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But Seriously, Folks

Five local comics tell all.

Name, age, day job:

Greg Baumhauer, 27 years old, student/drag-queen waiter.

How long have you been doing comedy?

What's so funny? How about (from left) Greg 
Baumhauer, Donna Ayers, Andrew Orvedahl, Matt 
Conty and Jake Sharon.
Anthony Camera
What's so funny? How about (from left) Greg Baumhauer, Donna Ayers, Andrew Orvedahl, Matt Conty and Jake Sharon.

Ten months.

What was your best time on stage?

It's a tie. I did the "Bobo and Blue Show" at Comedy Works a few times and that was a blast, and I also did a contest at Catacombs in Boulder. The sound wasn't working, so we had to do the show a capella. It was a crowded, tiny room that was jam-packed with people, and me and two of my friends all tied for first so we did a joke-off, which went into triple overtime. I didn't win, but it was awesome doing the 8 Mile comedy battle. Although the best story I have is when I did a show in Elizabeth at this place that was a bar/restaurant/bookstore/laundromat. I walked in and saw at least fifty cowboy hats, and it wasn't a gay bar, so I was little worried. I'm there for no more than five minutes, and I feel a penny hit me in the back. I turn around and I see a cowboy flipping me off and shouting "fuck you!" The show hadn't even started yet. Now I'm convinced that I'm going to get my ass kicked by this guy because I have to call him out on stage, but luckily for me he left right before I got on.

Worst?

Another tie. The first was when I opened up for the Bag Lady and Tampon Man in a redneck bar in Evergreen (I don't think I need to explain anything there), and when I did another contest in Boulder and some asshole kept yelling through my entire set. He didn't stop, and the worst thing was, he wasn't even yelling actual words, he was just making noise and no matter how many times I'd shut him down he just kept yelling. If that guy is reading this article, I just want to say that I hope you get the worst case of genital warts ever.

Largest audience you've performed in front of?

Anywhere from 200 to 300 people -- whatever the Comedy Works' maximum capacity is.

Favorite comedians:

Bill Hicks, Richard Pryor, Chris Rock and Troy Baxley.

What do you think of the Denver scene?

I really like the Denver scene; I've found it to be pretty accessible. I think it's a great place to start out and develop your craft. You've got a good mix of people in Denver, from the urbanites to the cowboy types, so you get to see how your stuff will do with different audiences. I also think that there's a lot of talented people here, and I get to learn a lot by watching and talking with them, but at the same time there aren't too many comics here like in New York or L.A., so you don't get lost in the shuffle. It also doesn't hurt having one of the best comedy clubs in the country here.

Why do you do comedy?

My goal as a comedian is to master my craft and to make a living at this so I never have to wake up early again -- unless it's for court. I don't really care about becoming a big movie star or anything like that, although I'd love to take over for Jon Stewart when he leaves The Daily Show.

What question should I have asked you?

My booking info.


Name, age, day job:

Andrew Orvedahl, 27, by day I do phone customer service for a pants company -- which is exactly as soul-edifying as it sounds.

How long have you been doing comedy?

For about a year and a month.

What was your best time on stage?

That one time, when I was all telling jokes and shit.

Worst?

Pretty much any time there's people having table conversation during the show. If I had to pick one singular incident, it would probably be the time I accidentally set that lamb on fire. That was the last time I tried prop comedy.

Largest audience you've performed in front of?

300, maybe 400 people.

Favorite comedians:

I don't watch stand-up on TV, so I'll stick with my local favorites: Troy Baxley, Roger Rittenhouse, Chuck Roy, Brian Kellun, Josh Blue, Harrison "Clint" Rains, Matt "Jiffy Lube" Conty, Greg "The Goose" Baumhauer, Ben "I can't think of any other semi-amusing nicknames right now" Kronberg.

What do you think of the Denver scene?

I think the Denver scene is pretty great. There seems to be enough open mikes to always work on new stuff throughout the week and there's a good mix of comedy veterans and new talent. The one gripe would be that Denver is so isolated as a city, you have to take a road trip to try another big club.

Why do you do comedy?

I do comedy because I am bad at math. My goals and aspirations? Something shiny. Or just to make enough money to quit my day job. Okay, I'll settle for a crisp fiver. Please.

What question should I have asked you?

You should have asked me my mother's maiden name, so you could have used my credit card to buy a hang-glider kit. God, that was a horrible answer. Or question. Whatever.


Name, age, day job:

Donna Ayers, I'm a stay-at-home mom to my four-month-old son, Max, and I will be turning 37 at the end of July.

How long have you been doing comedy?

