Friday, November 25, 2011

12.8.11 - PSICKASS 7 - Todd Armstrong, Bri Pruett and Nick Walker

PSICKASS 7 will take place on 12.8.11 at Curious Comedy Theater, featuring the problem solving talents of Todd Armstrong (host at Helium Comedy Club and Harvey's), Bri Pruett (Pipes) and Nick Walker (stand-up genius). Musical guest TBA.

Featuring sketch comedy from The Executive Committee of the Mental State Department, Shawn Fleek, Jay Dean, Joe Hieronymus and Whitney Streed, with special guests Jeff Oliver, Jen Allen, Christian Ricketts and Richie Stratton.

Cost is $5 in advance or $7 at the door. Show is open to all ages, and a full bar is available for the legal drinkers. Doors open at 7:30, show starts at 8pm.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Funny U. Opens Wednesday 11/2 !

What's Funny U.? It's a two-month Occupation of the Weekly Recurring Humor Night.

FU is an evening of comedy, in three parts. It's a comedy writers' workshop, facilitated by MSD, open to the public, intended for comedians and those who wish to become comedians. It's also an hour-long live comedy podcast taping by the Mental State Department. It's even an open mic that gives preferential treatment to comedians who write and attend. FU is five fun weeks between 11/2 and 12/28, every other calendar week, where you can see comedians of every level honing their craft.

At 8:00: Homeroom! - Participants will help each other write jokes, perform them in front of each other, and will receive preferential spots at the open mic later on in the evening. Wanna do a little extra time? Want to bump someone? Come to Homeroom and work on your craft and maybe you'll get your wish.

At 9:30: Study Hall! - Live podcast taping. The Executive Committee of the Mental State Department deliver hilarious special reports on the week in problem-solving. Guest comedians perform. It's a crazy fun time, with a live audience, and it all ends up on the internet so you can listen to it and think about it long afterward.

At 10:45: Recess Open Mic - Homeroom participants and other locals perform in the medium of comedy. A great mic to try out new material in front of a warm and friendly crowd! A better place to bring your A-game and impress comedians, bookers and agents. A perfect room to spot up-and-coming talent.

Tonic Lounge - 3100 NE Sandy - FREE - 21+

Friday, October 21, 2011

11/10/11 - PSIXASS - Six Month Anniversary Show

Problems abound in Portland! We have an Occupation in our downtown parks, making it very hard for people to sell drugs and drink beer there. Our Mayor just went to Asia for ten days and basically told them not to burn the house down. The weather just changed and everyone got depressed at the same time. The Mental State Department has declared an emergency PSICKASS (which happens to co-incide with our 6-month anniversary show) to solve these problems before they get TOO BIG TO SOLVE.

Auggie Smith is a Portland legend. In person or on stage his candor and gentle demeanor, combined with his total willingness to fly off the handle, have made stories of Auggie's jokes into epics, memorable yarns where the comic suddenly stops using the microphone, and starts screaming so loudly as he leaves the stage that the entire already-captive audience grows even more hushed, to hear his every word. He is relevant, biting and he is right, even when he proves you wrong, from your left.

Ron Funches just lit up America via television recently. Conan O'Brien, kid. What TV show were you on? "Nickelodeon GUTS?" Sit down, kid. This is Ron Funches. Portland is graced by his presence but every so often, and the magic rains like gold from the sky. He will float in on a cloud of mystery, drop incredible amounts of levity in what seems like just an instant, and he will glide away to do it to someone else. His majesty will enlighten the audience for centuries.

Gabe Dinger is a familiar face to anyone who has attended a Portland comedy show. He's memorable. Some might say the memories he leaves you with are the somewhat-depraved, hilarious bits he gets away with delivering through his shit-eating grin. But the longer you listen, the more you realize that he's not as terrible a person as he seems. He's a really smart guy, playing stupid-who-is-actually-smart. The joke is on you for laughing, not him for making you laugh.

Our special musical guests are The Band Currently Known As The Band Formerly Known As Too Big To Fail. One problem is the band's name, which the audience will solve during the show, while the comedians solve everyone else's problems.

If you miss this show, you will suffer for it.

