When you grow up surrounded by dysfunction, you have a couple of choices: drink the Kool-Aid and let that environment consume you or you can convert it into fuel and use it to blaze your own trail. Fortunately for comedy fans, Amy Miller chose the latter.
Amy was Voted Portland’s Funniest Comedian by Willamette Week in 2013 and has performed at the San Francisco Sketchfest, Bumbershoot, Noise Pop Festival, The All Jane No Dick Festival and Bridgetown Comedy Festival. She’s opened for national headliners such as Hannibal Buress, Moshe Kasher, Kyle Kinane and Rory Scovel. She hosts the monthly standup show Midnight Ma$$ and a new show called Stand Up for Yourself, during which she intends to fix everybody. She is also the host of the Sorry About Your Dad podcast and she has a column in the Willamette Week called Fresh Meat.
Amy joined us to talk about overcoming the loss of two fathers, mending family fences, finding her voice on stage, her approach to taking down hecklers and what she learned during her recent L.A. experience.
We also talked with Amy about her love/hate relationship with Portland and why a heaping spoonful of real talk could be a healthy thing for the city.
For more on Amy and her comedy, check out her website, go see her standup shows Midnight Ma$$ at the Funhouse Lounge and Stand up for Yourself at Helium Comedy Club in Portland and follow her on Twitter @amymiller.
And come see her co-hosting Movies in Black & White at the Hollywood Theatre on March 31st!
Paul Tobin’s ONI Press series I Was the Cat is about Burma, a megalomaniacal feline who relates the story of his journey throughout history and how he spent his nine lives attempting to take over the world. Here in the real world, the numbers of lives Paul’s writing career has had puts Burma’s puny nine lives to shame. Paul has written titles such as Marvel Adventures, Legends of the Dark Knight, Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies, Falling Skies, Predators, Savage Sword, and Prometheus. His creator-owned work includes the series Colder, and numerous collaborations with his wife artist Colleen Coover, including Bandette, Gingerbread Girl and Banana Sunday.
Cat was edited by ONI’s Robin Herrera (following Jill Beaton). In addition to editing other ONI titles such as Letter 44 and Invader ZIM, Robin is an author in her own right; her middle-readers novel Hope is a Ferris Wheel was recently published by Amulet Press.
Paul and Robin joined us to talk to about how their respective grandmothers (and Madonna) helped to inspire their interest in storytelling, what appeals to them about writing for younger audiences and how the input of editors can be essential to help writers bring a comic book project to fruition.
Paul also shares with us what role good ol’ fashioned belligerence plays in motivating him to write.
For more on their work and upcoming appearances, you should check out Paul’s website, paultobin.net and Robin’s website, robinherrera.com. You can also follow them on Twitter @paultobin and @herreracus.
The pursuit of perfection can drive an artist into utter madness. There are times when it’s achieved and the results are breathtaking, magical… everlasting. But as the media landscape grows exponentially everyday and consumers are relentlessly bombarded with all manner of “content”, perfection can go overlooked. That’s where Geoff Todd comes in.
Geoff is the creator and curator of One Perfect Shot, the popular website and Twitter account that honors cinema’s past frame by frame, featuring perfectly composed still shots from classic films. OPS regularly celebrates the brilliance of cinematographers such as Gordon Willis, Haskell Wexler, Robert Richardson, Roger Deakins, Michael Chapman, Michael Ballhaus, among many others.
Geoff joined us to talk about why he started OPS, what make a shot perfect and how he’s able to occasionally find perfection in the worst of movies.
We also break down the nominees for Best Cinematography in the upcoming Academy Awards and Jason can’t stop himself from making his opinions known with respect to Quentin Tarantino, Tim Burton and the Coen Brothers. #hater
There’s no such thing as “a break” in Hutch Harris’ world. His creative spirit is what led him to become the lead vocalist and guitarist of The Thermals, the post-pop punk band who formed in Portland in 2003 and have gone on to achieve international fame on the steam of studio albums such as The Body, The Blood, The Machine and Desperate Ground. Although The Thermals have taken some time off in recent months, Hutch’s creative spirit won’t let him rest and he’s gone from belting out tight, gutpunching, lo-fi anthems to slinging jokes on the stand-up comedy stage.
