Originally published November 2011. Emmett Montgomery followed a typical path to comedy fame: Leave Utah for Bellingham. Suffer severe loneliness. Resort to making paper-bag puppets. Move to Seattle and manage a Hollywood Video. Do stand-up on the side dressed as a unicorn. Cofound the People’s Republic of Komedy and become the “mommy the lost boys of Seattle comedy always wanted,” to quote his Komedy colleague Barbara Holm.
For the past decade Montgomery, whose mustache precedes him, has delighted in what’s zany about the Emerald City—so much so that he’s created a monthly variety show for Annex Theatre called, simply, Weird and Awesome with Emmett Montgomery. “I like stuff that scares and excites the imagination,” he said. The 90-minute show ventures from traditional stand-up to a parade of robots, puppets, and cartoon monsters. “It’s different every time. It’s nice to have a show where I can kind of push the limits. It’s the best thing I can do right now.”
Why do people insist that
Seattle isn’t funny?
Nobody’s ever told me that—but they probably wouldn’t tell me that to my face. I think all the elements are here for unique, creative stuff. This is a literate city, so there’s a fair amount of weirdness, bitter weirdness… The sky doesn’t exist for nine months of the year, so it causes people to retreat into things like booze and good food and dark corners, which is where comedy tends to happen. I think any city with a high suicide rate is going to have a really good comedy scene. I’d say they’re both acts of desperation.
What’s the future of Seattle comedy?
I firmly believe there will be a sketch boom soon, a lot like there was five years ago for stand-up. Sketch group the Habit is back, and SketchFest is talking about having a year-round presence. And I see a lot of young, hungry minds making wonderful things.… There are pockets of wonder hidden in this gray and despair.
What local comedians make you laugh?
David Crowe is one of the most intelligent and funny comics around. Also Rylee Newton, Kermet Apio—I’ve never seen him not be funny—and John Keister. I really like Mike Drucker, who’s written for SNL and The Onion and is here to work for Nintendo. We are losing a bunch of comedians, [people] moving to LA and New York, but I think that’s good. We’re exporting a good product.
Most importantly: How do you keep such a sleek ’stache? Any advice for people growing facial hair for Movember?
I’d just tell people to cut off the parts of your facial hair you don’t like and keep the other parts, and then wait. And have a lot of Viking DNA.
Weird and Awesome with Emmett Montgomery is Nov 6 at Annex Theatre, and the first Sunday of every month. Read on for more reasons why Seattle is funny.