October, a month of harvest moons and costumed goons, is upon us. While there's perhaps no better month to take in the natural beauty of our fair state, the early sunsets and evening chill leave plenty of time for comedy. Fortunately, a bountiful joke harvest awaits leaf- and laugh-peepers alike this autumnal month. The calendar kicks off with the current host of The Daily Show, just in time for an election whose outcome could be scarier than any Halloween ghoul, and tricks and treats abound all month long. As always, ten spots (listed in chronological order) are insufficient to capture all the great comedy coming through Denver in October, so be sure to check our Comedy Club events pages and 5280Comedy.com for any gems we've missed.
1. Trevor Noah
Saturday, October 1
Trevor Noah's tenure as the new host of The Daily Show, a venerated television institution in its twentieth year on the air, started out shaky after he'd made only a few appearances as a correspondent. Despite the considerable shadow cast by former host Jon Stewart, the absurdity of 2016's interminable election season provided Noah with endless fodder for jokes, and viewers quickly adjusted to the low-key but telegenic comedian. Born and raised in South Africa, Noah started his television career on the soap opera Isdingo: The Need, before stepping away from acting to pursue comedy. After becoming the most famous comedian in South Africa, releasing six standup specials in five years, Noah moved to the United States and made historic debuts on both The Tonight Show and The Late Show With Dave Letterman. Shortly thereafter, Noah signed on as a Daily Show correspondent, then took the anchor's chair with Stewart's endorsement. Noah has a busy production schedule and a steadily rising profile, so Denverites shouldn't miss the rare opportunity to see him live.
2. Offensively Delicious with Beth Stelling and Matt Braunger
Wednesday, October 5
As Offensively Delicious approaches its third anniversary, the Sexpot co-sponsored event has become a calendar highlight for brewhounds and comedy fans alike. Admission to this unique evening includes sample beers from Alpine Dog, Great Divide, Spangalang, Renegade, Shmaltz and Brooklyn brewery (to name but a few) and an opportunity to network with luminaries of the beverage game before watching those same industry folks attempt standup comedy. All the beery camaraderie is a mere prelude to the real show with co-headliners Beth Stelling and Matt Braunger. Braunger, who co-founded the prestigious Bridgetown Comedy Festival in Portland, has been a constant televisual presence since briefly joining the cast of MadTV in 2008. Since then, he's appeared on programs like The Tonight Show, The Comedy Central Half Hour and Up All Night. His most recent special, Big Dumb Animal, premiered on Netflix last February. Stelling is a rising star who's appeared on Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live and @Midnight. Her Comedy Central Half Hour was named one of the best specials of 2015, and her latest album, Simply the Beth, is available from Comedy Dynamics.
The event runs from 6 to 10 p.m. General admission tickets cost $30, with preferred seating for $40 and VIP passes for $75, all available from Two Parts.
3. Bianca Del Rio
Wednesday, October 5
The Boulder Theater
Standup comedian, costume designer and paragon of the New Orleans drag community Bianca Del Rio is a champion of insult comedy. A standout from a cast of outlandish characters on Ru Paul's Drag Race, Del Rio was crowned the winner of the sixth season and continues to pop up on the program. She's also the star of Hurricane Bianca, a comedy co-starring Rachel Dratch and Alan Cumming. Her last special, Bianca's Rolodex of Hate, aired on Logo earlier this year, so die-hard fans can expect new material along with an outlandish wardrobe and a heavy dollop of shade.
Doors open at 7 p.m. for an 8 p.m. showtime. Admission prices start at $37.50, with additional seating and VIP options from the Boulder Theater events page.
4. Sexpot Comedy Presents Billy Wayne Davis
Friday, October 7
The Bug Theatre
Billy Wayne Davis is a standup comedian, son of the South and erstwhile Blue Angels pilot. He's appeared on Last Comic Standing, was the host of Morgan Spurlock's Freedom: The Movie and featured in Ralphie May's Filthy Animal Tour. Davis made his debut on the New Faces showcase on last year's Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, but he'd already been the focus of Denver's forward-looking comedy-fan community, thanks to frequent appearances at Comedy Works, Too Much Fun, High Plains and a number of Sexpot showcases. Local comics Ryan Nowell, Roger Norquist, Mara Wiles and Deacon Gray join host Andy Juett at the kooky and spooky Bug Theatre for a fine evening of Sexpot-style laughs.
Showtime is 10 p.m. Tickets cost $8 from Night Out and $10 at the door.
