Bridgetown Comedy Fest has come and gone and as my liver and funny bone nurse themselves back to health, I’ve been reliving some of my favorite moments of the weekend. Seems technology was the unofficial sponsor of the fest, and most of the awesome moments of the weekend were forever encapsulated in podcasts. Feel free to reread that last sentence as if I am 80. I’m just stoked that operating new forms of media are finally easier than programming a VCR and are allowing me to obsessively relisten and memorize things that I love. You know, like the entirety of the Backstreet Boys Pandora station, or every episode of Smash, or the podcasts of this years Bridgetown.
For me, best of the fest most definitely goes to Karen Kilgariff. If you’re unfamiliar with her name, you are certainly acquainted with her work. Having served as head writer for both The Ellen Degeneres Show and The Rosie Show, she has revisited her stand-up roots in the form of a funny lady with a guitar, encompassing all that is pop comedy. I was able to catch her as the guest on one of my favorite podcasts, Paul Gilmartin’s The Mental Illness Happy Hour. If you haven’t, do yourself the favor and listen to his arsenal of past episodes and read his blog. He has an uncanny ability to find humor in rough subjects with just the right mix of talkin’ feelings that keep me both laughing and crying at the same time. Not unlike most of my relationships.
Karen proved herself to have mastered the art of humble cynicism, sardonic wit and captivating storytelling, basically proving she’s everything I wish I could be. Just short of calling her the wind beneath my wings, I will say that her unabashed way of revealing her personal struggles and comedic triumphs had me both laughing, and crying and can only be described as the best hour of the fest.
Bridgetown featured not one but two All Jane, No Dick showcases that included an array of amazingly talented and diverse women. All Jane, No Dick is an annual comedy festival hosted by Portland’s own Curious Comedy Theater with the goal of discovering and encouraging women in comedy. There were tons of talented ladies featured on their line-ups, Eliza Skinner being a stand-out.
Eliza, described as “one to watch’” by TimeOutNY is hard to miss. She’s been featured on VH1’s Best Week Ever and has also performed at SXSW, the NY Comedy Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe. She has appeared on Conan and writes for Fashion Police on E!. Being naturally funny, though overused, is her hallmark. She is straightforward and raw, combining a keen self-awareness with the nuances of awkwardness. Her writing is hilarious as well, as she is currently working on a collection of comedic essays. She can be seen at the UCB Theater in LA performing musical improv with Diamond Lion. Find her on Twitter @ElizaSkinner or at ElizaSkinner.com.
If you’ve been sleeping under a rock, and not keeping up with Lez Stand Out, then you may not have heard of Cameron Esposito. First step is realizing you have a problem, second is remedying the situation as quickly as possible seeing that Cameron is the next big thing, the one to watch and the one you don’t want to miss. Having just moved to Los Angeles from comedy incubator Chicago, she hit the ground running with her naturally engaging brand of comedy for a number of podcasts and showcases.
Photo by Mo Welch
Put Your Hands Together is just one of her many projects, as well as the Upright Citizens Brigade’s only weekly standup show. Produced by ASpecialThing records, it was created and is hosted by Cameron Esposito every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. PYHT is very much a first of its kind, bringing together a weekly array of talented new comics and releasing both the show and backstage interviews as a podcast. Closing down the entire fest, the Bridgetown edition of PYHT featured Rhea Butcher and Karen Kilgariff as well as Reggie Watts and Bridgetown founder Andy Wood. Check it out on iTunes as well as on Twitter @PYHTShow.
The real star of Bridgetown Comedy Fest truly was its home, Portland, Oregon. It not only served as the epicenter of comedy for a weekend, but also as a welcoming host and the butt of nearly every joke. And while places like LA, Chicago and New York are more commonly known for their comedy scenes, Portland held its own. A place that can obviously laugh at their own expense, thank you Portlandia, it truly has the artistic chops for unbounded and limitless comedy.