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Entries in bridgetown comedy festival (1)



By: Aparna Nancherla

I happily zipped back to the 2010 Bridgetown Comedy Festival in Portland, Oregon after attending last year, and as usual, organizer Andy Wood and his royal army of geniuses outdid themselves. How can you make something already great even better? I'm not sure, but it happened. I have no experience organizing things except in daily to-don't lists, but Wood knows what's what (especially after his work on 2009's Bentzen Ball).

With over a gazillion megawatts of talent (in the form of stand ups, improvisers, sketch artists, and comedic visionaries) including Maria Bamford, Tim Meadows, Scott Adsit, Tig Notaro, Greg Behrendt, Marc Maron, Christian Finnegan, Matt Besser, Matt Walsh, Matt Braunger, Danny Pudi, Steve Agee, T.J. Miller (surprise guest!), Hannibal Buress (another surprise guest!) and "more" (believe me, it is barely possible to encapsulate so many incredible names in one small word hence the air quotes). There were shows upon shows (including a rollicking late-night Iron Comic contest with Kyle Kinane being crowned the victor), laughterparties, podcast tapings, movie debuts with Q & A's, and a writers' panel! Not to mention what seemed like a neverending supply of donuts, pizza, beer, and shuttle rides between the hotel and the venue strip. Speaking of stripping, there was even a Sunday brunch strip club crawl. The epitome of you had to be there!!!

Here are some mental snapshots from the festival, April 22-25. Most of my grainy cellphone pics captured my experience there as if I were a security camera at the mall so I have used some of superdupe photographers M. Berru's and Karylee Harrison's outstanding documentation as well.

Witness Chip Pope and Maria Bamford slide down the railing of a courthouse with the back of April Richardson in the forefront! Evading the law in style!

Longform improv with Theme Park at the Hawthorne Theater featuring Jessica Makinson, 30 Rock's Scott Adsit, and Community's Danny Pudi (not to mention The Office's Oscar Nuñez, Cole Stratton, and Janet Varney)!

(Photo credit: m. berru)

The Hawthorne Theatre Lounge next door included such exciting events as Myq Kaplan’s West Coast CD Release party! My cellphone camera, which seemingly only captures people in ghostface, can testify that I was there.

Alex Koll, who was everywhere I turned all weekend, was there to charm the audience.

An afternoon of free video games at the legendary Ground Kontrol barcade was a not-to-be-missed event...a place to get more material, if nothing else.

Festival producer Andy Wood (on right) was there! With Scott Moran (on left) beside him.

(Photo credit: m.berru)

Brent Weinbach offers up a suggestion of what to play next.

(Photo credit: m. berru)

Randy Liedtke takes a spin behind the wheel.

(Photo credit: m.berru)

The adorable Claire Titelman made an appearance!

(Photo credit: m. berru)

Another popular place to be at the Festival was the drop-in open mic at a bar called the Tanker, playfully phrased to attendees as a “Continuous Comedy Cavalcade.” Not that much tanking happened though people may have been tanked. Anybody and everybody stopped by!

James Adomian did a spot-on Lewis Black impression.

(photo credit: m. berru)

Sean Patton waxing profound and hysterical.

(Photo credit: m. berru)

Victor Varnado in a classic “Am I right?” pose.

(Photo credit: m. berru)

Brody Stevens gets it.

(Photo credit: m. berru)

One of the venues was an intimate semi-outdoor patio space known as the Bar of the Gods which comics took much joy in lambasting (“What Gods are these?”). I heard it called everything from a Mexican prison to a Cretan village scene. Regardless, it fanned the flames of joketelling and kept them going strong.

Kyle Kinane can tell a good yarn. Just ask his beer.

(Photo credit: m. berru)

The quirky lighting only added to the brilliance of the ever-inventive Ron Lynch.

(Photo credit: m. berru)

Another one was the Mt. Tabor Theater featuring, among others, one of the festival headliners, the shining light known as Maria Bamford!

(Photo credit: Karylee Harrison)

Not to mention Steve Agee.

(Photo credit: Karylee Harrison)

And it was also the locale for the packed WTF podcast taping with Marc Maron, pictured here with guests Al Madrigal and Sean Patton!

(Photo credit: Karylee Harrison)

I also watched the debut of “Successful Alcoholics” there, which was followed by a Q&A with actor-writer T.J. Miller as well as actor Matt Braunger.

(Photo credit: Karylee Harrison)

Finally, what is a festival without the phenomenon of the afterparty? And there were many at the Bamboo Grove Salon, a stylish back-alley creative space, as well as a secret location on the last night delivered via email.

Moshe Kasher stares down the camera and emerges victorious.

(Photo credit: m. berru)

Karl Hess ponders sobriety.

(Photo credit: m. berru)

Two Andys bromancing it up. Andy Haynes on left and Andy Peters on right.

(Photo credit: m. berru)

Christian Finnegan and Victor Varnado looking candid or posed? You decide!

(Photo credit: m. berru)

And that’s a wrap, folks! Everybody succeeded in getting their jollies, and the city of Portland was splashed with a hearty helping of comedy du jour. Everybody won! (Except at Ground Kontrol. Some people lost there.)

--Aparna Nancherla is a Washington D.C.-based comedian whose credits include NBC Stand Up for Diversity finalist and Last Comic Standing. More importantly, she is on Twitter and her stand up and improv performance schedule stays current here.