The Vera Project sponsored (with the Seattle Times) the stand-up kick off of Portland and Seattle comedians together at 1:15 PM today on the very cool Comedy Stage West stage at Bumbershoot.
The audience was fairly squished in and the material was admittedly the same raw and sharp topical night-time subjects performed in urban Washington and Oregon, which caused performers Andy Wood, Dax Jordan, Ron Funches, Richard Bain, Rylee Newton to hesitate diving into ribald jackassery too quickly. But they didn't let an early afternoon festival performance dampen their fire, especially after each warmed up.
By the time everyone was awake and ready for anything after several electric performances, the bizarre audience-participation troupe Famous Mysterious Players blew everything away with crowd-thrown knives led by a mysterious trickster-shaman performer. It was a high energy way to end this introductory round of comedy.
Overall, the material and performances were tight. Wood did a great, rapid-fire set, including on playing "spot the James Mercers" in downtown Portland, Dax Jordan had a wonderfully expressive riff on being the child of smart and good-looking parents (thus being smart-looking), and Rylee Newton freaked out on Rockstar-like drinks (suggesting maybe a Soft Rockstar, John Mayer-level). The rest of the comedians were as diverse and whipsmart as well.
A frenetic, fun way to begin the comedy at Bumbershoot!