By the time February settles in each year, Denverites have already plowed through their Netflix queues and ordered from every restaurant within their delivery radius, so it's now time to brave the climate -- whatever that may be today -- and get out of the house. And nothing will warm you up like a good joke. To keep you giggling all throughout this short, bleak month, we've compiled a list of new shows, visits from comedy legends past and present, and even a smattering of Valentine's Day-themed entertainment.
10) Sex and the Witty Thursday, February 5 The Deer Pile
Sex and the City was a flashpoint for an entire generation of viewers, changing long held-notions about how women behaved on television. While the characters frank discussions of a liberated sexuality were indeed groundbreaking in the context of the show's late '90s milieu, other elements have aged as poorly as the haute couture that was so central to SATC's escapist appeal. When viewed again through adult eyes, the fantasy at the heart of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda's story crumbles, and viewers realize that there's no way a newspaper columnist could afford to live in Carrie's tasteful Manhattan apartment and Mr. Big is actually kind of a creep. That's why local gut-buster Mara Wiles started Sex and the Witty, which cuts right to the heart of that dissonance, mining old episodes for comic gold. Joining Wiles in nostalgic riffery are Janae Burris, Haley Driscoll and Timmi Lasley. The foursome will be arguing over who's the Samantha of the group, sipping cosmos, cracking wise and taking a little comedic revenge against a show that encouraged the unrealistic, glittering dreams of all the failed Carrie Bradshaws out there.
The show begins at 9 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are suggested.
9) Infauxmation! Thursday, February 5 Comedy Works South
Though it's only been running for a few months, InFauxmation has continually proved to be one of the most exciting new showcases in Denver. By booking consistently great lineups and securing the best venues in town, it started out with more pedigree than most shows could achieve over several years. Hosted by the gregarious and hilarious Brent Gill, InFauxmation asks comedians to stumble their way through extemporaneous jokes based on the news headlines, with a special emphasis on news of the weird. Featuring the editorial hijinks of Sam Tallent, Chris Charpentier and Ben Roy this month, InFauxmation is a great example of what Denver comedy can accomplish when good ideas have support.
The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $12 from the Comedy Works website.
8) Bill Bellamy February 6-8 The Denver Improv
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, the former Last Comic Standing host 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.
The early show begins at 7:30 p.m on all three nights, with an additional late show at 9:45 on Friday and Saturday. Tickets cost $25 on the Denver Improv website.
7) Tim Northern: I'm a Fucking Comic Tuesday, February 10 Voodoo Comedy Playhouse
Tim Northern is a journeyman comic, a veteran of the road whose toil in the small town club circuit is chronicled in the 2012 documentary Road Comics: Big Work on Small Stages. Though Northern has also taken more conventional routes to notoriety such as appearances on Star Search and Last Comic Standing he's once again embraced the documentary format, shooting the ongoing docu-series "I'm a Fucking Comic." With local openers Janae Burris -- who appears to have been booked on every single local showcase this month -- Derrick Rush, Abby Alt, Anthony Crawford and host Jeff Albright on deck, Northern should take to the finest small stage in town like a duck to water. In addition to being a bargain and a good time, the show is also part of a live taping.
The show begins at 9:30 p.m. Tickets cost $5 at the door.
6) Saturday Evening Live Saturday, February 14 El Charrito
Valentine's Day is a challenging holiday for the lonely and the broke alike. The seasonal gift-flation economy is a savage landscape, riddled with the dried remains of discarded rose bouquets whose slow withering becomes a grim metaphor, a reminder that time erodes everything beautiful. Fortunately for all the lonely souls and broken trolls out there, the Comedy Room Room at El Charrito, where they have tequila and funny people telling jokes, will open. Timmi Lasley's "Saturday Evening Live" showcases have been a noble effort thus far, but this month's show, featuring Christie Buchele, Matt Monroe, and headliner Kristin Rand, is a special Valentine's treat.
The show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $5 through the show's facebook event page and at the door. El Charrito will also serving a three course holiday dinner for two for only $25.
