Roastmaster Jeff Ross presides over the Road to Roast Battle at Comedy Works on Wednesday, November 9.
Roastmaster Jeff Ross presides over the Road to Roast Battle at Comedy Works on Wednesday, November 9.
Comedy Central's Roast of James Franco

The Ten Best Comedy Events in Denver in November

November is upon us, and a bountiful joke harvest awaits. In addition to fine showings from our city's theaters and comedy clubs that have imported the finest and funniest from across the country to stock our larders with laughs, our locally sourced talents are flourishing. Some fans may notice the conspicuous absence of Amy Schumer (arguably the most famous comedian in the world right now) from this list — but that's only because her November 5 shows have already been sold out for months, leaving fans with no option but to pay exorbitantly high prices for scalped tickets. Luckily for our giggle-gobbling readers, we had little trouble finding ten other worthy shows, listed below in chronological order. 

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1. The Funnyside Sessions
Thursday, November 3
Image Brew

When Mara Wiles started the Funnyside Sessions last year, a disproportionate number of her unique showcases had been scuppered by ill-suited venues and co-hosts who moved away. Luckily for Denver comedy fans, Wiles — who brings more verve and showmanship to the role of emcee than anyone else in this city — can't be stopped, and she quickly rebounded with a sketch, standup, music and video hybrid showcase and a creatively simpatico relationship with Image Brew studios. Soon, Wiles was producing high-quality sketch videos and enlisted Kevin O'Brien to co-produce and provide musical accompaniment. This month's special one-year anniversary show features local comics Roger Stafford, Alan Bromwell and Geoff Tice joining D.C.'s Natalie McGill and headliner John Tole. 

Showtime is at 8 p.m.; tickets are $5 at the door. Donation beer is available from Ratio Beerworks.

2. Tom Papa
Thursday, November 3, through Saturday, November 5
Comedy Works South

Tom Papa is a comedian and character actor known for his polished, besuited stage presence and wry observations about modern life and his family. After being discovered by Jerry Seinfeld in 1993, Papa traveled the world as the sitcom star's preferred feature act; he was tapped to host NBC's The Marriage Ref. Along the way, Papa appeared on late-night touchstones like The Late Show, Conan and The Tonight Show and ably hosted such standup showcases as Gotham Comedy Live and Just for Laughs. Papa's acting résumé is thick with roles on shows like Inside Amy Schumer and The Knick, and films such as Analyze That, The Informant! and Behind the Candelabra. His two previous specials are available to stream on Hulu and Netflix, and his latest hour, Tom Papa: Human Mule, debuts on EPIX in December. 

Showtimes and admission prices vary; visit Comedy Works' events page to learn more and buy tickets.

3. HPCF Presents Bryan Cook & Sean Patton
Friday, November 4
The Larimer Lounge 

The mirth of the High Plains Comedy Festival can't be contained until next August, so Karen Wachtel and company have begun producing special local showcases featuring some of Denver's favorite performers. Bryan Cook and Sean Patton are High Plains champions with a couple of fests under their respective belts. Patton has also appeared on Conan and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon; his debut album, Standard Operating Procedure, was released by A Special Thing Records, and he recorded his own Comedy Central half-hour special. Cook is the creator of the Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction live show and podcast, as well as a writer for shows such as MTV's Ridiculousness and the dearly missed Fashion Police. Denver favorite Aaron Urist will be on hand to emcee the proceedings, which might just include some very special secret guests. 

Doors open at 5 p.m. for the 6 p.m. showtime; admission is $10 via Ticketfly.

The Ten Best Comedy Events in Denver in November
Rachel Weeks

4. Pussy Bros
Friday, November 4
El Charrito 

It's been a difficult couple of months for the Pussy Bros. As they adjust to performing as a trio and continue mourning the tragic loss of Jordan Wieleba, Christie Buchele, Rachel Weeks and Janae Burris have kept their noses to the grindstone, channeling their grief into well-run shows and strong jokes. They're back with a humdinger of a showcase this month, with guests like local one-liner wunderkind Jose MaCall, Philadelphia's Joe Messina and prodigal Denver sweethearts Haley Driscoll and Chris Charpentier, who'll all keep El Charrito's Comedy Room Room rollicking with laughter. Be sure to check back in with Charrito all month long for special events like Sexpot Comedy Presents Nate Craig on Thursday, November 17. 

Showtime is 7 p.m. Admission is free but donations are suggested. 

5. Jeff Ross' Road to Roast Battle 
Wednesday, November 9
Comedy Works Downtown

Roasts are a time-honored tradition among comedians, an escalating duel of colorful insults and cutting rejoinders. Despite their increasing frequency on local stages and national airwaves, a good roast takes such a specific level of finesse that it should rightfully be considered its own distinct art form. Roastmaster supreme Jeff Ross is not only a fixture of Comedy Central's Roast programs, he's also mentoring a new generation of roasters in the upcoming series Road to Roast Battle. After scouring cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and Austin for quick-witted insult comics, Ross and co-host/referee Brian Moses are swinging through Denver for a special, one-night-only engagement at Comedy Works. The evening boasts a murderer's row of roasters, including Noah Gardenswartz, Justine Marino and Denver's own Sam Tallent. The show is being filmed for broadcast on Comedy Central. 

