With guest stars like Tim Robbins, Steve Buscemi and Jeff Goldblum, Portlandia 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. With plentiful open mic nights across the city to choose from, along with hilarious annual comedy festivals, there’s always something funny happening in Portland. Read on to learn more about the city’s vibrant comedy scene, then check out our events calendar to discover even more things to on your next trip to Portland.
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.
Nonprofit Kickstand Comedy got its start in the basement of a bike shop, then spent some time tucked above the Siren Theater before taking over the former home of the Brody Theater in 2019. Recognized by Paste Magazine as one of the “Country’s Best Improv Theaters,” Kickstand produces all-ages, community-based shows, flagship weekend showcases, community events and comedy classes.
Looking to participate? Head to ComedySportz in Northwest Portland, which has been a longtime favorite of local comedy-lovers.
Curious Comedy Theater
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 to Southeast Portland and you’ll find Funhouse Lounge, where cocktails, comedy, theater and improv converge against a background of clown-themed decor.
Nightly live comedy
Caught the comedy bug? Head to these open mic nights around Portland to try out your own material:
- Tuesday: Helium, Lamp Tavern
- Wednesday: Funhouse Lounge
- Friday: Funhouse Lounge
- Sunday: Kelly’s Olympian, Alberta Street Pub
The Curious Cabaret – A Riotous Vaudeville Revue is a monthly variety show hosted by Portland’s 20-time award winning physical comedy duo, A Little Bit Off. The show brings you the absolute best in top-notch local talent, with acts ranging from acrobatics and dance, to magic and juggling, with a whole lot of comedy in…
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