(Previously: PART 1)
Round 2 of our comedy escapade found us heading to Eagles Lodge for its charming/nostalgic/creepy portrait wall of past Eagles’ presidents (+their first ladies) and their ice-cold PBRs. Oh yeah, and there was some live entertainment to be had in the name of COMEDY. We caught Tone Bell who had a chuckle-inducing bit about not giving a shit when you’re old. Senior citizens are the real gangstas! While local stand-up Don Frost brought some manic energy while telling a tale about getting busted for weed possession, an amount that equaled to four Cheez-Its. Funny stuff. Unfortunately, we rolled out of there before headliner, Laura Kightlinger, came on as we sauntered across Hawthorne to the Mt. Tabor Theater Mailchimp Stage to camp out for the DadBoner show; which had the comedy fans amped from the get-go.
Walking into the Mailchimp Stage Early Show we caught the tail end of the effervescent April Richardson‘s set. Once she wrapped, host Dax Jordan introduced John Ramsey with a, “When he’s not puking in the parking lot,” little did we know.
Ramsey, clutching a liter of Sprite and a plastic beer pitcher (to corral any potential projectile vomit), gingerly walked up to the microphone and spoke in a gravelly, barely-audible whisper. He proceeded to tell a funny-as-hell yet grueling yarn about getting deathly sick when he was living in Kenya with his wife. Ramsey was so ill at this third world hospital, at one point, he had shat his pants and compounded it by, also, puking on himself. Spoiler! He had learned the true meaning of humility that day. We thought the whole delivery was brilliant and part of the act until we ran into the entertaining comic in the dingy Tabor restroom. There he was, hunched over a sink with his trusty plastic pitcher, dry heaving. Poor guy.
Now, that is what I call dedication, fortitude and suffering for your art. We’ve all been there; flu, stomach virus or food poisoning. But, now imagine pulling yourself off the floor or bed, climbing on stage, coherently doing your set and making a whole room of strangers laugh. I was amazed.
We did the cattle call shuffle as they reset for the DadBoner show. You could feel a buzz in the air as the show took on an almost rock show vibe. Mike Burns aka DadBoner aka Karl Welzein was the host and came out first after a chorus of various Detroit-themed tracks (the dude is from the Motor City). Burn’s buddy and roommate, comic Mike Bridenstine, batted leadoff and did a dead-on impression of Drunk Miyagi. But it was Ian Karmel and Matt Braunger who stole the show. Ian hit a homerun with an unforgettable drunken mini-mart/Twin Peaks bit and Braunger nailed it with an anecdote about drunken meow-karaoke at a biker bar. Methinks there was some Portland pride happening there. Braunger put it best, it was an amazing show:
— Matt Braunger (@Braunger) April 20, 2013
After those guys wrapped, it was veteran comic Todd Glass‘ turn. He was just as sensational. At one point, Glass caught wind of our photographer, Nathan, snapping pics of him as he was performing. The crackerjack funnyman started feigning contrived poses; mocking the whole situation. At my urging, Nate kept snapping. It was damn hilarious.
After the DadBoner showcase was capped with a comical live read by the previous comics (sans Todd Glass) of Burns/Welzein’s next literary venture (Power Moves: Livin’ the American Dream, USA Style) it was time for the Mailchimp Stage to turn it over to the classic Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction. It’s a comedy show (and soon-to-be podcast) which was founded in Seattle, created and hosted by Bryan Cook, and takes place every month at the Nerdmelt Theater in Los Angeles. Each event usually features ten comics, writing, reciting and performing erotic fan fiction (aka fanfic) pieces. The topics are based on either a topic of their desire or an audience suggestion. It’s stupid, it’s absurd, it’s impressive, it’s erotic and it’s utterly entertaining.
Host Cook was joined by The Grawlix crew (Adam Cayton-Holland, Andrew Orvedahl, Ben Roy), and Seattle’s Geoff Lott and Derek Sheen in the first round. This lineup had prepared pieces for their readings and it was a blur of riotously funny word-strings and filthy neologism. It ended with a tight battle between a dirty Downton Abbey tale versus a raunchy rendition of Steinbeck‘s Of Mice and Men. Ben Roy’s Of Mice and Men ended up taking the crown over
Orvedahl’s Cayton-Holland’s British period sexed-up alt-universe. With “overalls” described as dungaree sex coffins or denim chastity belts, how could you not give Roy the prize? An all-around win from the Grawlix dudes that evening.
The comedic brilliance was taken to the next level as Daft Dana Gould, Cool Cameron Esposito, Kray-Kray Kurt Braunohler, Enchanting Eliza Skinner, and Amusing Ian Karmel took the fanfic stage. Scribe Gould drew Roomba and depicted his story in the creep-voice of Chris Matthews. Esposito dug in with an x-rated vision of Chip ‘n’ Dale that was golden. We never realized the Disney chipmunks could be so carnal yet eloquent. Speaking of “golden”, Braunohler didn’t seem enthused by his topic of Golden Girls but his apathy only added to the jocular nature of his submission. Eliza Skinner was coupled with the duo of Wes Anderson/Jason Schwartzman, and, Boy, did she go off. Skinner painted a nostalgic, kitschy, hipster-y, quirky picture that was so Wes Anderson-esque — it was uncanny and sidesplitting, “He grabbed a marionette off the pile of marionettes…”
But alas, it was hometown homeboy, Ian Karmel, who was singing, “Winner, winner, chicken dinner,” at the evening’s close as he shut it down with his absurd Helen Keller fantasy. It was a tale that featured the occasional Nell-like tongue-fumbling/deaf person impression, him doing Keller’s “ghost boobs”, and his role model, Louis C.K., spiritually fellating him. It was a creative take and funny as shit. We’re ALL going to hell.
THIS IS PART 2, STAY TUNED FOR MORE!
photography by Nathan Sanborn