PHOTO PROVIDED - Rutledge

CRESWELL – The first of its kind, Blue Valley Bistro will host its first Stand-up Comedian Night on Wednesday, May 11, featuring career road comedian Gabriel Rutledge and guest Dianna Potter, a Portland-area comic.

After seeing his videos on TikTok, BVB owner Seth Clark sought out Rutledge’s tour schedule – at first out of personal interest. 

“I was willing to travel to go see him perform – I just think he’s hilarious – and was just checking out where he was touring in Oregon,” Clark said. “Then I noticed he was performing in some small venues outside of Salem. I thought, ‘shoot, maybe he’ll perform at my coffee shop.’”

It didn’t take much convincing before Rutledge added Creswell to his list of tour stops, sandwiched between performances in Kirkland, Wash. and Cave Junction, Ore. After all, as a career “road comedian,” Rutledge performs over 200 shows a year.

“In Washington and Oregon especially, if you name almost any tiny town, I’ve probably been there in the last 20 years,” Rutledge told The Chronicle last week while touring in Las Vegas. He recalls playing in Cottage Grove and in Springfield before the pandemic, and is pleased to be adding Creswell to the list. 

As far as comedy creds go, the 48-year-old Olympia, Wash. native is a past winner of the Seattle International Comedy Competition and The Laughing Skull Comedy Festival in Atlanta. He has made TV appearances on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham,” Nickelodeon’s “Nickman Night Out,” “Laughs” on FOX, and “Inside Joke with Asif Ali” on Amazon Prime. He has also performed for the HBO Comedy Festival in Las Vegas. His fifth album, “Good Luck in Court” debuted #1 on iTunes comedy charts. 

Rutledge said that he grabs comedic inspiration from his personal life, of which there is plenty of material to splice through.

“When I first started, I thought I was going to sort of talk about society – maybe speak a little truth or power. And then it turned out I wasn’t very good at that.” Rutledge said. “So now it’s mostly autobiographical, stuff about my life – my wife, my kids, much more relatable things.” 

He says viewing his world through a comedic lens is “a fun way to grow through life ... there’s a mental health aspect to looking at every situation and thinking, ‘what’s funny about this?’” 

If you snoozed on the presale tickets, you’re out of luck; all 50 seats sold out quickly, Clark said. 

It’s not much of a surprise the venue has sold out; Rutledge said that, after a rough two years in a pandemic, people are ready to get out and see concerts and shows. 

“There is that feeling of ‘this was fun before, but we took it for granted.’ Now we’re back, so let’s have a good time,” Rutledge said.