When pressed to come up with a single defining one-liner about Portland—the kind that doesn’t rely on hoary clichés like the weather, hippies, or Sam Adams—Andy Wood is at a rare loss for words. “I just can’t think of one,” says Wood, the usually excitable organizer of the Bridgetown Comedy Festival. “Really.”
Give it time. The Bridgetown Comedy Festival, which is in only its second year, has grown from a field of forty comedians to an invasion of 115 rib-ticklers from the Northwest and around the country. And while the festival might not yet have bred a one-off catch-phrase (“Take my compost pile—please!?”), it has already bred success.
Los Angeles comedian Kyle Kinane was a calf-to-the-slaughter opening act last time out but returns to the festival as a headliner. And then there’s local gonzo videographer Bobby Hacker. A breakout star of last year’s Bridgetown, his trilogy of bizarre “Cars” commercial spoofs have spawned a huge cult following on YouTube. “Now he’s doing a My Chemical Romance video,” Wood says. “Troma Entertainment [the people who brought you such lovable schlock as Toxic Avenger and Surf Nazis Must Die, among others] is going to put out a compilation of his videos, and when Patton Oswalt curated a show in Los Angeles last year he asked Bobby to show some of his stuff.”
Of course Oswalt, the darling of the indie comic world, is the man who highlighted last year’s festival. This year that honor goes to Janeane Garofalo, who’s spent the majority of her career on stage and screen pointing and smirking at a decade’s worth of pop-culture faux pas. Also on the lineup is a tenth anniversary celebration of the now-defunct Adult Swim show Home Movies, with appearances from series creator Brendon Small, who now heads the Cartoon Network offshoot’s latest hit, Metalocalypse.
“This is a labor of love,” Wood says. “Lots of festivals are about publicizing whatever comedian has a sitcom coming out. There are no ulterior motives here: we just got a bunch of people together who we think are funny.”
Now if they could just come up with one bad Portland joke between them. For tickets and schedule information visit bridgetowncomedyfestival.com.