😆 It’s a weird, long story with Megan Gazzo

It’s Wednesday. 

Which means it’s time to get weird.

By now you should know the drill — each Wednesday, in collaboration with Weird Portland United, we celebrate our city’s weirdness and weirdos.

You can find our archive of Weird Wednesdays right here. Read our interviews with folks like The Unipiper and get an in-depth look at the Woodstock Mystery Hole and so much more.

For today’s Weird Wednesday, I’m going to need you to bring a ton of water, a microphone with a very long cord, one awkward stool to perch on, and a sense of humor — we sat down with local comedian and podcaster Megan Gazzo about her story-telling standup series Long Story Short.

Megan is also buddies with one of our WW alum: Winnie McDonald and Skeeter — you can read that interview here.

Everyone all set? Alright, lights up, let’s get crackin’.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and Long Story Short. How does it add to Portland’s weirdness?
Hi there! My name is Megan Gazzo and I am a comedian and designer. I have always found comedy as one of the greatest bridges to connect people together of all ages and backgrounds. Making people laugh fills the deepest part of my purpose here on this planet. I also own and operate an ‘80s and ‘90s aesthetic new retro athleisure line called @gazzybygazzo.

How the show works is I pick a theme, and I encourage folks to sign up ahead of time or at the show to share their story that is on theme. I think everyone has a story to share so long as you have a beating heart in your chest. Long Story Short adds to Portland’s weirdness by giving folks an opportunity to air out some stories about their lives that are embarrassing, weird, or perhaps maybe they have never even told anyone. We pledge to have a non judgmental zone that creates a safe space for people to connect by sharing stories and ultimately, being able to find some levity or moral no matter what the tale may be. I call Long Story Short a comedic night of story sharing because life is funny — always — somehow.

How long have you been hosting Long Story Short here in Portland, and what sparked your initial interest?
This will be my third year hosting Long Story Short. It started out in this beautiful room that is a wing in Revolution Hall called The Sun room. The space wasn’t being used for anything, and resembles a warm, inviting library-like setting. It was donation-only based and people would pack that place out. Most nights there would be tons of people standing in the back in addition to the chairs. Then I recently moved the show to the Alberta Street Pub which is such a lovely venue with lovely people. I am really hyped to have it there.

What initially sparked my interest to start the show were podcast storytelling shows such as Hot Mic with Dan Savage and The Moth. I am in the process of offering my show as a podcast as well. I was also sparked to start this show because storytelling is one of the oldest forms of human connection. It was the way people grew and learned from their elders and passed on knowledge. I think it is important for us to carry on this oral tradition and keep it alive. When we leave this earth, we have shared a piece of ourselves with so many people and we can live on through others sharing our stories.

What does contributing to the wonderful weirdness of Portland mean to you?
Contributing to the wonderful weirdness of Portland to me means being unapologetically yourself — without causing harm or being disrespectful to people, of course. It means being OK with you and all that you are, even the parts of us that we want to often deny in forms of shame, or guilt or any of those emotions that prevent us from fully accepting all that we are.

I think of comedy and story sharing as a tool to transmute pieces of ourselves that we may be ashamed of into levity or hope or lessons learned. I have always said and in my head I have always said it in a southern mama’s accent, “There is a blessing in every lesson.” I think the opposite of weirdness is conformity — and with conformity comes suppression and denial and all sorts of behaviors that don’t allow us to embody all of the human-ness that we are. We are human, we make LOADS of mistakes, and that is OK. Let’s embrace it.

Where can folks find you online, and do you have any upcoming events, news, things you want to shout out?
Yes! Please follow me on Instragram @longstoryshortstories for updates on my storytelling shows. Come to Alberta Street Pub — I perform there once a month every third Sunday and sometimes that switches so just keep an eye on it. You can come and just listen and enjoy, or if you feel called to share a story that is amazing as well. You can DM me or you can buy tickets on their website. Bring your friends. I also do a comedy trivia night at the Mississippi Pizza Pub in the Atlantis Lounge.

Thank you to our Bridgeliner Unabridged members. Stories like these are made possible with your membership and support.