As spring begins in earnest and Denverites bask in the long-awaited sunshine, our city's parks and a variety of outdoor activities tend to outshine cultural pursuits. While little can compare to the allure of the natural beauty blooming us, the comedy calendar this May is pollinated with a series of great shows that cater to even the most whimsical of whims. A bounty of upstarts, road dog veterans and local favorites will be flowering at stages all over town this month; here are the ten most promising events, in chronological order.
10. Pussy Bros
Friday, May 6
Pussy Bros is a newly forged standup supergroup featuring Denver jokesmiths Janae Burris, Rachel Weeks, Christie Buchele and Jordan Wieleba. After recently solidifying their squadron bond on the road during a sojourn into the Midwest for a pair of comedy festivals, the Bros are back in town and they've assembled a monster lineup for their second monthly showcase. This edition features the comedic and coiffure stylings of Zac Maas of the Whiskey & Cigarettes podcast, Comedy Room Room impresario Timmi Lasley and a headlining set from Denver Comedy Champion Nathan Lund.
The show begins at 7 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.
9. Mother's Day Eve with Pump and Dump
Saturday, May 7
The Gothic Theatre
Often we don't realize how underserved a particular demographic has been until someone comes along to fill that niche. Enter Pump and Dump, a unique evening of comedy and music that creates a friendly space where moms can bond in cathartic laughter and dance their cares away. The brainchild of Shayna Ferm and co-host MC Doula, aka Tracey Tee, who are currently in the midst of their nationwide "Year of the Mother" tour, Pump and Dump has grown from a neighborhood bar show into phenomenon that delights crowds of breeders all over the country. Moms everywhere deserve a night out, and Tee and Ferm are there to provide one.
Doors open at 4:45 for the 6 p.m. early show, and again at 8 for a second show at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $25 and all ticket holders can attend the dance party at 10:15 pm. Tickets are available from AXS.
8. Lucha Libre & Laughs: Laughmania III
Sunday, May 8
The Oriental Theater
We're running out of accolades to shower upon Lucha Libre & Laughs, and frankly, we're beginning to resent its unrelenting delightfulness. However, it's worth noting that the Westword-lauded showcase is celebrating its third anniversary, with a lineup that will make you tap out for mercy. Wrestlers Chris Hero, Sammy Six Guns Jr., Chuck Taylor, Royce Isaacs, Danger Dean, Lonnie Valdez, Elektro and Xander Kreed take to the ring in feats of choreographed bloodsport backed by what is certain to be awkward banter from guest color commentators Mallory Wallace and Alex Creasy. With comedic interludes from sleazy caesar Bobby Valentino, feature performer Zac Maas and headliner Adrian Mesa, Lucha Libre & Laughs will jump off the ropes and into your hearts.
Doors open at 6:30 for the 7 p.m. showtime. Admission is $10; tickets are available through the Oriental Theater's website.
7. Getting Doug with High
Monday, May 9
The Oriental Theater
Comedy's stoner laureate, Doug Benson, defies the facile stereotype that weed makes you slothful and unmotivated. Despite being a habitual wake and baker, Benson currently runs two live podcasts, spends a healthy percentage of every year working the road, has starred in three documentaries and released an album and live special every single year for the past eight years. He visits Denver at least once a year to satisfy a stronghold of local fans; this round, in addition to a Benson Movie Interruption of Throw Momma From the Train at the Alamo Drafthouse and a sold-out live podcast recording of Doug Loves Movies at Comedy Works Downtown, Benson has scheduled a live taping of his popular Jash web series Getting Doug with High at the Oriental Theater. Benson and five yet-to-be-determined comics will share spliffs and riffs for an adoring an crowd on the same medicinal wavelength.
Doors open at 7 for a sharp 8 p.m. showtime. Tickets are $15 through the Oriental Theater's website; attendees must be 21 or older.
6. Ron White
Friday, May 13
Temple Buell Theatre
Ron "Tater Salad" White has reached a pinnacle of success and name recognition unrivaled by most comedians without an eponymous sitcom. Over the course of his decade-spanning career, he's recorded dozens of specials, including fan favorites They Call Me Tater Salad and You Can't Fix Stupid, hosted the annual Ron White's Salute the Troops special for CMT and written the bestselling book I Had the Right to Remain Silent but I Didn't have the Ability. White stands apart from his Blue Collar Comedy cohorts with sharp jokes rooted in the unpretentious skepticism perfected by Texan comics of his generation, made palatable by his scotch-soused avuncularity. White has especially deep ties to the veteran comics of Denver's standup scene and a rabidly loyal local fan base. He's also running for President on an independent ticket this year —seriously— so crowds can enjoy a better punchline-to-platitude ratio in this standup stump speech and vote for White with laughs.
