Michael Che headlines Comedy Works Downtown March 16-18.
Michael Che headlines Comedy Works Downtown March 16-18.
Phil Provencio

Ten Best Comedy Shows in Denver: March 2017

They say March comes in like a lion, and Denver comedy has enough treats in store to keep you roaring with laughter all month long. From home-brewed showcases on local stages to top-notch headliners performing all over the Front Range, this month's calendar is replete with shows to tickle your ribs. This month, we've expanded our boundaries to include a truly special evening of comedy up in Fort Collins, but there are plenty of shows available for Denver-bound readers, as well, including headlining engagements by Sean Patton and Michael Che at our city's comedy clubs, showcases with novel formats that blend education and laughter, and the triumphant return of our perennial favorite, Lucha Libre & Laughs. Shows are listed in chronological order.

Ten Best Comedy Shows in Denver: March 2017
Bob Meddles.

1. Mental Pause
Thursday, March 9
West Woods Golf Club

Mental Pause is a standup supergroup comprising Denver comedy titans Nora Lynch, Stephanie McHugh and Nancy Norton. Though the trio of Comedy Works regulars has been performing all over the country for years, Mental Pause is a new joint venture that mines the travails of aging for comedic gold. While McHugh, Norton and Lynch are each formidable headliners in their own right, host and producer Bob Meddles has stacked the decks by inviting all three to the stage at Arvada's tony West Woods Golf Club. The Wednesday, March 8, showcase has already sold out, so act quickly and get your tickets for the just-added second night.

Showtime is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $17 at eventbrite.com.

2. Jay Chandrasekhar
March 9-11
Comedy Works South

A founding member of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe, Chandrasekhar co-wrote, directed and starred in its films Super Troopers, Club Dread and Beerfest. He's proved himself equally skilled as a director for hire on shows like Arrested Development and Community, as well as the big-screen adaptation of The Dukes of Hazzard. A true polymath, Chandrasekhar has a book called Mustache Shenanigans coming out on March 28, his joke-telling prowess is documented in the Broken Lizard Stands Up special, and he's redoubled his efforts over the past few years by performing in clubs all over the country when his shooting schedule permits. With Super Troopers 2 currently in post-production, there's no better time for fans to learn for themselves that Chandrasekhar is every bit as talented in front of a microphone as he is behind a camera.

Showtimes and admission prices vary. Visit the ComedyWorks' events calendar for information and tickets.

3. Shane Mauss Presents: A Good Trip
Wednesday, March 15
Comedy Works South

Shane Mauss has had a lively career since winning "Best Standup Comic" at the Comedy Arts Festival in 2007. With five appearances on Conan and a Comedy Central Presents special under his belt, Mauss set about creating thematically sound hours of comedy, first on the Netflix special Mating Season, then on his most recent album, My Big Break. In addition to his busy performing schedule, Mauss also hosts the weekly podcast Here We Are, wherein the comedian consults scientists, psychologists and various other experts for insight on the human condition. Ever the mind expansionist, Mauss has created A Good Trip, a psychedelia-inspired hybrid of standup, storytelling and Ted Talk that entertains and educates in equal measure.

Showtime is at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Visit Comedy Works' events calendar for information and tickets.

4. Michael Che
March 16-18
Comedy Works Downtown

To casual television viewers, Michael Che's rise to fame seems meteoric. Shortly after landing a highly coveted correspondent gig on The Daily Show, Che left the show within a few short months to join the cast of Saturday Night Live, where he co-hosts Weekend Update. Yet Che, a quintessentially New York comic, pounded the pavement and worked his way through the city's cutthroat club circuit for years before making his on-screen debut on The Late Show With David Letterman. Fearless, confrontational and contrarian, Che achieves a delicate balancing act of challenging audiences' dearly held beliefs while consistently delivering big laughs — a promise hinted at in his Comedy Central's Half-Hour and fully flourishing in his most recent special, Michael Che Matters.

Showtimes and admission prices vary. Visit Comedy Works' events calendar to learn more and buy tickets, and hurry: Three shows have sold out already.

Ten Best Comedy Shows in Denver: March 2017
Funny or True? Facebook page.

5. Funny or True?
Saturday, March 18
The Dairy Arts Center

Dr. Peter McGraw, a marketing and psychology professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, has spent years developing the science behind jokes. Director of the Humor Research Lab and co-author of The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny, McGraw is one of very few people who've both earned a Ph.D. and bombed at the Squire Lounge.  Fusing these twin passions, McGraw is hosting a comedy game show called Funny or True?, during which scientists and comedians compete in a question-and-answer-style riff battle. Unlike at most comedy shows, audience members are encouraged to bring their phones and vote on their favorite responses from a panel that includes CU's Dr. Stephanie Johnson and NASA's Dr. Bill Farrand along with comedians Janae Burris and Shane Mauss. Join McGraw, emcee Mallory Wallace (Fort Comedy) and a throng of curious questioners for a hilarious yet informative battle between jokes and facts.