5) Empty Gal-entine's Day: An Empty Girlfriend Live Podcast Recording Sunday, February 15 The Savoy
Denver has a flourishing local podcasting scene, one with a significant concentric overlap with the Denver comedy community. Though the listening quality ranges wildly from podcast to podcast, with some shows that seemingly never stop struggling to justify their existence, while still others merely parroting the formats of their more successful forebears. The best podcasts combine a true sense of purpose with engaging personalities at the helm; if they manage to be as consistently funny as Empty Girlfriend, they become appointment listening even for people who no longer have much time for podcasts. Balancing an almost confessional intimacy with a quick-witted and breezy momentum, Empty Girlfriend is also particularly well-suited for the live-podcast format. Hosts Haley Driscoll and Christie Buchele are seasoned comics who know how to keep a show entertaining while making their guests comfortable enough to talk about their personal lives. Their live debut features interviews with Janae Burris, John "Hippieman" Novosad, and advice from marriage counselor and relationship coach Meagan Terry.
Doors open at 6 for the 7 p.m. show. Admission is free, but donations to the Gathering Place are suggested.
Hannibal Buress was everywhere in 2014, appearing on Broad City, The Eric Andre Show and in seemingly every editorial about Bill Cosby's descent into an ignominy he probably deserves. But standup has always been Buress's true gift, with his unpredictable timing, absurdist sensibilities and uncanny ability to make the words "penguin meat" inexplicably hilarious. Buress is at the top of his game, a bigger draw than he's ever been in his career. After recording an hour of that Westword called one of the Best Comedy Specials of 2014, there's never been a better time to live out your dreams.
As of press time, all of Buress' Comedy Works shows have sold out, but tickets remain for the 10:30 p.m. show at the Boulder Theater on February 19. Tickets cost $29.50 from the Boulder Theater website.
3) Roseanne Barr February 22-23 Comedy Works South
[Mostly Sold Out] Roseanne Barr started her standup career in Denver, honing her craft at the original Comedy Works before moving on to widespread fame, so it's fitting that she'd return to the club where she found her voice. While she'll probably always be best known as the creator and star of the groundbreaking eponymous sitcom Roseanne, Barr has enjoyed a long and controversial career. While in recent years she's taken detours into reality television and politics, even running for president as the official nominee of the Freedom Party, Barr has always returned to standup. She courted controversy again this year as a judge on Last Comic Standing, when she got into a Denver comedy dustup with local success story Ben Kronberg, which culminated in Barr telling the cheeky contestant to "go fuck himself." Though she's amassed a sizable cadre of haters over the years, Barr is a comedy legend and a trailblazer.
As of press time, all of Barr's shows are sold out except for the Sunday afternoon show at 4:45 p.m. Tickets cost $35 from Comedy Works' website.
2) Kristin Rand & Friends Wednesday, February 25 The Denver Improv
Moving to Los Angeles is a make-or-break prospect for most comedians. Denver has plenty of fun shows and talented comics, but no industry in place to support them. Though Kristin Rand enjoys a Queen Bee-like status locally, never lacking for shows to crush and audiences to charm, she's reached a point in her craft where Denver doesn't have much left to offer. So, as Rand galavants off toward the sunny shores of a brighter future, she's saying goodbye to her scene with a fittingly grand showcase. Featuring Nathan Lund, Janae Burris (again!), Mara Wiles, Jordan Doll and Andrew Orvedahl, this would be an unmissable showcase even if it weren't Rand's big farewell.
The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $5 on the Denver Improv website.
1)Rob Delaney: Meat Tour Saturday, February 28 The Fillmore Auditorium
Rob Delaney first rose to prominence with his wickedly clever Twitter feed and its small nation of followers, but there's a lot more to him than savage one-liners and enviable tweet heat. In addition to penning columns for Vice and The Guardian UK, his first book,Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage. made Amazon's bestseller list. He's also been pretty successful in front of the camera, appearing on shows and films like Key & Peele, The Michael J. Fox Show, and Life After Beth. His last special Rob Delaney: Live at the Bowery Ballroom a fine distillation of Delaney's sense of humor and pet themes, was released in 2012. Delaney, who apparently understands how dreams should be lived, recently expatriated to London, so stateside appearances such as these are increasingly rare.
Doors open at 7 for the 8 p.m show. Ticket prices vary according to seating section.
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Follow Byron Graham on twitter @ByronFG for more mildly amusing sequences of words.