Tiny Tavern is putting its funny where its mouth is. The revamped Whiteaker bar hosts frequent comedy open mics with Mac Chase at the helm, and now local comedian Isaac Paris has booked “Comics in Glasses: Entertaining the Masses,” featuring the comic prowess of Torontonian David Heti, an “offbeat genius” a la Woody Allen (with the mug of a blond Adrian Brody), and “nerdcore folk duo” The Doubleclicks, a Portland sister act that sings about Pride and Prejudice heartthrob Mr. Darcy, gaming and dinosaurs; The Doubleclicks also wrote the official theme song for everyone’s favorite politically incorrect card game: Cards Against Humanity. EW caught up with both Heti and The Doubleclicks’ Aubrey and Angela Webber before they hit the Whit March 7.
Tell me about your favorite geek pastimes as sisters growing up.
We were both introduced to geekdom at a young age, and that’s why we write the nerdy songs that we do. It’s just what we know! Some of our earliest memories include watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, and some of the first music we were ever given was a Weird Al mix CD from our geeky uncle.
What is your musical background?
We were very lucky to grow up in a musical family. We’ve both been playing music since before we could read — but it wasn’t until The Doubleclicks that we started writing our own songs. In 2009 we wrote our first songs — we realized it was something we could do pretty easily and it was fun. It seemed natural to incorporate the nerdy stuff that we love with the music, and once we started playing out, we realized that there were a lot of nerds who liked to listen. We’ve not had a normal day since.
Thank you for writing the song “The Guy Who Yelled Freebird” on your albums Lasers and Feelings. How did this song come about?
You would think that being a nerdy folk band in the Pacific Northwest would save us from people yelling “Freebird” at our shows — but it doesn’t. Growing up in a musical family, we have heard that “joke” for literally decades so we wanted to do something about it.
How did you end up writing the theme song for Cards Against Humanity? Tell me about that process.
We met the Cards Against Humanity guys through a mutual friend, and they asked us to write a theme song for a show at PAX [a gaming festival in Seattle] a few years ago. It was a really fun challenge, and we love the game, so we had a great time.
It seems like The Doubleclicks would be perfect for Portlandia? Have you been approached by the show?
We’ve not been approached, but that would be fun.
How will your next album, Dimetrodon, be different from your past albums? Is the dimetrodon your favorite dinosaur?
Dimetrodon was funded by our Kickstarter, and we owe a lot of thanks to our fans for their support of the album. It will be our first record produced by the amazing musician and comedy producer Mike Phirman, and many of the tracks will come from last year’s Weekly Song Wednesday project. We are working hard on it now and it should be out in the next few months. “Dimetrodon” is the title track, and it’s named after a prehistoric creature, which is not actually a dinosaur [EW’s bad on this one; although a dimetrodon superficially looks like a dino, it is a synapsid from the Early Permian era], but is really awesome, and we encourage everyone to check out its Wikipedia page. Learning is fun.
You have a degree in philosophy and two degrees in law. Why aren’t you practicing law?
Basically what happened is I did my first year of lawyering with the Department of Justice in Canada. I was a litigator for the federal government. Somebody I worked with saw my sets online and didn’t like what I was saying. I kind of lost my job a little bit …
It was disgusting. They knew I did stand up when they hired me. Then they said, “You have to agree to not do a certain type of material or we can let you go at any moment.” I was miserable as a person when I was a lawyer.
Your favorite comedians are Woody Allen and Rodney Dangerfield. You’ve been compared a lot to Woody Allen. That must feel good? Or maybe not with the new-old controversy surrounding him …
You don’t want to be thought of as derivative. Woody Allen is one of the greatest humorists of the 21st century. But it would be nice to be a comedian unto oneself. I’m one that thinks you have to separate one from the art … and I’ve never done whatever he’s alleged to have done.
In an interview with schlemielintheory.com, you said, “I believe that I’m much happier than most other comics to leave the audience feeling uncomfortable.” What’s the value in leaving the audience feeling uncomfortable?
First of all, it’s funny to me. It’s funny because a simple laugh you don’t remember so well. I think because I like the challenge of it. I like to make people sort of rethink their worlds. To be able to play with the gravest subject matter … kind of poke them at their softest place and still have them enjoy it — it’s a way of being comfortable with discomfort.
You got into some hot water with a rape joke. What’s your stance on rape jokes?
I think that any joke that’s done well and in good will is wonderful. There’s nothing in life that should be out of bounds in art … You don’t want someone’s life to be represented ever? Everyone has sadness. Why is one person’s sadness more horrific than another?
Who do you think are some of the biggest innovators in comedy right now?
I love Maria Bamford. She’s amazing. She’s so audacious and intelligent. There’s this guy in New York that not many people know of — Joe Pera. He’s beautiful to watch. I like Henry Phillips — he does music comedy in a way that’s funnier than anyone else.
David Heti and The Doubleclicks perform 7 pm Friday, March 7, at Tiny Tavern; $5 suggested donation. Local comedians Isaac Paris, Gina Ginsberg, Mac Chase, Lucy Glass and Alex Adney open. Heti will also perform 9 pm Saturday, March 8, at Cush Café, 1235 Railroad Blvd. Q&A has been edited for length and clairty.