Tickets remain for the recently added 10 p.m. late show. Admission prices range from $46.56-$56.65 plus fees through AXS events.
5. Comedy Bang! Bang! Live
Sunday, May 22
Scott Aukerman began Comedy Death Ray Radio back in the nascent days of the podcast boom, and few shows have achieved its level of unmoored creativity and joyful absurdity. Renamed Comedy Bang! Bang! on its second anniversary special, the podcast never lost a step; it still boasts its signature batshit recurring characters with dense mythologies conjured on the fly, hilariously discursive riffs and a roster of comedic all-stars who commit fearlessly to even the most outlandish bits. Aukerman and crew have even managed to bottle the anarchic improvisational glee of the podcast into tight half-hour episodes for its namesake IFC series, which has so far withstood the departure of two musical co-hosts: Reggie Watts, who composed the theme song, was replaced by Kid Cudi, who left the show in the capable hands of Weird Al Yankovic. Now the Comedy Bang! Bang! gang is taking the show on the road with podcast MVPs Neil Campbell, Lauren Lapkus and Paul F. Tompkins joining Aukerman for a freewheeling evening of comedy unlike any other.
Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Admission costs $25 plus fees through Altitude Tickets.
4. Sexpot Comedy Presents Dave Ross and Louis Katz
Thursday, May 26
The Bug Theatre
The Bug Theater, a beloved staple of various Denver DIY scenes, hasn't had a regular standup showcase since the Grawlix closed up shop last year, even as the success of one-off showcases like 50 First Jokes demonstrated its aptitude as a venue just as the namesake Sexpot Comedy showcases was searching for a new home. For this new locale, the decks are stacked with a lineup featuring local comics Kyle Pogue, Cody Spyker, Rachel Weeks and New Orleans' Molly Ruben-Long joining co-headliners Dave Ross (Drunk History) and Louis Katz (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon). Let's hope this is only the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Sexpot and the Bug.
Showtime is 8 p.m.; tickets cost $10 plus fees from Nightout.
The Denver Improv
Godfrey is one of those standup comedians whose broad appeal and telegenic physique obscure the sharpness of his material. He's performed on Comics Unleashed and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and in 2011 he recorded his first one-hour special, Black by Accident, for Comedy Central. He's also appeared on shows like Black Dynamite, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore and Louie, and in movies like Soul Plane, Zoolander and Phat Girlz. Godfrey is an Improv favorite whose performances feature nimble riffing, committed physicality and a celebrated facility for quick-witted crowd work. He returns to the venue often, yet his draw never abates.
Showtimes are 7:30 and 10 p.m. on the weekend with an additional 7:30 p.m. show on Sunday. Tickets cost $17 on the Denver Improv website.
2. Jenny Zigrino
Comedy Works South
Jenny Zigrino is an up-and-coming comedian, writer and actress on the cusp of much broader notoriety. She crushed during standup performances on Conan and Adam Devine's House Party, appeared in Fifty Shades of Black and was recently cast for a role in the upcoming Bad Santa 2. For years Zigrino has been the toast of the festival circuit and enjoyed the acclaim of forward-thinking comedy nerds; perhaps now the rest of the comedy-clubbing public will get wise to her charm.
Showtimes and admission prices vary; check Comedy Works' website for more information and links to buy tickets.
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1. Something Fabulous Two-Year Anniversary
Saturday, May 28
Blush & Blu
Jordan Wieleba's Something Fabulous carries on the proud vaudevillian tradition of nervy standups riffing between burlesque, curating and producing one of Denver's most purely fun variety shows. To celebrate her show's two-year anniversary, Wieleba's enlisted fellow Pussy Bros Janae Burris and Christie Buchele as well as with the Los Angeles-based Heather Marulli; there will also be burlesque and boylesque from Cherry Pop Pop Poppins, Mr. Valdez and Mustang Monroe, along with musical accompaniment from drag king Jaryde Skye and DJ Jody B.
Showtime is 7:30 p.m.; admission is $5 at the door.