This holiday season, the heathen's tree of Denver comedy is stocked with gifts for every kind of chuckle fan. This month we're blessed with a live paranormal podcast recording, a rare post-'90s Bill Bellamy sighting, a visit from High Times 2009 Stoner of the Year, family-friendly entertainment, and Rory Scovel, whose singular comedic flair needs no further adjectives. Fortunately for people on a holiday gift-buying budget, many of these shows are free, and even the most expensive tickets are a comparatively cheap $25. Keep reading for our ten best comedy events of December. See also: Jordan Dall wins Comedy Works New Faces competition
10) Werewolf Radar Alive! Wednesday, December 4 Werewolf Radar has blossomed from an obscure, difficult-to-find on the Internet podcast with a scattershot recording schedule into one of the funniest and most consistently engaging shows. Recently, hosts Jordan Doll, Roger Norquist, Nate Balding and frequent absenteee Sam Tallent have expanded into hosting live recordings that showcase their particular brand of joke-filled paranormal investigation for audiences on this spiritual plane and the next. Join the Werewolf Radar crew and their guests, comedians and "fellow warriors of humanity" Bobby Crane and Chris Charpentier of the Fine Gentleman's Club at a free show that starts at 8 p.m. Wednesday, December 4 at El Charrito.
9) Down Under Final Day Kamikaze Comedy Run Saturday, December 21
The Down Under Comedy Club has always been an underdog, even in its heyday as a B club for road dogs during the '80s comedy boom. Re-opened under new owners as Slate Entertainment at the Down Under, the club has been a resource for Denver comics, providing many up-and-comers with their first feature and headlining sets and entertaining a woefully underserved northern Colorado market. Running a club, however, is a terribly difficult business, particularly when said club is hidden behind a warehouse in the barren smellscape of Greeley. As such, the Down Under is due to close its doors for a second time. Come celebrate the collapse of a wonderfully quixotic dream with a marathon of 21 comics.
The show starts at 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 21, at the Down Under Comedy Club; there's a $5 cover.
8) Standup for the Silent Holiday Bazaar Friday, December 6
Stand for the Silent is an anti-bullying charity organization dedicated to protecting children so victimized by bullying that they turn to drastic measures to escape their lives. While programming an evening of standup comedy (a medium notorious for its boundless mockery) for an anti-bullying benefit event might seem counterintuitive, Standup for the Silent has booked a roster of pros capable of delivering the healing, inclusive kind of laughter, rather than the crying in a locker-room variety. Hosted by Heather Snow, the showcase features Chris Charpentier, Kristin Rand, and Adam Cayton-Holland.
Bill Bellamy is a champion of the early '90s Def Comedy Jam era. Though his movie career and stint on MTV have largely eclipsed his standup roots, Bellamy has made a return to the stage in recent years. Today, his act has taken on a decidedly family-friendly bent, with bits about playing outside supplanting the gratuitous T&A filled debauchery of his How to Be a Player days.
Phil Palisoul is the Denver comedy scene's sardonic uncle. A frequent presence at Comedy Works, Palisoul mines the absurdity of language and day-to-day interactions to hilarious effect. Though he enjoys godfather status in the Denver comedy scene, people outside of our smoke-filled bubble are also familiar with Palisoul from his impressive list of TV credits, including the Tonight Show. Come see why it's always a delight when Palisoul "stops by the office."
5) Altered Schtick Holi-gay Spectacular Saturday, December 14
Celebrate the holidays at the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse with Altered Schtick. Hosted by Jordan Wieleba, Altered Schtick is an evening of LGBT entertainers featuring drag shows, boylesque and standup comedy from Wieleba, newcomer Zach Welch and Mona Lott --who has appeared on America's Got Talent and the Gong Show.
Looking to ring in the new year with laughter? Check out Rodney Perry, an energetic and relatable club comic with killer timing and a dapper wardrobe. A protégé of Mo'Nique, Perry has emerged as a solid headliner in his own right. Currently on the cusp of shooting his first standup specialRodney Perry All the Way Live!
, Perry will be honing his craft as 2013 comes to a close. As an added benefit, the show is early enough not to conflict with the midnight ball drop.
Tickets for each show are $25. The new year's show starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Denver Improv. Comedy fans with other New Year's plans can still catch Perry's shows at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. on December 27, December 28 and December 29.3) Deacon Gray Family Show Thursday, December 26
During the holidays, families may be stuffed with turkey, but they're starved for entertainment. This year, for about the same cost as going to the movies, the whole family can head down to the south location of Comedy Works to enjoy an evening of family-friendly comedy from Deacon Gray. As a performer, Gray is adept at winnowing his material to suit his audience; a pro who doesn't regard clean comedy as some sort of artistic compromise, yet he can also be alarmingly ribald in the appropriate setting. For the day after Christmas, this event is a pretty safe bet.
Comedian, podcaster and public stoner Doug Benson (Doug Loves Movies, Getting Doug with High) has a well-documented love affair with the "State of Denver." Drawn by our legal weed and the density of local comedy nerds, Benson typically rolls through Comedy Works a few times a year. While Benson's cashed eyes and wide, be-stubbled face are a familiar sight in this town, his dedicated following ensures that the audience is full and his discursive performance style offers something a bit different each time he takes the stage.
Groundbreaking comedians are often said to have 'the most original voice in comedy," but Rory Scovel has at least two or three of the most original voices in comedy. Flowing seamlessly from a club set polished enough to land him on Conan to character work so bizarre it approaches performance art, Scovel is an absolute delight to watch. Performing with Denver favorites Jordan Doll, Kristin Rand and Scovel's Those Who Can't co-star Adam Cayton-Holland, this one-night-only show has a lineup stacked with local crushers and an opportunity to see one of the most inventive comics around before he gets his own TV show. Booking Scovel is an encouraging sign that the still-fledgling Voodoo Comedy Playhouse has improved its programming calendar. With its improv roots, this venue ought to make a fine home for Scovel's free-form jokesmanship.
Tickets for the show are $12; the fun starts at 10 p.m. on Saturday, December 14 at the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse.
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Follow Byron Graham on twitter @ByronFG for more mildly amusing sequences of words.