11/10/11 - PSIXASS - Six Month Anniversary! 7:30pm Doors - 8pm Show - All Ages Welcome - Tickets are $5 in advance or $7 at the door.

Monday, September 19, 2011

10/13 - Ian Karmel, Veronica Heath, Alex Falcone, Costume Party!!

Mental State Department Presents...

Problem Solving Initiative: Creating + Kindly Announcing Silly Solutions FIVE

The Mental State Department is proud to announce we are having a Halloween Party October 13th, at the Curious Comedy Theater (5225 NE MLK). MSD invites all the brilliant and beautiful people of Portland to dress in their scariest, stupidest costumes and attend! We usually have a strict dress code, but we're waiving it: your Slutty Hot Dog Costume is proper attire for this event.

Guests include Ian Karmel (Portland's Funniest Person, Talkin' Ball, Portlandia) Veronica Heath (Regular Feature at Harvey's Comedy Club) and Alex Falcone ("Read It And Weep" podcast,  ComedySportz), who will be participating in PSICKASS.

PSICKASS is a challenge for comedians to complete in front of an audience: spectators submit problems they need solved, and visiting comedians go to work for just 30 minutes creating hilarious solutions to all the problems. Along the way, the Mental State Department performs sketches and commercials, invites special guests to perform and make celebrity cameo appearances, along with live music, contests, and much more. This variety show packs belly-laughs and head-scratchers from floor-to-ceiling!

Doors open on October 13th at 7:30 pm and the show starts at 8.

Featuring live music from Ira Novos, with special secret guests to be announced!

Tickets are $5 in advance, $7 at the door, or $5 at the door if you wear a Halloween costume (the box office will decide what constitutes an actual costume). This show is 21+, and we have a full bar available, including the Mental State Department's Signature "Brain with an Irish Coffee Chaser." Use the link to order tickets in advance and save! Or wear a costume for $2 off the door price. Mark your calendars for 10/13 at 7:30, Curious Comedy Theater. We hope to see you there!

Monday, August 22, 2011

9-8-11 - Virginia Jones, Chris Castles, Tim Hammer and more!

Mental State Department Presents PSICKASSIV:
Problem Solving Initiative: Creating + Kindly Announcing Silly Solutions

Portland, OR -

The Mental State Department, Portland's premiere hosts of intellectual
and political stand-up, sketch comedy, and fun, once again present an
evening of entertainment and surprises at the Curious Comedy Theater.
An extra-governmental agency with a dual mandate: to provide laughter
and solutions, MSD brings people together to laugh and think.

PSICKASS is a challenge for comedians to complete in front of an
audience: spectators submit problems they need solved, and visiting
comedians go to work for just 30 minutes creating hilarious solutions
to all the problems. Along the way, the Mental State Department
performs sketches and commercials, invites special guests to perform
and make celebrity cameo appearances, along with live music, contests,
and much more. This variety show packs belly-laughs and
head-scratchers from floor-to-ceiling!

The next show will feature the problem-solving talents of Virginia Jones
(Host at Helium Comedy Club), Chris Castles (King of Eugene) and Tim
Hammer (King of the One-Liner, Time Hammer), with special guest
Kevin-Michael Moore (host of the long-running Boiler Room comedy
night) music by guitar virtuoso Jason Nguyen, and much much more.

Doors open on September 8th at 7:30 pm. The show starts at precisely
8pm, and the cost is $5 in advance, $7 at the door. This show is 21+,
and we have a full bar available.

Curious Comedy Theater - 5225 NE MLK BLVD

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Portland Progressive Comedy: Massive PSICKASS3 Line-up

The Mental State Department astonished Portland with the full line-up for the PSICKASS3 event this week. OR-1 Congressman David Wu announced his resignation immediately afterward, and scandal-plagued Portland Mayor Sam Adams used the 24/7 media coverage of the MSD event to announce he will not seek re-election. No word yet from the White House on the amazing guest list for the August 11th show, but the mainstream press has given PSICKASS3 so much attention that Obama is expected to sign a highly-controversial budget resolution while Washington is busy talking about Mental State Department.

