News Column

The return of Ian Karmel, Nathan Brannon's birthday, 'Funny Over Everything': Portland comedy round-up

December 7, 2013


Dec. 07--There's nothing like comedy to take the edge off the holiday season. Whether you're stressed, feeling festive or battling a bout of Christmas blues, getting out and seeing stand-up, sketch and improv performers find the humor in life's weirder moments is giving yourself a gift.

Good thing Portland's comedy scene is busier than ever, with a handful of especially noteworthy events coming up. Here's a guide to some to add to your holiday to-do list:

"A Nightmare on Elf Street": Revel in the darker side of the season with this original Christmas sketch revue. (7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. through Dec. 21; general admission $12 advance, $15 at the door; students and seniors $10 advance, $12 at the door; The Brody Theater, 16 N.W. Broadway;

"Flying Fruitcake": The annual comedy-variety-aerial arts entertainment extravaganza, features original sketch comedy and musical numbers, improv, aerial performers (that's the flying part), and a visit from Santa. (8 p.m. Fri.-Sat. through Dec. 21; $12 online, $15 at the door; Curious Comedy Theater, 5225 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.;

"Funny Over Everything": One of the best comedy showcases in town, this occasional show has brought national talents and spotlighted Portland-bred standouts. It returns with a new bill, which sounds typically promising. The headliner is Emily Heller, who -- when she's not being added to lists of "comics to watch" -- has her own podcast ("Baby Geniuses"), Web series ("The Future") and performing on such TV shows as "Conan." Also performing are some top Portland-based comics, including Bri Pruett, Amy Miller, and Nick Walker. Sean Jordan and Shane Torres host. (8 p.m. Dec. 9; $10; Hollywood Theatre, 4122 N.E. Sandy Blvd.;

Nathan Brannon's 30th Birthday Show: Brannon, who won the 2012 "Portland's Funniest Person" competition, and recently scored some very solid laughs opening for Dave Chappelle at the Schnitz, celebrates the big 3-0. And Brannon has invited a few of his friends: Shane Torres (the 2013 "Portland's Funniest Person" winner), Sean Jordan (him again!), Tim Hammer, Adam Pasi, Lance Edward and Shawn "Boomer" Alan. (10 p.m. Dec. 13; free; Funhouse Lounge, 2432 S.E. 11th Ave.;

"The 1st Annual Darkest, Coldest Time of Year Comedy Spectacular with Matt Braunger, featuring Ron Funches and Ian Karmel": That title tells you a lot, but here's more info on why this might be the perfect way to recover after the Christmas craziness. Braunger was raised in Portland, and has gone on to success as a series regular on "MADtv," he recently appeared in a recurring role on the NBC comedy "Up All Night," and he's been on every talk show you can think of, as well as comedy festivals -- including Portland's Bridgetown Comedy Festival, which Braunger co-founded. He's joined by other Portland-scene luminaries who have gone on to shine in Los Angeles, Funches as a regular on the upcoming NBC series "Undateable," and Karmel as a writer-performer on "Chelsea Lately." (8 p.m. Dec. 27; $10 advance, $12 day of show; Mission Theater, 1624 N.W. Glisan St.;

-- Kristi Turnquist


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