Longtime Clark County resident who was a broadcast journalist for decades is now sharing his thoughts as a hobby as a standup comedian
Carl Click spent most of his professional life in the public eye, with live reports or on the anchor desk at a Portland news station.
He is used to delivering in front of people.
Long after his retirement from broadcast news — he worked for 31 years at KGW and then KATU — Click is still getting in front of people, talking, and delivering. Just in a completely different medium.
Carl Click the newsman is now Clark Click the comedian.
“It’s a hobby for me. It’s something I enjoy doing. It’s very fun, very creative. It’s a way to keep the creative juices flowing,” Click said. “But it is a hobby only.”
Click grew up in Vancouver, raised his family in Clark County, and, after he retired from broadcast news, became a head coach in high school basketball in Vancouver. Multi-talented, for sure.
A few years back, he and his wife retired to Central Oregon. But he is in the Vancouver-Portland area often. Like next week, when he will be part of a comedy show in Portland at The Revolution Hall Show Bar.
He might be doing this as a hobby, but the folks he is working with are the real deal, genuine comics who make a living making people laugh.
Carl Click and Friends Comedy Night is Feb. 9. Click will be joined by Susan Rice, who began her comedy career in 1983 and has toured all over the country. Also on stage that night will be Don Gavitte, a Portland-based comedian who was a teacher before trying comedy when he turned 50. Now Gavitte works at some of the famous comedy clubs in New York City.
Click got his original start in comedy in the 1990s.
“We did a lot of public speaking as part of our job,” he recalled, hosting events and auctions.
He developed a style, sharing funny stories from his job and life, in general. He started putting those stories together into a more formal standup comedy routine.
One night, he went to a Portland comedy show, just as a customer. The manager there recognized him from his TV work and they started a conversation.
“Do you ever let people just try it?” Click asked. “He let me try. I didn’t know about open mikes or agents. I had a small relationship with the manager.”
It was a start. But the hobby was put on pause.
His work schedule changed. He ended up being the morning anchor, waking up at some ungodly hour in order to be on the air by 4:30 or 5 in the morning. Can’t really work the stage until midnight and get to work that early.
Years later, after retirement, and living in Bend, he gave it another shot.
He started working open mikes in the Bend area.
“Getting my feet back underneath me, being on stage and performing,” he described.
He found out what worked, what didn’t, and he kept editing his work.
“Standup comedy is two parts. Performance and presence on stage, timing. The rest of it is writing. It’s an extension of being a writer. It’s a different way of writing. But it fuels that creative writing that I did as a journalist for so many years. Words are important, what order they go, so people understand the premise, and they get the punch line.”
Producers of comedy shows noticed him, and he started getting gigs, opening for other comics. He did a few shows in the Portland and Salem areas, too. He even had one gig booked in Clark County — his hometown — but that was one of the first canceled shows during the pandemic in 2020.
Back at it after the pandemic, Click continued to hone his skills.
A few months ago, Click crushed it at one of his biggest shows. The Tower Theatre in Bend was hosting Brad Upton, a nationally known comedian, and Click was an opener.
“That was really, really exhilarating. I was not at a small club or tavern that seats 30, 40 people. This was opening for a real touring comedian, with 500 people in the theater,” Click recalled.
Two shows, in fact.
“I did 500 people twice. These people know why they are there. They’re there for Brad Upton. As an opener, I better not ruin the show. They were laughing. That was stunning. It was a great atmosphere, huge crowd. They enjoyed it. I did my job,” Click said.
Click said his routine covers a lot of ground, but not a whole bunch regarding his time as a broadcast journalist.
“I talk about my failed football career. Pickleball these days, because that’s what people my generation do and are obsessed,” he said. “Only a tiny bit about my career because people don’t care.”
He does have a bit about his time as a substitute teacher, laughing at making $15 an hour but then needing to give $150 to his therapist after a day of substitute teaching.
Click describes his routine as PG-13. He prides himself on not swearing too much. But there are days he uses a bit that includes one big, bad word. Because he does not swear much, it does have shock value.
“Performing and writing comedy is an artform and a skill. It’s too easy to get a laugh by saying bad words,” he explained.
He also brings his guitar with him to the stage, for some fun songs.
“I’m not a great guitar player. I can barely play it. I’m not a great singer, which is fine. It’s supposed to be funny,” he said.
Carl Click and Friends will be bringing the funny on Feb. 9 at the Revolution Hall Show Bar, 1300 SE Stark in Portland. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 online or $17 at the door. Online tickets and can be purchased here: https://event.etix.com/ticket/online/performanceSale.do?performance_id=70465671&method=restoreToken
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