Portland has long had a lack of a substantive venue for political or comedy. Most stand-up comedians shy from the topical for the universal. Most sketch groups focus on the absurd over the serious. Thanks to 24/7 news channels, and nightly hours of biting social commentary both comedic and deadpan, some have declared the art form dead. Others, like Mental State Department's heroes in San Francisco, Laughter Against The Machine, press on in hopes of a brighter future full of laughter. Inspired by LATM and other political-comedy powerhouses past and present, the Mental State Department was founded to provide laughter and solve problems, and the results have been spectacular.

PSICKASS is a race against the clock to provide solutions and laughs in short order. Audience members receive slips of paper upon which to write their problems. Some folks choose the absurd ("butt cancer") and others the political ("Reaganomics"). Both of those suggestions, by the way, were written by the same person. The comedians head backstage and craft solutions to each problem they can to fill five minutes of new, original material. While the audience waits for the solutions, the Mental State Department entertains with sketches, games and more. The 8/11/11 show will feature guest appearances by Christian Ricketts, Mandie Allietta, Taylor Gray, and Patrick Thomas Perkins, just to name a few.

After the comedians present their solutions, the audience votes on a winner, the best and funniest problem solver! What better way to celebrate our democracy than a nice big worthless election where all the candidates are clowns?

In the first PSICKASS, Whitney Streed was elected President of Problem Solving.

In PSICKASSII, Stacey Hallal was the definitive winner.

At PSICKASS3, anything could happen. Competing for the title are Kristine Levine, Nathan Brannon and Jessie McCoy.

Kristine Levine is a goddess. She carries on in the great tradition of mom-comics who shoot from the hip, a genre in many ways defined by the love and empathy we feel for that greatest of heroes, the nagging mother. She calls her children "houseplants," so her parenting advice should be taken with a grain of salt, but her style is 100% real, exceptionally unique, and full of hilarious and shocking anecdotes sure to have you in stitches.

Nathan Brannon is mind-bending. He turns a stool on stage into a woman. He yells at a cat that isn't there while he's pretending to wash his genitals. He screams at white people and the audience, spellbound, get uncomfortable, but not too uncomfortable because they're laughing, at Nathan and at themselves. He's the kind of performer who holds every second of your attention, who takes you on an emotional roller coaster and leaves you safely in your seat, breathless.

Jessie McCoy is a comedian. She's got jokes and she tells them and people laugh. Jessie is matter-of-fact, saying exactly what something is or is not, and you mostly agree, but you definitely laugh. She thinks of herself as "brassy." It doesn't matter if Jessie McCoy is making fun of people like you, because you know she's right. If some people tell it like it is, Jessie McCoy tells it like it should be. Jessie is also a co-host of Unibash radio, on

Also featured: the talents of Ira Novos. Ira Novos is a musician, called "Portland's most alt comic." Often spotted as the musical accompaniment to Suki's Legendary Open Mic Night, Ira is a real performer from a time when real performers did not exist. If Ira has always been as endearing, sweet and funny as he is now, then he has already had an amazing, nationally-spanning career. But this could very well be the brink of the Age of Novos, and the world is finally ready for his genius.

Mental State Department expects to sell out the theater for this event, which takes place on 8/11/11 at curious Comedy Theater, 5225 NE MLK Blvd. The doors open at 7:30pm and the show starts at 8:00. Purchasing your tickets early is highly recommended. Seats are $5 and available online here. You can also join our email list if you email mentalstatecomedy at gmail dot com and tell us you're interested in receiving last-minute deals on tickets and information about upcoming Mental State Department events.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Largest-Ever PSICKASS 8/11/11

At curious Comedy Theater on 08/11/11, the Mental State Department once again hosts PSICKASS, their revolutionary laugh-producing, problem-solving system. Admission is five dollars, and for such a reasonable price one can expect:

Two full hours of entertainment!

Problem solving by these geniuses:
Kristine Levine! (local superhero and writer, hot off a tour in LA)
Nathan Brannon! (nationally-touring comedian and role model)
Jessie McCoy! (host of Unibash Radio and Portland comedy icon)

A special musical guest so famous we can't tell you who it is or too many people might show up and we'd have to call the fire department!

Sketch comedy, games and hosting by the Executive Committee of the Mental State Department, with local celebrity guest performers!

