I’ve found that living in Oregon requires a sense of humor. What else can I do but laugh when I go back east and people ask me “Isn’t it, like, legal to kill people there?” or “So, how do you like living in Seattle?” If people can locate Oregon, they are even more likely to poke fun at the state. When Oregon sent Jeff Merkley to the U.S. Senate, blogger Wonkette explained his victory over the Republican incumbent this way:
Oregon is overrun with wacky libtards, drinking their microbrews while riding unicorn-horned mountain bikes to their gay weddings every day, in the rain.
Stephen Colbert has called the state “California’s Canada” and poked fun at the Oregon Health Plan lottery system. (Perhaps Colbert doesn’t realize how often Oregonians make Californians the butt of our jokes.) The recent Sam Adams scandal has resulted in quips from here to the Tonight Show (sadly, the clip is no longer available).
With so much fodder for humor here, perhaps it’s not surprising that some local comedians want to make Oregon a destination for standup acts. For the second year in a row, the Bridgetown Comedy Festival is shining a light on local entertainers as well as big-name touring favorites. Organizers say they’re hoping this event will help to grow local comedy into something comparable to Portland’s thriving music scene.
Salem-based comedian Ron Funches is excited to return to the festival this year and he says the recession could even boost the turnout. “The poorer people get, the more likely they are to come out to a comedy show to try and forget their troubles,” he told me. “We’re cheaper than a movie!”
Do you go to comedy shows in Oregon? What are your favorite jokes about the state or the region? What’s so funny about Oregon, anyway? Where do you get your laughs?
- Virginia Jones: Comedian based in Portland
- Ron Funches: Comedian based in Salem
- Auggie Smith: Comedian who has appeared on Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham as well as many venues around the country