Why Do So Many People Hate Portland?

I am going to go to Portland in a couple of weeks and all I hear is how it is really a toxic place for comics coming into the town.  I have only done comedy there once and it was in a truck stop.  People that have lived there or have visited there for a while have all said the same thing:  The comics there are pretty hostile.  When I did the competition in Seattle, I met a couple of comedians from there and I thought they were pretty cool.  Now, when you are going to open mics and dealing with open mic guys then you might run into hostility.  I wouldn’t understand why professional comics would act like that though.  You can only work a room so many times.  If you have done it, it doesn’t matter how many other people go in there to work, you still can’t do it for awhile.  Sometimes competition is irrational. People will assume they have to fight over resources that are plentiful as is.  Maybe they don’t realize that they are one of the few bright spots in the comedy landscape.  People see Portland as this progressive place that has green grass and the hippies chicks give head behind a vegan restaurant. Comics on the other hand, see Portland as a place where the audiences are super sensitive and the comics won’t talk to you.  I couldn’t care less about that.  If you have good stuff that isn’t just making fun of people then you will get over.  If you are going to open mics and the open mic comedians don’t want to talk to you that means one of two things.  You suck hard, or you are good and they feel threaten.  I am going there to go to open mics and go to camera shops.  I am not there to find a best friend.

My favorite podcast right now is Weed and Whiskey.  It was created by two local comedians, and it is really funny to me.  Maybe it’s because I know these guys, or it could be because it is really a good podcast.  If you haven’t heard of it then you should check it out.

I am getting ready to start my own podcast.  I have the wordpress site up and running I just need a place to host my podcast.  I am not looking for a podcast where I just sit there and crack wise.  I want to create content.  The podcast will focus on the top movies, music, and books of the week.  I will try to make it fun, but I am not focusing on funny.

So, last week our show at the Bing Crosby Theater in town premiered and it was a success…to us. To the runners of the theater however, it did not perform that well.  No one that worked on the show got any money after the bills got paid.  This is a risk of doing shows in such a place.  When we were still in the production phase of the show, I looked up the cost that they had in order to do a show there.  If you want to do a show at the Bing in downtown Spokane it will cost you at the bare minimum about 1,000 dollars.   The show we put on cost more because we had costumes and stuff to purchase.  Before the show even played for a single soul we were in the hole about 1700 bucks.  The Bing is almost prohibitively expensive.  You have to pay the 750 rental fee.  Then you have to pay for the tech guys at 27.50 and hour, then you have to pay for an advertising package that is about 300 then you have to pay for insurance, so you already in the hole about 1300 before you add your cost for putting on a show (like just to show the money in front of people like that was $250).

There has been a trend of taking comedy from the seedy bars and move them to these older theaters that can accommodate hundreds of people.  The problem with that is that these places cost so much just to get into the building.  For the Bing, you have to pay for their advertising package, but what does that even mean?  If you pay that much money for advertising ($300), and then you don’t see anything in newspapers or the internet then it isn’t worth it.  A lot of people in Spokane like the idea of taking every idea to the Bing.  It is “prestigious” and there is the potential to make a lot of money.  Well, they believe that.  In reality, every show I have seen there has made money…for the Bing with concessions and fees, but the people performing do not really make anything.  That is why I didn’t want to do the Homegrown series of shows they were doing there.  You had to sell your own tickets and do all the footwork, and the only people that would make any real money are the people that did the least amount of work.





2 thoughts on “Why Do So Many People Hate Portland?

  1. I live just outside of Portland, but went to college in Portland and I do consider Portland to be my city even though I am technically an Washingtonian. Portlander’s can be sensitive and cynical, maybe it is the lack of vitamin D. Hopefully you find it welcoming though. It is a great city if I do say so myself. 🙂

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