A full bar, plus delicious food and non-alcoholic beverages! (this event is for ages 21+)

Smart, thoughtful and hilarious comedy at a low price!

Appearances by Comedy Bird and Public Policy Bear, Dr. Tyrant and #24, and more

The doors open at 7:30 and the show starts at precisely 8:00pm. Proceeds to benefit Curious Comedy Theater, a 501c3 non-profit.

Purchase tickets ahead of time from Curious Comedy Theater Email us with questions about the event or just to say hello.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thursday July 14th - PSICKASSII

7/14/11 - Doors at 7:30 - Show at 8
Curious Comedy Theater (MLK + NE Roselawn) hosts

PSICKASSII - The Second Coming of PSICKASS

Genius comedians solve your problems!

Arlo Stone
Stacey Hallal


Mandie Allietta

plus musical guest

Sarah Moon and the Night Sky

Admission is free before the show (email to reserve seats) or $5 at the door. Special guest performances by Todd Armstrong and Kyle Harbert. Hosted by the Executive Committee of the Mental State Department. Ages 21 and up. This show is a smart-safe space.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Jesus: "Attend PSICKASSII"

Hello, Christians. This is your Lord and Saviour, Jesus Hare-Krishna Christ. I've been thinking about sending this message for some time, but have been busy answering your every prayer, and taking care of my aging Father. But for some reason today I finally got around to it. You could say the spirit moved me.

The Mental State Department is really helping me take care of lots of things while I'm looking after Dad. They're doing the Lord's work, certainly. They have comedian-type geniuses solve the problems of the people who attend their shows. And frankly, it's no big deal all the swearing and inappropriate things which are said during the course of the show. The point is, you should attend.

I haven't heard from any of the guys in MSD for some time, but I suspect they're as busy solving your every problem as me, the guy who died for your sins and who allowed Mel Gibson to make that awful movie about me, Braveheart. I'm sure that the Executive Committee of the Mental State Department would gladly accept me into their hearts, where I may need to move when my father passes away and the Devil forecloses on Heaven. So let's make sure those hearts are extra-big from all the charitable problem-solving they do each day. They're hard at work right now, even as I type this!

Attend the Second Coming of PSICKASS, PSICKASSII, on July 14th at 8pm at the Curious Comedy Theater, 5225 NE MLK

Doors open at 7:30, and it would be wise to show up early to get a seat. Tickets are $5 at the door, or $0 in advance (advance tickets may only be obtained through the MSD Executive Committee, not through Curious Comedy Theater.) Now please excuse me, but I need to get back to my dying father. Dad? Uhm... dad...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tonight - PSICKASS

June 9, 2011 - 8pm - Beauty Bar

Problem Solving Initiative - Creating and Kindly Announcing Silly Solutions

Whitney Streed
Phil Schallberger
Danny Norton

and musical guests


That's right, constituents, the Mental State Department is unveiling a new solution-creation scheme this evening called "PSICKASS," (pronounced "sick-ass") Don't let the name fool you, there's nothing SICK, nor ASS-y about this night of entertainment. Instead, you're going to have a PSICKASS time, with a KICK-ASS line-up of local genius comedians and musical virtuosoes. Indeed, you would not expect to get this sort of a show for free. MSD is being suspiciously generous, some have speculated in anticipation of future events, which will cost millions of times the current asking price of zero. The value of this show is infinite, but the quality will be excellent indeed. It's like you found a very nice new bed at the grocery store, given as a "free sample."

Attendance is compelled, desired, wished for, hoped for, prayed for, wanted, needed, craved, pursued, our raison d'etre, our cause celebre, our hope, our interest, our dream, our goal, our one favor to ask. The audience will be smart, attractive and well-groomed. The show will be inspiring, compelling, interesting, and most importantly, hilarious. Plus the musical guest will give you a reason to nod your head in approval. All in all, a wonder to behold. 8pm TONIGHT.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Skip Ferland: "Got a second?"

(firm handshake) Hello. I'm Skip Ferland, Chief Executive Pitchman for the Mental State Department. I know you haven't got all day, so I'm going to give it to you straight.

What does everyone have? Problems. What does MSD do? We solve them. There, I just told you the entire idea. Now, let me step back and talk details.

