Ian Karmel Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Jan. 22-24 2015

Ian Karmel hails from the emerging comedy incubator of Portland, Oregon. He cut his teeth alongside fellow upstarts Ron Funches and Andy Wood in a stand-up scene that bears a striking resemblance to Chicago's, where a lack of traditional stand-up venues forces comedians to produce and book shows in the back of dive bars and other unconventional spaces. Perhaps not so coincidentally, Karmel cites as his biggest influence Chicago native Kyle Kinane, a helpful point of comparison for those who might be unfamiliar with the portly PDX native. Generally affable but able to turn dark and acerbic at a second's notice, Karmel shares Kinane's general befuddlement with life, often using his Jewish upbringing to give material an existential dimension, though he did call himself "more of a Beastie Boys Jew than a read-the-Torah Jew" during a recent appearance on the Comedy Central show Adam Devine's House Party. Describing someone as a "Portland comedian" likely summons a certain mental image, but Karmel is a classic everyman who remains attuned to the customs of a Portlandia-era Rip City. His former weekly Portland as Fuck column for the Portland Mercury offered an unpretentious, sharply satirical look at his hometown that lacked the sometimes cutesy affection Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein's sketch show has for the city. His bit about hitting an emotional rock bottom at a Jack in the Box drive-through speaks to his regular-guy persona. Indeed, his penchant for self-deprecation might be his strongest attribute: "My name is Ian Karmel," he said, addressing the House Party audience, "which is ridiculous because I am a six-foot-three, 300-pound Jewish man and my name sounds like a whimsical British candy store." —Drew Hunt

Price: $20

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