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Bumbershoot 2010 - Music Arts & Dance Festival - Seattle, WA

Artist Spotlight: Northwest Comedy

In addition to a lineup that highlights some of the best in comedy from across the nation, Bumbershoot’s regional comedy provides an overview of all the Northwest has to offer. In particular, this year’s lineup represents all ends of the comedic spectrum, from the latest up-and-coming performers (check out Laff Hole Presents: Fresh Faces) to comedy’s veterans (as seen in Comedy Jam Preserves).

With so many options for comedy throughout Bumbershoot weekend, we decided to highlight a few of the Northwest performers we’re particularly excited about:

Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction with Bryan Cook, originally founded in Seattle, is an event that features 10 comedians writing and performing pieces on a topic that is… pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Operating much like a storytelling contest, performers construct pieces about pop culture icons based on their own ideas or audience suggestions. Nothing is too raunchy, and no topic is off-limits, not even the GEICO gecko.

Podcasts are available on iTunes in case you want to familiarize yourself with this hilarious, but clearly NSFW, event. Currently performing in Los Angeles, Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction with Bryan Cook returns to Seattle as part of Bumbershoot on Sunday, September 1.

Hot Comedy with the Spicy News comes to Bumbershoot out of Portland, the brainchild of Oregon native Craig May. The concept is simple: comedians read their own take on the latest celebrity gossip, but the catch is they have to devour the world’s hottest, naturally occurring peppers before doing so. Keeping with the age-old tradition of laughing at others’ misfortune, watching comedians unravel in all forms on The Spicy News is hilarious. Reactions range from tears, to uncontrollable drooling, to the removal of clothing, as is the case for Timmy Williams of The Whitest Kids U’ Know:

The camera stays on past the jokes, which leads to some of the best gems of the show, as comedians react with joy to their selected reward, usually in the form of dairy. Spicy News and a Spicy Interview will happen live at Bumbershoot, as well as “Hot Comedy” in which comics attempt to do their act after eating a habanero. Catch the Spicy Crew on Monday, September 2.

Comedy Jam Preserves represents the “seasoned vet” end of the comedic spectrum. The comedians that comprise this program (Ron Reid, 64, Geoff Young, 57, Peggy Platt, 55, and Jay Wendell Walker, 70) have a combined total of 149 years of stand-up comedy experience. Jay Wendell Walker, in particular, has been a fixture of the comedy scene for more than 50 years, more than 20 of them in the Seattle area. With that amount of experience, it’s no surprise that Walker has a slew of stories to share, including a particularly hilarious account on his website about meeting none other than Frank Sinatra after performing a 4am set.

Recently, Geoff Young has been perusing his home videos from the early years and uploading clips to his Facebook. Check out this 1984 feature from KIRO 7 on the history of Seattle stand-up comedy, profiling the venues and stars of the scene:

Come see some of the Seattle comics who started it all at Comedy Jam Preserves on Monday, September 2.