Showtime is at 8 p.m. Admission is $20, and tickets are available from the Comedy Works events page.

Keep reading for five more comedy shows this month.

6. Jackie Kashian
Thursday, November 10, through Saturday, November 12
Comedy Works Downtown 

Jackie Kashian is a veteran standup, actress and podcaster who regularly opens for Maria Bamford when not headlining her own shows. Having appeared on industry staples like Last Comic Standing, Conan and Comedy Central Presents, Kashian quickly endeared herself to audiences with her sharply written jokes and nerd-friendly mien. A prolific podcaster, she appeared as a talking head in Earbuds: a Podcasting Documentary and currently hosts The Dork Forest and co-hosts The Jackie and Laurie Show. She also pops up on Maron and in Bamford's Netflix series Lady Dynamite.

Showtimes and admission prices vary; visit Comedy Works' events page to learn more and buy tickets.

The Ten Best Comedy Events in Denver in November
Geoff Tice

7. The Phone It In Film Festival
Saturday, November 12
LFX Film Works

Denver comedy hustle-hound Zac Maas has a new project under way — and local creatives should take note. Winner of a prestigious Imagine 2020 grant, the inaugural Denver edition of the Phone It In Film Festival presents not only the opportunity to witness local comedians and filmmakers collaborate for your amusement, but also a chance to encourage our fledgling film community as they explore the possibilities of short films shot entirely on smartphones. None of the films will have been screened before, and anyone can submit as long they follow a few simple guidelines imported from Philadelphia's $5 Comedy Week. The festival rules remove the obstacle of obtaining equipment and make participation as novice-friendly as possible. Submissions are due by November 10. 

Showtime is 7 p.m. Admission is free, but a $5 donation is strongly encouraged. 

8. Joe Torry
Thursday, November 17, through Sunday, November 20
The Denver Improv

Joe Torry is a veteran of the stage who's appeared in films like Poetic Justice, Tales From the Hood and House Party 3. He first rose to prominence when he took over hosting duties after Martin Lawrence left Def Comedy Jam, and appeared with Lawrence in the 1st Amendment Standup comedy-tour documentary. 
Torry is a frequent Improv headliner, with a magnetic yet loose stage presence; he makes his act unique each night by interacting with the crowd. With three films in development and a new hour on the way, these shows represent the chance to catch Torry at the top of his game. 

Showtime is at 7:30 p.m., with an additional 9:45 p.m. late show on Friday and Saturday. Admission is $20; tickets are available from the Denver Improv events page

Jay Larson and Ryan Sickler's Crab Feast Tour concludes in Denver on Saturday, November 19, at the Bug Theatre.
Jay Larson and Ryan Sickler's Crab Feast Tour concludes in Denver on Saturday, November 19, at the Bug Theatre.
Geoff Tice

9. CrabFeast Tour
Saturday, November 19
The Bug Theatre

Jay Larson and Ryan Sickler have been winding their way through the country with the CrabFeast Tour, named for their podcast and shared love of tasty crustaceans. A pair of true raconteurs, Larson and Sickler achieve an uncommon level of connection with their audiences and expertly mine struggles for belly laughs. Larson has appeared on Conan and The Late Show and has headlined his own Comedy Central Half Hour. His popular appearance on This American Life solidified Larson's reputation as a top-notch comedic storyteller. Sickler's equally capable of spinning a great yarn, as evidenced by his performances on This Is Not Happening and Viceland's Party Legends. The night is hosted by Denver comedy's most prolific poster designer, Geoff Tice, at the historic Bug Theatre.

Showtime is 10 p.m.; admission is $20 plus fees from NightOut.

The Ten Best Comedy Events in Denver in November
Geoff Decker

10. Lucha Libre & Laughs: Midweek Madness
Wednesday, November 23
The Oriental Theater

Rarely a month goes by without a Lucha Libre & Laughs showcase to recommend, and November is no exception. Join host Bobby Valentino (Greg Baumhauer), bumbling referee Nick Gossert, Antebellum ringside manager Alabaster Cain (Deacon Gray) and color commentators Nathan Lund and Sam Tallent for an evening of jokes that hit almost as hard as the wrestlers. In the title bout this month, LLL heartthrob Royce Isaacs will defend his championship against the nimble Lonnie Valdez. That's not the only belt in play tonight, however, as the Left Coast Guerillas prepare to dethrone resident heels Danger Dean and Sammy Six Guns Jr. With standup comedy from Bethany Hernandez, Cory Helie and headliner Rick Kerns, Sexpot Comedy's Lucha Libre & Laughs is back off the ropes with another fearsome night of entertainment unlike anything else in Denver. (In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I will also be telling jokes between matches.)

Doors open at 7 for an 8 p.m. showtime; admission is $10. Tickets are available from the Oriental Theater's events page.

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