A Wednesday night at Bull Feeney’s on Fore street helps you realize that Portland has more to offer than just its restaurants, breweries and music events. It also has a thriving comedy scene.
Some of the most successful comedians from all over New England gather at the Irish pub every Wednesday for the Portland Comedy Showcase, a night filled with delicious food, craft beer and of course, big laughs.
Upstairs at the historic and picturesque Bull Feeney’s fills with a slightly-buzzed audience for a 90-minute show that easily satisfies the need for a comedic fix. According to Mike Levinsky, comedian, founder and organizer of the showcase, comedy night features four to six different comics as well as some welcome regulars. Apart from sharpening his own stand-up routine he also makes sure to book the best talent around.
“Stage time is valuable, so I make sure to always find somebody experienced and always working on their craft,” said Levinsky.
Every stand-up comedian brings a distinctive comedic style, which adds a level of excitement whenever the host introduces the next comic. Some comedians are dry and sarcastic, while others are crude and crass, but fortunately, all of them are genuinely funny. Will Green is a regular act at the showcase and crowds love his sets for his relatable anecdotal stories that sometime border on self-deprecating.
“When things happen to me in my real life, at my job, working with kids especially, I can turn that into a story that makes people laugh,” said Green.
Green says that he’s just one of many talented comics who live and work around Portland, a city he believes is a hub for funny people. “If I had to guess, I would say Maine is near the top ten in quality comedians per capita,” said Green. “In a city this small, that’s impressive.”
“Portland is the perfect city for comedy,” said comedian Jerri Stone, a regular at the showcase.
Stone started in the comedy scene in the late ‘80s and after 30 years, performing has become just another part of her life. According to Stone, comedy is a chance to kick bigger things in the shins, and it shows in her style in her playful attacks on controversial issues.
“As I age, life just keeps getting more and more hilarious,” said Stone. “Comedy is kind of like a sore tooth. You notice it, and then you just can’t leave it alone.”
For many performers, comedy is a chance to share experiences, address social problems and according to Levinsky even boost their own confidence. For Levinsky the vibes and laughter from the crowd are the only motivation he needs to keep doing comedy. “The laughs are intoxicating. The great feeling you get from instant positive feedback on your work can last for days,” said Levinsky.
With the type of amicable talent Levinsky constantly has in the show, the Portland Comedy Showcase is like listening to a group of witty storytellers, who also happen to make your sides hurt from laughing. The comedians all seem very comfortable on stage and show a mastery of their own jokes. It’s this familiarity with their material that gives the comedians room to play with their delivery, which often results in laughter even before they reach the punch line.
“You’ll probably catch these guys on Comedy Central in five years, but for now, see them at Bull Feeney’s in Portland,” said Levinsky.
For more information on future shows, visit the showcase’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PortlandComedyShowcase