With guest stars like Tim Robbins, Steve Buscemi and Jeff Goldblum, Portlandia has provided a popular stage for poking fun at the Rose City’s quirky side. But plenty of in-demand comedians still prefer a more classic format for sidesplitting humor — live and in person.
In the Central Eastside district, Helium delivers big-name talent like Saturday Night Live alumni Kevin Nealon and Jon Lovitz, Louie guest star Chelsea Peretti, Patton Oswalt, Marc Maron and many others. The venue, which features two full bars in addition to the main showroom, is known for its intimate setting. (Spectators are no more than 60 feet from performers.) No wonder Helium cultivates a respectful audience that is often rewarded with post-show meet-and-greets with the comics.
Downtown, the all-ages Brody Theater focuses on more up-and-coming talent, with two types of improv shows. Fridays are devoted to “Micetro,” a fast-paced friendly competition among a dozen performers who are eliminated reality show-style according to audience applause. On Saturdays, longer-form, more theatrical acts may fill half, or even all, of the 90-minute show. Sunday jam improvs and occasional stand-up acts round out Brody’s schedule.
Nearby, Harvey’s Comedy Club has been a Portland comedy mainstay for 20 years. With dinner and comedy show packages, you can make a night of it and enjoy national headliners and touring comedy acts at the iconic club Wednesday through Sunday nights. Looking to participate? Head to ComedySportz in Northwest Portland, which has been a longtime favorite of local comedy-lovers.
The not-for-profit, volunteer-managed Curious Comedy Theater in Northeast Portland hosts community events to “improve the lives of kids, adults and seniors through the art of comedy.” Head South and you’ll find Funhouse Lounge, where cocktails, comedy, theater and improv converge.
Caught the comedy bug? Head to these open mic nights around Portland to try out your own material:
- Mondays: The Boiler Room
- Tuesdays: Dante’s
- Wednesdays: Pacific Growlers Taphouse
- Thursdays: Black Water Bar, Circa 33, Splash Bar
- Friday: The Rusty Nail
- Sunday: Kelly’s Olympian, Alberta Street Pub, Rose & Thistle