I had done comedy for a year, then I took an eight-month break to have my son. I've been back performing at least four nights per week and I try to see at least one or two pro shows a week at the Comedy Works.

What was your best time on stage?

I think the best experience was the first time I had done well. In my early twenties I was a social director at a Poconos resort and I tried comedy, but was unaware of what goes into a "stand-up performance." I didn't have a set list or any idea of what material I would do. I just thought I'd go be funny. Needless to say, I bombed. Who knew silence could be so loud? So I stayed offstage for about ten years and then just figured I'd give it one more shot. That time I rehearsed and got third place in a contest! What can I say? I was hooked.

Worst?

Any time I bomb. Bombing is the absolute worst, and here's the kicker: I love it because I'm able to re-evaluate my act. Why didn't it work? What did I do wrong? You learn more from getting your teeth kicked in than you do after a great experience.

Largest audience you've performed in front of?

Probably 350 or so at the Comedy Works. I've performed in Las Vegas, but I think Comedy Works is the biggest.

Favorite comedians:

Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks, Lenny Bruce -- because they were so groundbreaking. They shook up the system. Bill Cosby for storytelling. Lily Tomlin for characters. Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller because they were able to break through at a time when a woman doing comedy was unheard of.

What do you think of the Denver scene?

The Denver scene is great! The Comedy Works is the number-four club in the nation. That's huge! The Works brings in the best talent, and they're incredible for letting newbie comics watch and learn. We also get a chance to play on stage to sell-out crowds on open-mike night. You can't get that opportunity in New York or L.A. The open mikes around town are awesome. There's plenty of stage time available. The comics are all supportive of one another. I've heard horror stories from comics about how bad it is in other cities, and they rave about what an oasis Denver is. Denver is a great place to start.

Why do you do comedy?

I do it because I have to. Even when it's bad, it's good. I like taking an idea and crafting it until it works. I love the writing, the performing; there is no greater high than having it all work and come together. Comedy can be so easy, and then some nights the most difficult thing in the world. There are times you just want to bang your head against the wall, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I want to be a great comic. I don't want to be an actress. I don't want to be a sitcom star. I want to be a great comic, not a female comic. Just a great comic.


Name, age, day job:

Matt Conty, age 27, I work in the network operation center for a wireless ISP, with a bunch of engineers.

How long have you been doing comedy?

Three years.

What was your best time on stage?

I don't have a specific show or set that I think, "That's what keeps me going." Probably because the only thing I can think about now is how shitty my last show was, which quickly erased the memory of a good show I had earlier that same night. For now, my best moments come when I figure out a new idea, about once every seven or eight months.

Worst?

Well, for me it works both ways, so my last show sticks in my head. Man, did that suck. All the right variables for a piece-of-shit performance: me sucking, a crowd full of people not interested, etc.

Largest audience you've performed in front of?

289 people.

Favorite comedians:

I have a great deal of respect for anyone doing it, so I get a lot of inspiration from the people I work with on a regular basis around here. I like what Seinfeld did with his career, definitely.

What do you think of the Denver scene?

I think it's good enough to keep me wanting to perform as much as I can. I've never been involved in another stand-up scene to compare. The Denver scene doesn't seem to pay me that well, though. We need a union.

Why do you do comedy?

I got into comedy because I'm funny, and everybody who's ever spent time with me knows it. And if they didn't, it was probably their fault. As for an aspiration, I would like to play Letterman.

What question should I have asked you?

I would have asked, "You just said in answer to question eight, that everyone who has ever met you thinks you're funny, and if they didn't it was their fault. Well, Matt, you haven't come across to me as funny at all. Is this really my fault?" That's what I would have said. And a question about advice for new comics, about what is the one thing they really need to know before getting into this business.


Name, age, day job:

Jake Sharon, 26, host at a local restaurant

How long have you been doing comedy?

I have been doing comedy about three years. I have been doing funny comedy for about a year and a half.

What was your best time on stage?

The best time, some chick came up on stage then jammed her tongue down my throat.

Worst?

When I found out she was a man.

Largest audience you've performed in front of?

The largest audience I ever performed in front of was about 312 people -- no, wait, 313 people.

Favorite comedians:

Ellen DeGeneres, Eddie Izzard, Woody Allen.

What do you think of the Denver scene?

I say Denver is the best scene to be an up-and-coming comedian because we have a great A club, there are tons of open mikes, and most of the comedians are really supportive of each other.

Why do you do comedy?

I do comedy so I don't explode and become a serial killer. If I don't have a vent, I become a pent-up, angry-hyena person.

What question should I have asked you?

You should have asked me if I have a secret identity as a dark knight, crime-fighter superhero -- but you didn't. Too late, sucker! Now you'll never know.

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