Live comedy is one of the best ways to enjoy an evening out and support local artists. I am lucky to live in the midst of a thriving comedy circuit where I can experience laughter for low or no cost. If you love to laugh and are near Portland, OR you have a wonderful opportunity to indulge your funny bone.
Helium Comedy Club
1510 Southeast 9th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214, USA
Helium Comedy Club
Cost for tickets: $25-$30 with a two item minimum (approx.)
Helium is a dedicated comedy club where big names in the industry come to perform. A few of the performers include Christopher Titus, Patton Oswalt, Dan Cummins, Bill Burr, and Lliza Shlesinger. The room is filled wall to wall with tables and chairs and is a tight squeeze for popular shows. The acoustics are wonderful so no matter where you are seated you can hear the performer clearly. There is an open mic night once a week on Tuesdays, so you can listen to twenty comics for “free” (two items minimum must be ordered off the menu), or you can try your own chops at performing in front of a live audience.
3 Northwest 6th Avenue, Portland, OR 97209, USA
Cost for tickets: $0-$14 (approx.)
The Star Theater is what I expect to experience when I go to see a live show. The stage has large red curtains and a huge chunky lighting system. The seating area has two levels with wheelchair access. Everything in the room is painted black so the stage practically glows when the lights hit it. While the aesthetics are appropriately dated the sound system is not. A bad sound system can make the best performer seem sub-par. If you choose to sit in the front, then be prepared to be looking straight up as the stage is four feet off the ground. Finding parking is a bit of an adventure, but it is well worth the effort.
Portland, OR 97203, USA
Cost: $0 (Buying off the menu is considered proper etiquette.)
When you walk through the doors to Plew’s Brews, you know you’re in for something different. Not one square inch of wall space is wasted and is liberally plastered with posters of artists and art. Seating is first come first served at tables or on empty, padded beer kegs along the wall. The atmosphere is very relaxed and loud so it is often hard to hear performers, but you can sit really close to the stage because it is just a foot off the ground. The comedians usually have about five minutes each so you get to see several new and upcoming talents before they become famous. Parking is easy to find and near the venue.
I have only scratched the surface of excellent venues that host amazing comedians every week. Consistent laughter is a wonder habit to foster. You can easily try a new pub each week and still have more to discover in the Portland, OR comedy scene.