Hutch joined us to talk about the influence of his father’s music and Broadway show tunes on his singing style, how it felt to be signed to the legendary Sub Pop label and what feedback he’s gotten from fans about the religious and political commentary laced in his music.
We also talked with Hutch about why he got into stand-up and the similarities between the current comedy scene in Portland and what the music scene in Portland used to be.
For news on their upcoming record, tour dates and all things Thermals, check out their website.
And if you want laffs, you should definitely check out Down to Funny, the stand-up show at Analog Cafe co-produced by Hutch and hosted by comedian Katie Brien, and follow him on Twitter @thethermals.
The prevailing wisdom is that Portland is “the whitest city in America”. Well, there’s a few local comedians that have something to say about that and a lot more. And to do it, they take to the stage of Minority Retort, a stand-up comedy showcase featuring people of color. Minority Retort occurs monthly at Portland’s Curious Comedy Theater and is hosted and produced by comedian Jeremy Eli, who created the show as a way of addressing the lack of diversity not just in Portland’s comedy audiences, but the city itself.
Jeremy, Nathan and Anthony joined us to talk about whether or not a people of color showcase ghettoizes them, how the Darren Wilson decision impacted their desire to entertain white audiences and what similarities exist between Jimi Hendrix’s approach to playing guitar and a comedian’s approach to riffing on stage.
The next Minority Retort show is Friday, February 27th at 9:30pm at Curious Comedy Theater. For advance tickets, check out the Curious Comedy website. You can follow all of these gents on Twitter: @IMinorityRetort, @ImJeremyEli, @nathanbrannon and @anthonylopezpt2. For Nathan’s upcoming dates and to buy his great comedy album, I Black Out, check out his website.
They say to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. And before we at Karl Show! set out to beat the best, we had to meet the best: the best in this case being the hosts of Portland’s best live talk show Late Night Action, Alex Falcone and Bri Pruett. Now in its fifth season, Late Night Action is a throwback to the heyday of Carson, Letterman and Conan, but with a focus on Portland celebrities, musicians and comedians. We were also joined by Late Night Action writing staff members Anthony Lopez and Christian Ricketts, two of our favorite comedians in town.
We talked with the Late Night Action gang about why they created such an earnest homage to the talk show format, how they blend their individual and distinct comedic voices to suit the show’s sensibilities and how jealousy can be fuel for their creative fire.
Also in this episode, Anthony shares some of his strong opinions, Bri shares her spot-on dolphin impression, Alex talks about his joke database and Christian comes clean about his recent dolmade obsession.
You can see Late Night Action live every month at Mississippi Studios. For tickets and more info, check out their website. Alex, Bri and Anthony also run the Earthquake Hurricane stand-up show, along with Curtis Cook, every Wednesday at Velo Cult. And you can follow all of these guys on Twitter: @lateaction, @alex_falcone, @bripruett, @anthonylopezpt2 and Christian is @aheavyboy.
Are these the words that will become Aaron Duran’s epitaph? Possibly, but it’s too far early to tell, and, after all, we came to praise the brother on this episode, not bury him. Aaron is one of the hosts of Geek in the City, the long-running podcast that breaks down all the goings on in the world of comics, sci-fi, gaming and more.
In addition to being a podcaster, he’s a comic book writer who’s penned the titles La Brujería (drawn by James Sinclair) and Dark Anna and the Pirates of Kadath (drawn by Ethan Slayton) , as well as a regular contributor to Newsarama.
Aaron joined us to talk about his geek origin story, the rise of geek culture (and the inevitable corporate co-opting that followed) and how he came to answer the bloodthirsty call of the Jolly Roger.
We also talked with Aaron about his lengthy relationships with James Brown, Queen and Metallica… or, at least with their music.
You can listen to Aaron and his Geek in the City cohorts @scottdally, @Pwn_Toney and Dan Clark of @pdxyar live every Wednesday at 8pm on the Funemployment Radio Network (after a certain show that’s not nearly as popular as theirs) or later on their website. You can also check out Aaron’s comics on Comixology and follow him on Twitter @geekinthecity.
We were so pleased to have Joe Biel, founder of Portland’s independent book publisher and distributor Microcosm Publishing, join us once again on the program and we were especially delighted to have Microcosm’s in-house design goddess Meggyn Pomerleau on the show as well.
