'll motherfucker's knew Nariko. I've known Nariko since we lived in Phoenix. I wrote about his band.
Jordan: That's crazy!
Now he's a big #BernieBro, which is straining our relationship because of my constant Hillary Clinton posts.
Jordan: The one thing I will say about Nariko is that I was doing a show at the Tonic one time and he was out front and laughing his ass off and I was just feeding into it like 'Oh there's such a cool audience member here' and then a month later, I saw him onstage and I was like 'Hey man, you were sitting right up front' and he was like 'Yeah, I was trying to get into standup and I didn't know quite how to do it' and then I felt kind of dumb like shit, I was doing stand up for a comedian, but he wasn't yet. He was just someone who wanted to get into it.
A discussion of the great Kristine Levine and her move to Tucson, Arizona follows….
Kristine is a really special person for comedy in Portland. I really like I can't be a bigger, when it comes to underrated people who aren't fully appreciated for what they do for Portland, I'm like I mean, she's so fuckin edgy and runs counter to all the other Portland shit. She's like a middle finger to Portland's ideas about itself.
Miller: She's like 'I'll fucking kill for the people who I love that are the good people and fuck all this community shit, I will call anyone out.' She has the right loyalties, but she's not blindly loyal to the scene… She doesn't give a shit. But it is a compromise that you make that might limit the amount of success that you're going to have, which she's willing to take at this point.
Her persona is so much more developed, because she is older. She's so enmeshed in her persona. You could put Kristine Levine on TV right now playing her fucking self, write some jokes for her and she could do it right now. She could do that, like plug and play.
Miller: She does that in Portlandia. She's the only Portland extra or side character that developed a full-blown character in Portlandia, like they were like 'You have a life on this show now because we can't not give you a life because people fucking love you.' She was the only one that they were like okay you're a recurring character.
And now she's leaving, too. It's a big hole, guys.
GO: Amy Miller and Sean Jordan's going-away party is at Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave., 234-9694. 8 pm Sunday, March 13. $15-$17. Under 21 permitted with a legal guardian.