Picture comedians, celebrities, rock stars. Oh, yeah and geniuses. Put them all on the same stage, in one night. Pack an audience with smart and sexy people. Get that audience drunk on liquor, make them laugh and think, play games and give them prizes. They have a damn good time, while the Mental State Department solves all their problems.

You're probably thinking "Smart and Sexy? Having a good time solving problems? Sounds ambitious." If that's what you're thinking, that we sound ambitious, it's only because we are ambitious. Mental State Department. Free Show. PSICKASS. Thursday June 9th. Beauty Bar. Will I see you there?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

How To Prepare For PSICKASS

Hey y'all. It's Betty, from Mental State Department Patronization Services. I heard y'all were plannin' on comin' down to the good ol' Beauty Bar on June 9th for that free PSICKASS show we're gonna be doin' at 8pm. Well y'all probably just got a ton of questions about PSICKASS and we realized it cuz we are smart as Dickens, so the Mental State Department Executive Committee sent yours truly, Betty Matewell, Chief Patronizing Officer of the Mental State Department, to explain to y'all just exactly how June 9th is gonna go, what y'all are gonna need and why y'all gotta come.

First off, y'all shouldn't come if you're dumb. This gives a lot of people some headaches, so I'm here to rub y'all's temples for a second: do y'all think y'all are dumb? Because if y'all think y'all are dumb, y'all are probably not going to have a very good time at this show. We're looking for smart people, people who can confidently walk past a sign that says "no low intelligence beyond this point" without having to pause to finish reading it.

Secondly, y'all need to wear your nice clothes. MSD events aren't black-tie, but everyone in MSD is wearing a black tie. It's like showing up to a tuxedo convention picnic in your shorts. Yeah, y'all can get into the picnic in shorts. But sugar y'all'll look awful next to all those tuxedo CEOs in their golf pants! So that's the first thing to know: people are going to be judging y'all for looking poorly-attended. Put some effort into it, for y'all's own sake.

Most importantly, y'all need to bring problems, because that's what MSD does is we solve problems and we make y'all laugh. I know, it seems weird to solicit smart and attractive people, and then ask them what's wrong with their lives. But we figure we don't want to solve problems like "I'm stupid," or "I'm ugly." The solution to both those problems is the same: buck up, kiddo. We want y'all's complex life situations, y'all's international human rights concerns, y'all's fearful perspectives on global trade.  If every one of y'all shows up with at least one problem, we will guarantee they will be solved. (This is not an actual guarantee your problems will be solved.)

Now I'm not here to blow the whole nacho on what we have in store for y'all. However, I'll just leave you with these two other helpful hints on how to enjoy your evening with our special guests and the Mental State Department Executive Committee.

  • TIP #1 - You never know what trivial details may be important to your evening's enjoyment.
  • TIP #2 - One of our contests will end in a tie. Be prepared.

Well, that's about it for me today, y'all. But I hope y'all have maybe learned a little bit about the Mental State Department, and about me, the CPO of the MSD, Betty Matewell. See y'all on the 9th!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Full Lineup For PSICKASS Announced

The full lineup of genius problem solvers and musical virtuosos for the June 9th PSICKASS Event at Beauty Bar has been announced. A Mental State Department press agent spoke this morning from a podium, high atop MSD headquarters in Langley, VA, delivering the details in an address to thousands of desperate morons gathered below. “Headlining the event is comedian Danny Norton. He’s known throughout the world as a dandy genius, and is sure to make everything right in the world. The musical guest for the evening is Iretsu, whose funky, soulful pop-rock will soothe the audience into blissful relaxation, possibly even causing spontaneous dancing to erupt. In addition, previously announced guests Whitney Streed and Phil Schallberger, both of whom are brilliant and clever public speakers, are going to be assisting Danny Norton in solving the problems of everyone who attends.”
The announcement was met with indifference, drooling and some fighting among the unintelligent masses in the crowd. The PSICKASS unveiling is not open to the poorly-educated, but MSD announcements are often delivered to anyone who camps on the lawn of headquarters.
Mental State Department scientists have been crafting a simple yet effective system intended to solve all problems. Dubbed “PSICKASS,” Problem Solving Initiative – Creating + Kindly Announcing Silly Solutions, the system has been mysteriously short on public details until recently, when an anonymous source at MSD revealed the date and time the MSD intend to make PSICKASS public.
The PSICKASS unveiling is scheduled at 8pm on June 9th at the Beauty Bar at SW 1st and Ash. The program is intended to solve all problems, and is free for anyone (age 21+) to attend. Mental State Department guidelines insist that no one who attends this event be stupid, dumb, or stupid-dumb.
After this morning’s announcement, MSD distributed the following flyer, intended to promote the show:
Questions? Comments? Please contact MSD directly at mentalstatecomedy at gmail dot com

