The Tragedies are a sketch comedy troupe performing in Portland, OR. We perform sketch-comedy and just plain old theatrical comedy about four times a year in various locations. More details and related nodes on the way. The following is the fictional backstory of the real-life ensemble just to give you a flavor of our low-brow, strangely up-beat yet curiously Satanic qualities (and yes, its Tommy Johnson, not Robert Johnson and no-relation between them, who made the deal with the Devil)...

"The truth. Politicians skirt it, corporations abuse it, and everyone you meet is an “expert”. So, with that said, I can certainly appreciate the apprehensive stance you may take after reading the following tale. All I can do is hope that you will look at the proof, it exists! It has become my obsession to uncover the truth behind comedy’s enigmatic children, The Tragedies:

In 1920 a small band of traveling performers met in a bar in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Their paths had all crossed and brought them to the “Salty Dog”, where each was hiding from their own personal demons. Some used the bottle, and others the stage, but they were all equally haunted by their sordid pasts. It was in this bar that they decided to join together and improve their profitability. So the newly formed performing troupe traveled the south giving shows in brothels and rundown penny arcades. Life was lean for our friends for the next few years until fate intervened in the most bizarre of circumstances.

It was in 1925, that our troupe found themselves in Clarksdale, Mississippi. One lonely night, while waiting for a bus that would take them to new venues something truly unbelievable happened. Standing on the opposite corner of the crossroads was a young blues guitarist named Tommy Johnson. He paced and waited, strumming out crude tunes and mumbling incoherently. As the time moved to midnight, a tall black figure moved graciously towards young Tommy. The figure picked up Tommy’s guitar, tuned it, and then played a few notes. Strange lights and sounds emanated form the guitar and shot out in every direction. Our troupe stood, mouths agape, until they were knocked over by the sheer force of the dark magic in the night. When they came to, each had a pair of tire tracks across their bodies, and a greyhound bus was on fire 100 yards away. Tommy Johnson just stood and played.

The Ol’ Scratch magic had delivered its promise to Tommy Johnson, and given an accidental gift to our intrepid troupe. As they stood up and dusted off their clothes, each realized in turn that they had in fact been run over and survived. That Black Magic had condemned them to an eternity of performing their vaudeville comedy show. They decided that they should be named The Tragedies, for their tale was one of heavy burden.

I have tracked them down to Portland, Oregon, where they are performing regularly. Where they have been over the last 75 years is largely a mystery. This site hopes to fill the gaps, as I piece together the truth behind The Tragedies."

Robert J. Oliworth – Finder of truth and sole archivist of The Tragedies

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