With a combination of live shows, podcasts, and stand-up, Bridgetown Comedy Festival brings together over 200 comedians from across the country (not to mention thousands of fans) for a weekend that resembles more a “comedy summer camp” than a professional affair—which is exactly why it’s become one of the highest regarded fests in the country. Instead of being jammed with egos and agent-types talking about "the biz," the fest presents an opportunity for comedians to cut loose and embrace the goofy, creative, alcohol-infused camaraderie only a city like Portland can foster. It's so popular, in fact, that it's expanding this year to include the Doug Fir Lounge as its new hub.
Bridgetown Comedy Fest
The comedy styles range from the raunchy to the political (or the raunchy political), meaning there’s something to please everyone—even your mom. We've put together five itineraries for different tastes below.
Please note that all of these comedians are appearing at other times and places, so check their Bridgetown page if these times don't fit your Bridgetown schedule.
Also, for an up-close look at three local comedians who will be performing at the fest (Alex Falcone, Bri Pruett, and Shane Torres), as well as sketch group the Aces, see our April story "Four Hot Portland Comedy Acts."
Big Names You Should Know
Matt Braunger (LA)
Alhambra Theater Opening Show - Thu at 8
Festival co-founder and Portland native (he attended Grant High School), Braunger dominates both stage and TV, from doling out laughs at Bumbershoot to cracking wise on Chelsea Lately.
Kumail Nanjiani (LA)
Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail - Fri at 8, Bossanova
Featured in Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch” list, this Portlandia regular recently released his one-hour Comedy Central Special, Beta Male, and appears on Mike Judge’s HBO tech-satire, Silicon Valley.
Reggie Watts (NY)
Reggie Watts and Friends - Fri at 10, Bossanova
Jumping between spoken word theatrics, poetry, beatboxing, comedy and musical performance, Watts' originality is impressive—until you learn that his performances are totally improvised—then you understand why the word "genius" is frequently used to describe him (read our review of one of his most recent shows in town).
Dan Harmon (LA)
Harmontown - Sat at 5:30, Doug Fir
He created the NBC comedy Community. What else do you want?
W. Kamau Bell (NY)W. Kamau Bell and Friends - Sat at 10, Doug Fir
Formerly just "a black guy with opinions," this political comedy juggernaut's clever racial commentary? caught the eye of Chris Rock, who offered to executive produce the short-lived, yet critically-acclaimed talk show Totally Biased with Kamu Bell. Punchline Magazine praised his "blistering wit" and named his 2010 album, Face Full of Flour, one of the top 10 best comedy albums of the year.
Lisa Best (LA)
Alhambra Lounge Primetime - Thu at 10
She has a flair for turning embarrassing stories into comedy gold. (Except for that one time she pooped her pants at age fifteen.)
Hari Kondabolu (NYC)
Alhambra Theater Primetime - Thu at 10
This New York–native and internationally adored standup has performed on Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live and BBC3’s Russell Howard’s Good News. He really hates white chocolate (for moral reasons).
Tim Hammer (PDX)
Hosts Analog Cafe Primetime - Sat at 9
Portland’s young prince of one-liners and ad lib chain-restaurant performances has looked twelve years old for the last ten years. But he’s cool with you laughing at it.
Bob Khosravi (Austin)
Best Kept Secret - Sun at 7, Jupiter Tent
A 2013 Funniest Person in Austin finalist, Khosravi tackles issues close to his heart like being Middle Eastern at the airport, and how all life’s conflicts can be solved with bacon.
Rough and Raunchy
Byron Bowers (LA)
Doug Fir Primetime - Fri at 9
If it’s any indicator to his comedic style, Byron toured nationally with Dave Chappelle. He also has a completely rational explanation for why there were only two black wizards at Hogwarts.
Sean Patton (LA)
The Blackout Diaries - Fri at 11, Alhambra Theater
He has firm opinions on oral sex, Subway sandwiches, and the trials and tribulations of receiving a full body cavity search—he’s pretty sure it’s impossible to hide a gun in your butt (but you’d be pretty badass if you could).
Kristine Levine (PDX)
Portland Masters - Sat at 7, Analog Theater
Former porn clerk and regular on Portlandia, Levine once did stand-up for prisoners at the Oregon State Penitentiary. She's not afraid of your criticism.
Bryan Cook (LA)
Hosts Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction - Sat at 10, Alhambra Theater
Any man responsible for the creation of a show where 10 comedians write and perform erotic fan fiction based on audience suggestion and whatever tickles their fancy is going to be worth watching.
Ladies of LOL
Bri Pruett (PDX)
Late Night Action with Alex Falcone and Bri Pruett - Thu at 10, Doug Fir
Pruett is fearless. Whether she’s doing a stand-up routine about throwing out her third tier of underwear or improvising her way through a made-up musical at Northeast Portland hot spot Curious Comedy Theater, she rules the stage with confidence and, rarely seen in comedy, positivity. Watch Pruett's stand-up in our "Four Hot Portland Comedy Acts" feature. Also hosts Hawthorne Theatre Primetime - Fri at 9
Aparna Nancherla (NYC)
Late Night Action with Alex Falcone and Bri Pruett - Thu at 10, Doug Fir
Don’t let her innocent appearance fool you; Aparna’s whip-quick wit, sly snark, and meditated delivery will leave your ribs aching. As a beloved guest on the Nerdist podcast and WTF with Marc Maron, she’s had a lot of practice.
Rebecca O'Neal (Chicago)
Baron Vaugh Presents: The New Negros - Fri at 10, Hawthorne Theatre
Her comedic abilities are multifaceted: she’s headlined at well-known venues across the country, written and edited for publications like Vanity Fair and The Rumpus, lent her voice to radio, and was listed by Huffington Post as one of eighteen funny women to follow on Twitter.
Eliza Skinner (LA)
Set List: Stand-up Without a Net - Sat at 8, Doug Fir
Patton Oswalt called her an up-and-coming comedian to watch for good reason: she’s an Upright Citizens Brigade regular, a writer and performer on Totally Biased with W Kamau Bell, and has written comedy for the likes of Joan Rivers and Cracked.
Subhah Agarwal (NYC)
Best Kept Secret - Fri at 7, Jupiter Tent
She is one of the hardest working open mic comedians, throwing herself to the sharks every night, armed with witty new material and hoping for a laugh, but accepting the possibility of every comedian’s worst nightmare: a silent room.
Curtis Cook (PDX)
Hosts Jupiter Tent Primetime - Fri at 9
Offering fresh, witty perspectives on hipsters, the singles bar scene, and (surprisingly) racism, this whip-quick nihilist will leave you both charmed and in stitches.
Andy Haynes (LA)
Hosts Midnight Run/The Andy Haynes Album Release Show - Sat at 11:30, Alhambra Theater
Raised on caffeine and salmon in the Pacific Northwest, Andy loves driving in lieu of taking public transit because it means he doesn’t have to spend his commute with a homeless person sitting in a pool of their own filth. The Montreal Just for Laughs Festival thought he was funny enough to invite him to its New Faces showcase.
Hosts Bossanova Primetime - Sun at 8
There is no subject Weldon won't joke about. Tackling topics like racial slurs, abortion billboards, transexual stereotypes and what it's like to be raised in Canada, the Bridgetown Comedy Fest welcomes back a man who will make you laugh through your discomfort.