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

More PSICKASS Details, Geniuses Revealed

Today the anonymous source responsible for the PSICKASS-leaks revealed more information about the program, including the names of two geniuses who will be participating in the free problem-solving event "Two local geniuses are already confirmed to be a part of the solution," the anonymous source said. "One is a gender-bending mender of rifts, the other a gangly boy-genius with a dark side. They're only half of the total solution, but Whitney Streed and Phil Schallberger are going to be in attendance, and that's not just a coincidence. Expect them to solve your problems hilariously, and promptly."

Internal leaks last week embarassed the Mental State Department into disclosing that the June 9th public unveiling of PSICKASS at Beauty Bar in Portland, OR intends to solve all attendee's problems. This revelation is complicated by the usual Mental State Department disrespect for low-intelligence people, as MSD has invited all people, except those of low intelligence, to attend this event and have their problems solved.

Mental State Department public events are typically not open to low-intelligence people. In the past, stupid people have gathered outside MSD Headquarters, begging for their jars to be opened, or their keys to be un-flushed. Eventually, an executive order from the President of Fun declared stupid people "a buzzkill," and commanded that the National Guard, "protect our better, brighter citizens from their moronic, brain-dead compatriots." Mental State Department Headquarters is in a secret location, but the lawns are lovely and free of dummies.

The PSICKASS unveiling is June 9th at 8pm at Beauty Bar, SW 1st and Ash. Free. Stupid people are not invited.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Leaked: MSD Unveiling PSICKASS


Today a Mental State Department spokesperson leaked to the press that the MSD Operations Division has perfected a solution to all problems, and will be hosting a live ceremony to reveal this system to the public. He invited the public to "Come and marvel at the previously-hidden power of the Mental State Department!" Problems will be solved in the order they are received, Thursday, June 9, at the Beauty Bar in Portland, Oregon (SW 1st and Ash) at 8pm. The production will be a two-hour affair, involving sketch-comedy, music and stand-up, and all attendees' problems will be solved, according to the anonymous source.

Speaking in a hushed tone, the source claimed "The system is foolproof! That is to say, fools could not use this system!" Fools are not invited to attend the revealing of the problem-solving system. MSD has a long history of denying low-intelligence people participation in their hilarious and entertaining comedy shows. "They've actually found a way to make life better for the smart than it is for the dumb," the source said. Mental State Department think-tank research has shown the dumb are more likely to smile during tragic events, feel less pressure in times of crisis, and benefit greatly in terms of health and stress level from the low expectations of the general population.

The system, entitled Problem Solving Initiative - Creating and Kindly Announcing Silly Solutions, or PSICKASS, is rumored to involve a contest among comedians for the favor of the crowd. The laboratory at MSD Operations Division recently experienced an explosion in the Fun Reactor, so experts in live comedy experiences predict June 9th's public meeting will also address the excess of fun coming from the Mental State Department.

The Mental State Department is an extra-governmental agency whose dual mandate is the laughter of crowds and the solving of problems. A public relations liaison for MSD responded to this leak of the date and time of the public unveiling by admitting the project is complete. "MSD is proud to announce a 100% effective program for formulating solutions to problems. This live event at the Beauty Bar will be the culmination of years of research as we unveil PSICKASS to the world. Any problem, large or small, can be solved simply by attending this free comedy and problem-solving event. The only thing we ask is that the morons please stay home this night. MSD does not have time for morons."

Expect more updates at the date approaches.

Mental State Department can be contacted at mentalstatecomedy at g mail dot com