Courtenay Hameister is an essayist, columnist, playwright, and filmmaker. For the last twelve years, she’s been the head writer, lead commentator and co-producer of Live Wire, a radio variety show based in Portland, Oregon that airs weekly on over 65 NPR affiliates around the country.
In her nine years hosting the show, she interviewed and performed in sketches with over 500 guests, including Chuck Palahniuk, Tig Notaro, Gus Van Sant, Cheryl Strayed, Daniel Handler, Sherman Alexie, John Hodgman, Lynda Barry, Jennifer Egan and…approximately 491 others.
She has lead teams of up to six comedy writers and contributed to and edited thousands of sketches, essays and rants from writers like Merrill Markoe (David Letterman), Lauren Weedman (Hung), Steve Almond (Candyfreak), Daniel H. Wilson (Robopocalypse) and Chelsea Cain (the Heartsick series).
She has taught humor classes for Pacific University’s low-residency MFA program, Oregon Humanities, PHAME academy, Caldera and Portland Center Stage, where she also hosts pre-show social hours.
Courtenay has co-written and co-produced nine short films, including Tooth and Nail, which won Best 48 Hour Film of 2006 and went on to screen at the Cannes Film Festival. Her directorial debut, Stella’s Flight, premiered at the 2012 Portland Women’s Film Festival and won the Audience Award for Best Short Film.
Her writing has appeared in More magazine, McSweeney’s, Portland Monthly, Oregon Humanities Magazine and in the anthology What Was I Thinking? 58 Bad Boyfriend Stories from St. Martin’s Press.
Her weekly column, The Reluctant Adventurer, debuted on GoLocalPDX in August of 2014. Additionally, she co-writes a sex and relationship column called The Scarlet Letters on the same site, and has a blog, simply titled Wisenheimer.
You can also hear Courtenay’s work on NPR’s Marketplace and as an occasional commentator on Oregon Public Broadcasting, for which she won the “Best Commentary” statue from the Oregon Associated Press in 2009. Well, it wasn’t a statue so much as a plaque. Really, it was just a very thick piece of paper. But she origami’d it into a statue on stage while the band tried to play her off. It was awkward.