Ari Shaffir is a stand-up comedian who splits his time between New York and Los Angeles. His latest special, Paid Regular, and his current storytelling series, This is Not Happening, have aired on Comedy Central. Shaffir will be performing at Portland’s Helium Comedy Club March 5-7.
Colleen Leary: When was the last time you were in Portland?
Ari Shaffir: It’s been two years since I’ve been in Portland. It sucks. I don’t know why I didn’t go there at all last year. I was thinking of doing my special there if I couldn’t do it at the Comedy Store.
CL: Where would you have taped it?
AS: I think I would have found a pot [dispensary] to do it at. But I like Helium a lot.
CL: I saw that you canceled your last appearance at Helium.
AS: That’s right. I really regretted not going to Portland. I was supposed to go a big UFC fight and it just turned into a regular 2,000-seater one. And I was like, “I canceled Portland for this?” I thought it was going to be the biggest one in history. That’s actually my biggest regret, I think, of 2014.
CL: Canceling Portland?
AS: Yeah, I’m not even joking. I don’t like canceling gigs. Portland is a cool city.
CL: What do you like to do when you come here?
AS: That last time I was there I went for Bridgetown [Comedy Festival]. That was a lot of fun, that was a bunch of comics. So we went to strip clubs and then arcades. I like to get food and walk around. It’s a weird city.
There’s no zoning laws in Portland. So there’s strip clubs next to churches. I figured out the same thing applies to the people as well. So you see a guy with jeans and a top hat or suit pants and a t-shirt. What are you guys wearing? How are you all different like this top to bottom?
CL: That’s true. I live across the street from a middle school and a sex shop called the Fat Cobra.
AS: Wow. See, this place is weird.