Showtime is at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Visit the Dairy Arts Center's events calendar for information tickets.

Read on for more of Denver's best comedy events.

6. Sean Patton
March 23-26
The Denver Improv

While Sean Patton is a mainstay of the High Plains Comedy Festival and thus a semi-regular visitor to the Mile High City, it's always worthwhile to check out one of his headlining showcases at the Denver Improv. Patton proved his mettle as a standup making appearances on talk shows like Conan and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon as well as his Comedy Central Half-Hour special. He's also revealed his gifts as a raconteur on storytelling shows like This Is Not Happening and Party Legends. Few standups can command a crowd's attention like Patton, so it's easy to understand why Denverites keep returning to his shows.

Showtimes vary, and admission is $17. Visit the Denver Improv events calendar for information and tickets.

Ten Best Comedy Shows in Denver: March 2017
Steve Vanderploeg

7. Joke and Tell
Friday, March 24
El Charrito

Inspired by nostalgic memories of Show and Tell from grade school, Steve Vanderploeg has been trying to get Joke and Tell off the ground for years. After taking a couple months off and tinkering with the format, the core idea of comics riffing about their prized possessions remains intact, only now there's a much bigger lineup and a Denver comedy party atmosphere. Embark on a treasure hunt through the past with a bill of twenty local comics including Gabby Gutierrez-Reed, James Xiong, Jason Keyes, Adrian Mesa and many more. Be sure to stick around at El Charrito after the show ends to watch drunken comics warble their way through karaoke songs. In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that Steve Vanderploeg is my roommate.

Showtime is at 7 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

Ten Best Comedy Shows in Denver: March 2017
The Agency

8. NICE!
Saturday, March 25
Crossroads Theater

Dwindled to a trio and facing uncertainty over the future of their new home at Crossroads Theater, Robert Abbot, Walter Booth and Corey Rhoads have kept grinding away, and they're back with a new monthly showcase. The inaugural NICE! drew a large and appreciative crowd to Five Points' Crossroads Theater, and the Agency crew hopes to continue apace this month with a crackerjack showcase of local comics Jason Keyes, Miriam Moreno and headliner Bob Meddles. Not unlike the Agents themselves, the Crossroads Theater is a scrappy underdog. A local treasure and major hub for the Denver arts community, the Theater is being eyed by developers, and will likely be converted into a grocery store without proper community support.

Showtime is 8 p.m. Early-bird tickets are $5 (plus fees) from Eventbrite and include a free drink; they're $10 at the door.

9. Fort Comedy Presents Rory Scovel
Wednesday, March 29
Aggie Theatre

Mallory Wallace, Kyle Pogue and David Rodriguez of Fort Comedy have great shows planned all month long, but this one may be their best yet. Their headliner, Rory Scovel, who’s appeared on @Midnight and Inside Amy Schumer as well as several memorable performances on Conan, commits fiercely to absurd premises, dropping non sequitur chuckle bombs on the audience from seemingly out of nowhere. “You guys ever steal an old person?” Scovel begins, scanning the crowd’s nervous reaction before doubling down. “Here's a tip: Old people in wheelchairs rarely turn around to see who's pushing them.” While Scovel has enjoyed the acclaim of being a comedian’s comedian for the past few years, it looks like the entertainment industry is finally catching on to his talents. Consistently the funniest part of the now-defunct TBS sitcom Ground Floor, Scovel appeared in several episodes of Undateable and has a starring role as Principal Quinn on TruTV's Those Who Can’t alongside Denver's own Grawlix trio. Joined by Denver favorites Ben Bryant and Zach Reinert, this show is worth the shlep up I-25.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. show. Get tickets, $20, and more information on the Aggie Theatre's events calendar.  

Ten Best Comedy Shows in Denver: March 2017
Geoff Decker: Hidden Vision Photography.

10. Lucha Libre & Laughs: Fight to the Future
Friday, March 31
Oriental Theater

After a brief month-long hiatus, Lucha Libre & Laughs surges back into the ring this month with colorful commentators Sam Tallent and Nathan Lund resuming their rightful places in the booth. Referee/ producer Nick Gossert has assembled a knockout lineup both in the ring and on the mic to close out March in classic LLL style. Featuring the comedy stylings of Kyle Pogue, Mallory Wallace, Preston Tompkins and headliner Dante Powell (Des Moines) to keep audiences chuckling between rounds, this month's edition also boasts a heated match that pits Mike Sydal against Danger Dean, and a triple-threat Heavyweight Championship bout with Caleb Crush, Zema Ion and current title-holder Lonnie Valdez. Come see why Lucha Libre & Laughs is not only the crown jewel of Sexpot Comedy-branded showcases, but also the winner of Westword's Best Comedy Night for two years running.

Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show; admission is $10. Visit the Oriental's events calendar for information and tickets.

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