Oh, That Tickles

Harvey's Comedy Clubuserpic=theatre_musicalsThis weekend we’re in Portland OR doing site visits for a conference. You would think that would stop us from seeing live entertainment… but you would be wrong. This evening, a dear long-time friend (I’d venture to say my longest-term friend — we first met back in elementary school) invited us to join her and her husband at Harvey’s Comedy Club in Downtown Portland. Live entertainment? But of course!

Now, I’ve never been much of the clubbing type. I’ve been to one rock concert at the Forum, a few at the Hollywood Bowl, Greek Theatre, or Universal Amphitheatre (Z”L), but these days, my concerts are at the level of McCabes or VPAC. In particular, I’ve never been to a true nightclub, and I’ve never been to a comedy club. So this was a first time for me. I was thankful I was in a city where the club wasn’t smokey.

The comedy portion of the show consisted of three performers. The first act was Anatoli Brant/FB. I don’t remember much of his routine, other than his favorite toy growing up was a brick. Oh, and he did some jokes about the trials and tribulations of being a gluten salesman in Portland.

The second performer was Mike Walley Walter. He was pretty good. His routine started out talking about various cities he’s performed in, and he was having particular fun making fun of Laughlin NV, Las Vegas NV, and Reno NV. His routine degenerated into some interplay with some hecklers in the audience and stories about ex-wives and dating.

The third performer was Tracy Smith. Her routine was perhaps the raunchiest, with numerous riffs on being an older woman dating, shaving various body parts, and of course, interplay with the younger clueless women in the audience. She seem to have the most interaction with the clueless clown sitting in the front row using his cell phone. You think someone would actually know better to do that in a comedy club, but they didn’t. Let’s just say that he got what he deserved.

Did I find the comedians funny? Some jokes hit, but most were either going for the attack jokes (i.e., make fun of someone) or the raunch jokes. Perhaps I’ve turned into that old “get off my lawn” sort-of guy, but I miss the days when comedians would tell funny stories (think Bill Cosby, Bob Newhart, or Milt Kamen), or would be simply silly (think the Smothers Brothers, Red Skelton, or Jonathan Winters). I’m sure the next generation of those times of comedians are out there; I hope the younger audiences learn that there is something more than jokes about bald vaginas.

Still, it was an interesting first time to a comedy club, made better by the company we were with!

Upcoming Theatre and Concerts:  Tomorrow night, we’re going to the Brunish Theatre at Portland5 to see the Elton John/Tim Rice musical “Aida“. The last weekend of February was going to start with Tom Stoppard’s “The Real Thing” at Two Roads Theatre, but the problematic reviews (decidedly mixed reviews on the performances, and nearly unanamous reviews that the show was too long and had too many long scene changes) led me to cancel it and replace it with Larry Shue’s “The Foreigner” at Crown City Theatre (FB). The next evening brings the MRJ Regional Man of the Year dinner at Temple Beth Hillel, followed by “Sex and Education” at The Colony Theatre (FB) on Sunday March 2 (moved from March 8). The weekend of March 8 now brings “Biloxi Blues” at REP East (FB) (moved from March 29). The weekend of March 16 brings Purim Schpiels, with Sunday afternoon bringing “Inherit the Wind” at the Grove Theatre Center (FB) in Burbank. March 22 brings “Harmony” at The Ahmanson Theatre (FB), followed by “Author, Author: An Evening with Sholom Aleichem” at the Santa Monica Playhouse (FB) on March 23. The last weekend of March is open, and will likely stay that way as we’ll be exhausted. April starts with “In The Heights” at Cabrillo Music Theatre (FB) on April 5, and should also bring “Tallest Tree” at the Mark Taper Forum, as well as the Southern California Renaissance Faire. April may also bring “My Name is Asher Lev” at the Fountain Theatre (FB) (as this runs through April 19). Current planning for May shows “The Lion in Winter” at The Colony Theatre (FB), and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” at REP East (FB). As always, I’m keeping my eyes open for interesting productions mentioned on sites such as Bitter-Lemons, and Musicals in LA, as well as productions I see on Goldstar, LA Stage Tix, Plays411.