Back in the golden age of HBO as a comedy staple, Colorados very own weirdo star-haven was home to the HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, one of the networks biggest comedy events of the year. And for the thirteen years leading up to 2007, Aspens Wheeler Opera House, 320 East Hyman Avenue in Aspen, was ground zero for those festivities.
After 2007, HBO changed its philosophy and abandoned all its comedy festivals, recalls Gram Slaton, the Wheelers executive director. We picked up the ball on that. For the first couple of years after HBO pulled out, the Wheeler worked with Rooftop Comedy out of San Francisco; this will be the venues first year of going it alone with the newly christened Aspen Laff Festival and it looks promising. The events kick off with a couple of freebies: Tonight, local Aspen comics take the stage, while tomorrow night brings a sampler pack of the rest of the weeks events with the hilarious Tom Simmons, who serves as the festivals master of ceremonies. The laffs continue through Saturday, March 19 (highlights include riffy panels of Comics on Drinking and Comics on Religion) with a closing performance by Caroline Rhea, now best known as the former host of The Biggest Loser.
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Shows range from free to $35 and packages are available; to purchase tickets, get the complete lineup or find more information, call 970-920-5770 or visit www.wheeleroperahouse.com.
March 16-19, 2011