The Last Show: Rory Scovel at Mississippi Studios in Portland

Photo Credit: Mandee Johnson

Editor’s Note: Welcome to The Last Show, a new Vanyaland series where we talk to performers about their last traditional live appearance before the pandemic hit. As we slowly make our way out of this mess, and a return to stages appears to be coming (eventually), here are the stories of bands, artists, comedians and others who performed their last live gig in front of an audience around this time last year. These are their shows, their stories, their memories.

Rory Scovel [Los Angeles, California]

When and where was your last show before the pandemic?

Portland, Oregon at Mississippi Studios on Tuesday, March 10.


Who else was on the bill?

Damonde Tschritter and Nick Youssef.

What was notable about the show?


We were touring around following the band Tool. We played all the same cities as them so that we could see their concerts. The guitarist Adam Jones had come out to see the show that night. Also Patterson Hood from Drive-By Truckers was there with his wife. I would say the notable thing would be having artists I really respect in the crowd getting to show them what it is that I do.

What do you remember the most about the show?

Having a really fun set. My hour was in a place that I loved so much and was ready to shoot it for my next special.

If someone told you live comedy would be going away for at least the next year, what would you have thought?


Pre-pandemic me would have probably felt some sort of curiosity in what that would feel like. Curious to know what it’s like to go a year without the thing you basically did all the time for 16 years. I’m really grateful to have learned all over again how lucky I am to be able to do this for a living. Not just to earn money but to balance myself out psychologically. There is a therapy to it in a way. Just publicly speaking and performing. The drug of doing standup is real and it’s a very painful one to have to get off of cold turkey. My gratitude for what I have been lucky to have in my life has shifted tremendously.

If someone told you live comedy would be going away for at least the next year, what would you have done differently?

I don’t know, really. Standup comedy isn’t really a job you retire from or ever truly say goodbye to. Psychologically I don’t think I could have done anything to feel better or different about losing standup. I do wish I would have shot that special early in the year though. That’s the one thing I would have done differently, for sure.

What do you have coming up or coming out?


I’m in a show with Rose Byrne called Physical that comes out on AppleTV+ this summer.

I also made a documentary with Scott Moran about improvising standup shows called Live Without Fear. It comes out this year, very soon in fact. Also a brand new fully improvised standup (from the doc) album with the label 800 lb. Gorilla that comes out in a couple months also. Also titled Live Without Fear.

Follow Rory Scovel on Instagram @roryscovel.