Independence Day in Portland.


American Independence day. It's a big deal here, and after a day of mostly rest and catching up we go to Vancouver park in Washington State to watch an enourmous firework display. It looks like the whole city has come to the park with deck chairs parasols and blankets to get a pitch to see the display. At 10pm it all kicks off with booms, bangs and bright lights and continues for at least twenty minutes, lighting up the sky for miles around, the biggest light show this side of the Mississippi apparently.

Next afternoon we went too Voodoo Donuts, a 24 hour donut shop where I get their signature confection, a little man shaped sugary treat with a twiglet stabbed into him, and another donut which has maple icing and bacon on it. It's well tastey. Bron's friend Jill has helped me souce a couple of open mike comedy nights, as I want to see how Danny Pensive fares out here. I've gigged in the states only twice before, one gig was good, the other not so much. Even the simplest cultural references can get lost easily. At the curious comedy theatre there's an all inclusive improv night on beforehand, Bron and Jill both get in on it and have fun.

This boded well for the comedy gig, or at least I thought it would, as the place slowly empties, and only the stand ups remain. Almost all the acts do their short spot and leave, the greater percentage of them talk about what they want to do with thier willies. Oh dear. The female compere never addressed it, or sought to even the odds, as a night it's all a bit flat. I get on, do my thing, slowly prise a few laughs out of those that have stayed, then just before I finish she comes back on stage to usher me off...oh the indignity. I'm really not where I'm wanted tonight. I try not to judge, it's one night in one venue and Portland is a big town, and besides I'm off to see the comedysportz show tomorrow.

For our final day in Portland I take a break and head into the city alone to wander and explore. Portland is laid back, and easy to get your head around on foot. I resist the urge to shop until I come across a shop called 'I like comics', which is the best named comic shop I've ever been in. I buy the new Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover, where the doctor walks on the bridge of the enterprise. what are the chances? That evening we go to the comedysportz Portland match, which is loads of fun, and get ready to leave Portland.

John Cooper
Comedian & artist.
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