Bridgetown Comedy Festival, Portland, OR

By: Annie Brunson

Bridgetown Comedy Festival was conceived one night at a comedy club by a fan, a budding comedian and an up-and-coming talent. After a great night at the comedy club of Portland's Towne Lounge, comedians Matt Braunger and Andy Wood were joined for a drink by comedy fan Kim Brady. During the course of the conversation, they were amazed that they had similar tastes in humor. They agreed that although the national comedy scene was in the midst of a golden age, as was the Pacific Northwest's, Portland's exposure to it was somewhat limited.

When Kim suggested the idea of producing a festival in Portland, they all thought that an event of that kind was long overdue. As the three began to make a wishlist of names, they discovered that Matt was friends with many of these great comedians from his time in Chicago and Los Angeles, and that a large number of them had expressed an interest in coming to Portland to perform. As they started to get things planned and comedians invited, eventual 2008 headliner Patton Oswalt learned about the festival . He thought the Portland festival was such a fantastic idea that he contacted Kim, Matt and Andy about helping get the fledgling event off the ground, and his performance at Bridgetown helped ensure that year one of the festival would be a success.

2010 saw the addition of shows including Theme Park, a star-studded improv troupe featuring "The Office," "30 Rock" and "Community" stars Oscar Nunez, Scott Adsit and Danny Pudi, along with a panel discussion with Conan O'Brien's writing staff after Conan's unfortunately short-lived stint as host of "The Tonight Show." Bridgetown 2010 also showcased new-to-the-festival comics including "The Daily Show" co-creator Lizz Winstead, Hal Sparks, Christian Finnegan and Maria Bamford. The festival screened notable films like the critically acclaimed "Successful Alcoholics," and Jordan Brady's "I Am Comic," an in-depth look at the life of a standup comedian featuring interviews with dozens of comedy heavy-hitters, and filmed in part at the 2009 Bridgetown fest.

Bridgetown 2011 added some hometown flair, with acclaimed director and Portland native Lance Bangs curating his show "Come Laugh With Us," which included screenings of some of his rarely seen works, along with performances by Kristen Schaal and "Portlandia" star Fred Armisen. Kristen's shows, including her variety show "Hot Tub" co-hosted by Kurt Braunohler, were a smash, as were the appearances by comics such as Margaret Cho, Doug Benson and Iliza Schlesinger. IFC sketch comedy troupe "Whitest Kids U' Know" wowed the crowds with a sold-out show at the Hawthorne Theatre, and Jimmy Dore brought the funny with his "Pop & Politics."
This year's line up is fantastic. So come on out to the Bridgetown Comedy Festival for some great laughs! There will be new talent and old favorites to enjoy.

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Annie is a freelance writer. Find out more about Portland on New Quest City. You'll find all kinds of information about demographics, homes, schools, hospitals, interesting area info and more.

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