We talked to Joe and Meggyn about the creative process they employ to put together Microcosm titles such as:
- This Ain’t No Picnic: Your Vegan Punk Rock Cookbook by Josh Ploeg
- Make Your Place: Affordable, Sustainable Nesting Skills by Raleigh Briggs
- Henry & Glenn Forever by Tom Neely
- Punk USA: The Rise and Fall of Lookout Records by Kevin Prested and
- Sex From Scratch: Making Your Own Relationship Rules by Sarah Mirk
We also talked with Joe and Meggyn about how coloring books can make you think more than you think they can and why Microcosm is perfect place for Meggyn to be.
To check out the fine work of Joe, Meggyn and the folks at Microcosm Publishing, visit their website here. To check out Meggyn’s other design work, illustration and photography, visit her website, megpom.com. And you also can follow Joe on Twitter @beaugheale and Meggyn @Leg0Tron.
Whether your thing is comics or movies, sports or celebrities, wrestling or bathrobes, chances are you’re a fanboy on some level. Being a fanboy is genderless, ageless and sometimes senseless, but the great thing about podcasting is that it quite literally gives fans a voice. We were very pleased to be joined on this episode by D. Jacob Ryals, the host of BCX Radio, the podcast for fanboys (with a life) on which he conducts spirited discussions about the major pop topics of the day with guests from comics, music and comedy. We were lucky to have comedian/bathrobe enthusiast Rusty Diamond join us as well. Rusty is the host of the Public Access Podcast and one of the many colorful personalities in the DOA, Portland’s independent wrestling league.
We talked with Jacob and Rusty about the art of podcasting, the difference between fantasy and negative sexualization in comics and why the worlds of wrestling and so-called geek culture aren’t as far apart as some people make them out to be.
We also talked with Jacob about how why Portland shouldn’t be so quick to judge those with Southern roots.
Check out Jacob’s fine podcast on bcxradio.com and follow him on Twitter at @BCXradio. You can also follow Rusty on Twitter @papodcast and check out his Public Access Podcast on YouTube. Further information on Portland’s D.O.A. Wrestling League can be found here.
This episode is Part 1 of our discussion with filmmakers Matt Zodrow and Tracy MacDonald. Part 2 has not been scheduled as of yet, but it will be. There were simply too many questions and not enough time to fit all of our questions into one show. Zodrow and MacDonald are the producer/director team behind Whitelandia, a documentary that examines the state sanctioned racial discrimination that prevented Black Americans from living in the state of Oregon from its inception and how those policies are inextricably connected to what Oregon has become in the 21st Century.
Zodrow and MacDonald know why they’re making the film; after a successful run producing documentaries for PBS in Florida (including three Emmy wins), they returned to NE Portland and didn’t like what they found… a neighborhood that had been gentrified and a black community dwindling in number and diminished in voice. Their search for answers as to why became the basis of the film. But getting that message across has had its challenges to say the least. The criticism of Whitelandia’s production has been voluminous and it’s been personal: from skepticism as to the motives of two white filmmakers tackling this subject, to the claims of one of Portland’s leading black scholars that the producers used her work as the backbone of the film without giving her credit or asking her for permission.
Still and all, Zodrow and MacDonald are committed to completing Whitelandia in 2015 and we talked to them about why this story is important to them, the difference between white guilt and self-reflection and how they’ve handled the scrutiny of their production as a couple.
We also talked with Devin Williams, a NE Portland native, about how he himself went from being a skeptic to becoming an associate producer on the film.
But we need to talk more.
At its heart, comedy is all about sharing and the Portland comedy community is lucky to have among its ranks Kristine Levine and Crystal Kordowoski, two delightfully dirty comedians who have no problem whatsoever sharing who they are and what they think with audiences.
We were lucky to enough to have Kristine and Crystal join us to share how they each overcame their difficult childhoods and self-doubt to pursue stand-up, how they feel about the feminist movement in comedy and what effect motherhood has had on their lives and careers.
Kristine also tells us how a moment of inspiration prompted her to take a self-portrait (of sorts) and share it with her boyfriend, Crystal and the world.
Program note: this episode is not suitable for playing at work, church youth groups, bar/bat mitzvahs. christenings or Thanksgiving dinners. On second thought, what the hell… have at it.