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State of Wonder

Comedians Gather For The First Stumptown Improv Festival

The first Stumptown Improv Festival is taking place in Portland this weekend, and it’s a big deal for the city. Portland’s had a comedy explosion over the past few years — particularly in its stand-up scene. People like Ian Karmel and Ron Funches have gone off to L.A. and hit that highlight of any comic’s career, a spot on Conan O’Brien’s show. The Bridgetown Comedy Festival has become a national event, drawing talent from all over the country.

Now Portland’s improv scene is getting in on the action. Groups like The Liberators and Brainwaves have been around for years. And newer troupes like Whiskey Tango are entering the scene. This weekend, they’re joined by teams from L.A., Vancouver B.C., and Minneapolis. It’s a showcase some of the up-and-coming improv talent from around the country. We’ve got Shelley McLendon and John Breen from the Liberators to talk about craft, and the improv scene in Portland.

Plus, Shelley, John, and Live Wire head writer Courtenay Hameister pay their respects to the late Robin Williams (the improv bits with John Ritter we mentioned start around 48:00).

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