Matt Kirshen is a Los Angeles–based British stand up comedian, writer and co-host of the Probably Science Podcast with Jesse Case and Bridgetown Comedy Festival co-founder and producer, Andy Wood. He’s appeared on Paul Provenza’s Green Room, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, as a finalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, among many other credits. He’s also worked with the UK Television installment of Set List Show—Stand Up Without a Net.

This year he’ll be performing his third full weekend at the Eighth annual Bridgetown, May 7-10.

Probably Science Podcast
Sunday, May 10, 2–3:30 p.m.
Bossanova Ballroom
Hosted by Matt Kirshen and Bridgetown producer Andy Wood, This quasi-science show is sometimes informative and always entertaining. The Bridgetown installment features Sex at Dawn author Christopher Ryan.

Colleen Leary: What do you like about Bridgetown?

Matt Kirshen: It’s great. It’s like summer camp for comedians. The reason comics keep coming back is the producers go out of their way to make it fun for us, and as a result hopefully it’s fun for the audience.

The way Bridgetown is built, it’s about the shows. Most festivals it’s kind of more of an [entertainment] industry showcase. You’re basically parading in front of industry people and showing them what you’ve got.
Bridgetown is more about getting a bunch of comedians together and putting on good shows where you’re not constantly stressed about making a good impression.

CL: You’ve been involved in the making of the British version of Set List Show. What did you think about Set List at last year’s Bridgetown?

MK: The Set List Show we did at Bridgetown last year at Doug Fir was great. I’ve so far never encountered a Portland audience that sucks. They’re into comedy. When you’re in comedy, you’re very much driven by the audience. The more reserved they are the harder it is to rift.

I think Bridgetown last year, that was the first time Emo Phillips did [Set List]. He writes perfect one-liners, and you think he sits at home and slaves over them. And then you watch him do “Set List” and realize, ‘Oh it just flows out of you in the heat of the moment’. He was so good it’s almost irritating.

CL: What’s your experience been like performing in Portland over the years?

MK: They’re generally pretty cool audiences. They’re kind of comedy savvy crowds, which is good. Once an audience gets a really good comedy festival, that attracts interesting, thoughtful and good comedians. It helps promote some comics who are quite established and some you may have never heard of.

CL: Which shows are you performing on this year that you’re especially excited about?

MK: Well, I hope people come out to Probably Science…One of our guests is going to be Christopher Ryan, author of Sex At Dawn. He wrote a book on evolutionary psychology and relationships—whether humans are actually preconditioned to monogamy. He’ll be one of our guests. The other guest we’re not sure. We usually pair an expert with a comedian.

I’m also doing a show called Peace Out with Laura House. She’s a person I like. She teaches meditation now. I’m doing this show on the first night where it’s really great comedians on the bill and it’s followed by guided meditation.

Matt’s Bridgetown Recommendations:

MK: Jackie Kashian is in incredible form right now. It’s well worth seeing one of her shows. Guy Branum is another one. He has just put out a new album that’s great.

CL: Kirshen also recommended checking out Kyle Kinane, Janeane Garafalo, and Neil Hamburger.

Four-day passes for the festival are $99 and available at

Click here for Kirshen’s website and here for his Bridgetown schedule.