On Saturday, August 19, some of the Pacific Northwest's funniest people will take the stage at the Egyptian Theatre as part of The Stranger's Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy showcase. Emmett Montgomery! Dewa Dorje! Derek Sheen! Alyssa Yeoman! Natalie Holt! And those are just the Seattle folks performing! We're also bringing up Portland's Arlo Weierhauser, Kate Murphy, Steven Wilber, and Jamie Carbone, and the evening will be hosted by Nariko Ott, winner of Portland's Funniest Person contest in 2016 and writer for The Hard Times

It's going to be very funny! This week, ahead of the show, let's get to know the Seattle comics. Say hello to Emmett Montgomery! Montgomery produces and hosts the popular Joketellers Union every second and fourth Wednesday at the Clock-Out Lounge alongside Brett Hamil. He was also voted Seattle's Best Comic in 2015 2017, and 2018 by Seattle Weekly readers. (It's not that he was less funny in 2016, it just wasn't a category that year.) In a couple of weeks, he's launching a new late-night comedy show called Friendship Dungeon with fellow Undisputable Genius Derek Sheen—read on to learn more. It's gonna be weird.

How does it feel to be declared an Undisputable Genius of Comedy? 

I have been called a lot of things over the two decades that I have been doing dumb stuff on stage in this town and "undisputable genius" is one of the better ones. It is always nice to get recognition, but it is almost even better to see people I love both on and off the stage being celebrated. I have had the joy of working with most of this lineup, and am very excited about the two Portland comedians who I haven't gotten to enjoy yet.

The show is at the Egyptian, which is rumored to be haunted. Do you believe in ghosts?

I think that the Pike/Pine corridor is one of the most haunted in the city for me. I had a lot of adventures in that neighborhood when I first stumbled into Seattle from Utah at the beginning of the century, and it is full of echoes of the idiot I used to be when I was figuring out how to human. There are a lot of great places here now, but it is hard for me not to miss the chaos of Capitol Hill nightlife in the 00s, and it means a lot that the Egyptian is still around in all of its spooky glory. I have had a great time sitting in the audience, and I am thrilled to be able to get to take its stage and return the favor.

I feel like Seattle’s comedy scene has gotten stronger in recent years. There are new(ish) venues—Comedy/Bar opened earlier this year on Capitol Hill and Here-After has been open for about a year and a half now, hosting both local and touring comics. Do you agree?

As Seattle's unofficial comedy grandpa, I have seen a lot of ups and downs and I am really happy with what is happening right now. There are some truly brilliant folks finding their voices and the scene is currently diverse and wild and comic-driven and I love it. We have lost a lot of stages over the years, but I have hope in the ones that have stuck around and the new dreamers who have been brave enough to start something new. But I think it is important to say that there have always been at least a handful of amazing folks doing important and beautiful work here, and a lot of performers and projects have started here and went on to have national impact. I am very excited to see what this current generation brings.

Where is your favorite place to see comedy in Seattle right now?

The Comedy Nest at the Rendezvous on Tuesdays is one of my favorite places to go to see emerging talent. I think Dan Hurwitz and Kayla Brown's the Disabled List at NWFF, a showcase of comics with various disabilities, is one of the funniest and rowdiest and most important shows in Seattle. I have high hopes for Comedy/Bar (check out the monthly Pun Slam that Forest Ember hosts), and I am very proud of what Brett Hamil and I have built with Joketellers Union at Clock-Out Lounge—we have an amazing community of audience members and we are blessed with a great talent pool to draw from.

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A few weeks ago you posted on Instagram about finding a “freshly manifested” hole in the sidewalk in your neighborhood. I have to know: Did you stick your finger in it?

I did not stick my finger in it, even though a lot of people urged me to. I did visit it yesterday and it has gotten noticeably larger and I am worried that someone is feeding it...

Later this month you and fellow Undisputed Genius of Comedy Derek Sheen are launching a new monthly comedy night called Friendship Dungeon at Comedy/Bar. Can you tell us more about that? I read there might be puppets!

Derek and I want to create a pocket of benign strangeness. This used to be a town full of some really amazing late-night nonsense and we wanted to bring that back. We are taking a leap of faith that there are people in this city willing to push their bedtime back a bit to spend some time with us for late-night weirdo fun, but we have had a lot of excitement about it. We are asking some of our favorite locals to come be their weirdest and creating a space for traveling performers to do fun things. Derek and I are going shopping for wizard robes next week, and although I can't guarantee puppets every time, I am in talks with some truly exceptional weirdos. I think if people knew how many clowns and other types of fun monsters lived in Seattle they would be happily unnerved. 

Read our interviews with other Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy Natalie HoltDerek Sheen, Alyssa Yeoman, and Dewa Dorje. And get your tickets to the show here!