Improlympia: Burger Poetry and Dick Jokes?

   Comedy is naturally subjective, so no two people are going to find the same things funny. That said, I didn’t feel like Saturday’s lineup for the Improlympia comedy festival held up to my expectations for a comedy night, even by small-town standards.

    Opener Barbara Holm, named one of the “best things in comedy of 2012” by the Comedy Bureau, started off the night with fairly humorous and surprisingly politically correct standup, a phrase I never expected to write.

    In my opinion, a good standup set tends to flow nicely from topic to topic. Unfortunately, Holm’s planned set seemed to run out a bit before her time was up, and she appeared to be left pulling from old material on the spot for the last few minutes.

    Following her up, Ian Karmel of the Portland Mercury kept his standup set rolling throughout the whole time. Several of his jokes were surprisingly original; he concluded his time with a story about using Lovecraftian language to describe a the best burger he’d ever eaten. A bit self-deprecating for my tastes, Karmel nonetheless amused.

    Sadly, I cannot say the same for improv duo Street Lightning. While Mark David Christenson and Ryan Hitchcock’s first scene or two were fairly funny, the theme of the evening devolved fairly quickly into dick jokes.

    A man discovers his friend lost his penis in divorce proceedings in one scene. The next hops back in time to show the legal negotiations over said penis. Within the following last two scenes of the set, the duo pantomimed no less than three sex acts.

    I left in disappointment during the intermission, feeling somewhat guilty about choosing to skip the sperformance by Drop the Rootbeer and Run. I didn’t give this last pair a fair shot. But there are only so many times I can see two people simulate fellatio on stage to “Push it” by Salt-N-Pepa before I just have to leave.

By Troy Mead