There’s a lot of angst about Seattle’s growing tech sector these days, with people blaming it for everything from rising rents to congested streets. But comedian Bridget Quigg has found plenty of absurdities in what she calls "Techlandia."
That's the title of her one-woman comedy show, which she's performing at Seattle's Theater Schmeater this week.
Quigg says she started noticing funny quirks about tech culture on her first day at a startup called Healthtalk.com more than a decade ago. She lovingly describes her boss there as a "complete geek."
"He had a shirt at the time back in 2004 that said, 'I’m blogging this,'" she said. "And we’re like, 'What’s blogging?'"
That wasn't the only thing she found a bit bizarre. He also guzzled cans of warm extra-caffeinated soda all day and even used caffeinated soap.
She’s paid close attention to social dynamics in her years working in tech and brings those to life in her show by giving a tour of a fictional software startup. The character she embodies as she gives the tour is a chipper, cheerleader type named Brenna.
"I’m a recruiter, slash talent-attracting-tornado, slash LinkedIn ninja, slash messiah-of-make-them-say-yes," Brenna tells the audience.
Beef Jerky, But No HR?
Brenna informs us that she’s "paleo," which is why the company stocks 100 percent protein bars and three different kinds of beef jerky.
The kitchen is high priority but not so much other parts of the company. Human resources, for example, is just tacked onto the finance department.
Instead, they have Bob, head of finance.
"We just put him through a how-to-listen course, and I think he’s doing a great job," Quigg tells the audience.
Quigg also pokes fun at how techies often create their own job titles with pretty bombastic language.
"Words like innovation and evangelist and minister and messiah and guru, ninja, they’re all out there, and it’s just funny," she said.
Quigg does highlight uncomfortable truths about greed, overwork and non-techies getting squeezed out of Seattle. For example, she sings one song from the perspective of an outsider enviously looking in on the tech world.
"If I worked in tech, I'd hire someone to clean my apartment so I could spend more time playing video games," she sings in her song `If I Worked In Tech.' "If I worked in tech, I'd ride Uber everywhere and own multiple Patagonia jackets."
Quigg was born in Aberdeen, grew up in Olympia and has lived much of her adult life in Seattle. She said she's sad to see people leaving the city because they can't afford to live here.
"It changes your city a lot when all you have is people who can afford $2,000 a month and up, and there's a lot of people who can't," she said. "I do point that out because it bothers me. I wouldn't say I'm much of a social activist necessarily, but I think comedy essentially is a form of social activism and commentary on reality."