emmettmontgomerybirdhead.jpg
Montgomery's the most lovable comic in a flawed but compelling time capsule.
The Dinner: Burger and Steak Sandwich at the Madrona Eatery & Alehouse ,

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Seattle Komedy Dokumentary Is Flawed But Likable. So Is Madrona Alehouse.

emmettmontgomerybirdhead.jpg
Montgomery's the most lovable comic in a flawed but compelling time capsule.
The Dinner: Burger and Steak Sandwich at the Madrona Eatery & Alehouse, 1138 34th Ave.

The Movie: Seattle Komedy Dokumentary at Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave.

The Screenplate: It could be argued that both Madrona Eatery & Alehouse and Seattle's stand-up comedy scene think too highly of themselves. That doesn't make either unlikable, just a little annoying.

But, then, all stand-up comedy is a little annoying, as is any "alehouse" with a play area for kids. That said, the Madrona Alehouse's play area has been part of the fabric of this cozy neighborhood gathering spot since it opened, and has therefore been seamlessly integrated into the space, whereas down the street at the Montlake Alehouse (nee Grady's), their "kid pit" evicted a pool table. Not cool.

Madrona, once ground zero for Seattle's Black Panther movement, is now whiter than it's ever been and spectacularly affluent. Maybe this is why the Alehouse & Eatery feels as though it can charge in the mid-teens for most of its entrees, and the low teens for a damn burger. Speaking of that damn burger, it was merely okay, as was the damn steak sandwich and the damn service at the bar, which features a fine selection of rotating taps.

But I'll be damned if the place isn't damn likable anyway. It's the neighborhood's living room, a place for people to bump into the family three doors down that they haven't caught up with in awhile. I don't care if they charge $50 for a Big Mac knockoff, there's enough value in that to overcome almost anything. Almost.

Seattle Komedy Dokumentary is more likable than the Madrona Alehouse, namely due to a couple hirsute, thirtysomething comics, Emmett Montgomery and Kevin Hyder, who've remained true to the Seattle comedy scene as their People's Republic of Komedy peers, like so many before them, have fled for the Apple and LA-LA LAnd. Hyder, for one, has planted his flag firmly on Emerald City soil. If the alt-comedy scene ever rises beyond the high of the mid-aught-naughts, he'll be at the top of the flagpole. If it sinks, he'll be at the bottom of its grave. Shrewd career move or not, you've got to admire his commitment. Big time.

The documentary, helmed by Clint Berquist, is basically a love letter to PROK. That's not the problem: PROK deserves such a love letter. The problem is it's at least 20 minutes too long, is structured far too monotonously (interviews and bits, interviews and bits), and dwells too much on certain topics--although its endless dwelling on how crappy Giggles was is sort of hilarious. The opening sequence, however, is mega-stupid. The Face Off sequences, on the other hand, are fucking genius.

There are so many comics featured that you're barely able to empathize with the six-man core: Hyder, Montgomery, Scott Moran, Daniel Carroll, Derek Sheen and David Cope (another flaw: not enough Solomon Georgio and Andy Haynes, the funniest of the bunch). Cope's a puffy-lipped dope who rips off Tom Green's elocutionary tactics and high-tails it for NYC (he's from Portland, though, so we'll spot him a few strokes), but the other dudes you totally end up wanting to drink--a lot--with. If comics and musicians, as James McMurtry once noted, are ostensibly all beer salesmen, then these guys have plenty to be proud of. And even if that analogy isn't 100 percent true, they've got plenty to be proud of anyway.

Seattle Komedy Dokumentary is available for free downloading at www.seattlekomedydokumentary.com.

 
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