5. Fort Comedy Presents: Josh Androsky
Wednesday, October 12
The Denver Improv
There's so much happening in metro Denver, we sometimes don't get to Fort Comedy. A trio comprising David Rodriguez, Mallory Wallace and Kyle Pogue, Fort Comedy has produced and hosted some of Colorado's best standup shows in Fort Collins, but generally only appeared in Denver for guest spots. Thanks to a deal with the Denver Improv — where Rodriguez won this year's Standup Showdown contest — the comedians are now bringing their producing prowess to town for a special showcase with headliner Josh Androsky. A Vice contributor and staff writer for Spongebob Squarepants, Androsky has appeared on Flophouse, Adam Ruins Everything and Comedy Central's Trolling for Greatness. Androsky also has a couple more shows scheduled during his stay in Denver, including a headlining spot on the Westword-lauded Comedy Night at Chain Reaction on Friday, October 14.
Doors open at 6:30 for the 7:30 p.m. showtime. Admission costs $9. Tickets are available from the Denver Improv events page.
Wednesday, October 12
Comedy Works South
Nemr Abou Nassar is widely known as "Lebanon's King of Comedy." By far the most famous comedian in his country, Nassar — who's often simply billed as "Nemr" — regularly performs for crowds all over the world. He's recorded five standup specials, been featured on the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour and graced the cover of Rolling Stone Middle East. While his notoriety has spread across the region and into Europe, Nassar is still being introduced to American audiences. Casting a wide net by eschewing religious or political material, Nassar aims to bridge cultural divides with humor. Though it'll be self-explanatory if you watch the clip above, we should note that Nassar performs in English. (Check the Arts & Culture section next week for a Q&A with Nassar. )
Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Admission prices run from $30 to $35 on Comedy Works' events page.
7. Jim Jefferies: The Universal Punishment Tour
Friday, October 14
Since he's known for his profanity-riddled commentary, it's hardly surprising that Australian comedian Jim Jefferies is infamous for getting attacked on stage at the Manchester Comedy Store. Best known stateside for his sitcom Legit, which ran for two seasons on FXX, Jefferies openly courts controversy. His brilliant fifteen-minute bit on gun control spikes with tragic frequency, as woke bros the world over-share it in response to the all-too-frequent instances of gun violence. His latest special, FreeDumb, premiered on Netflix earlier this year, but the ever-prolific Jefferies is back on the road with a fresh hour for loyal Denver fans.
Doors open at 7 p.m. for an 8 p.m. showtime. Go to the Buell Theatre tickets office to learn more and buy tickets.
Still from LLL's Fists of Fury.
8. Lucha Libre & Laughs: Ladies' Night
Sunday, October 16
The Oriental Theater
While professional wrestling has been historically regarded as one of the dude-liest purviews around, closer examination reveals hordes of lifetime female fans — and then there are the talented women stepping into the ring themselves. Perennial Westword favorite Lucha Libre & Laughs celebrates their contributions this month with Ladies' Night, a special event boasting all the high-flying Luchador action spectators have come to expect, but with fewer dudes. Local comics Janae Burris, Kira MagCalen and Rachel Weeks join headliner Mara Wiles to keep the Oriental Theater's aisles rolling with laughter between matches. LLL favorites such as Left Coast Guerillas and Lonnie Valdez return to the ring, and for the main event, Candice LeRae, Allie Gato and Angel Trinity will square off in a triple-threat title bout. With color commentary from Nathan Lund and Mitch Jones, Lucha Libre & Laughs: Ladies' Night suplexes the patriarchy.
Doors open at 6 p.m. for a 7 p.m. showtime; admission is $10. Tickets are available at the door and from the Oriental Theater events page.
9. Guest List
Sunday, October 16
We wrote up Ben Bryant's new sketch/standup hybrid showcase not long ago, but we're featuring it again because it's not only a well-curated and boundlessly inventive evening of comedy, but we believe it could have Best of Denver potential. In their earliest stages, comedy shows are not unlike fledgling birds; leaving the nest is fraught with risks, but if given the proper support, they can soar to great heights. Bryant collaborates on Guest List's sketches and interstitial characters with fellow Denver comic Harris Alterman, and found an undiscovered gem of a venue in The Bakery, a performance-arts space in a prime Ballpark neighborhood location. This month's show features local comics Jose MaCall, Mallory Wallace, Matt Cobos, Jay Gillespie and headliner Stephen Agyei, with appearances from the dancing Six Flags Guy and Nerds Who Vape.
Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets cost $5 at the door; beers are available for a donation.
Courtesy of the Nerd Roast
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10. The Nerd Roast: Monsters vs. Slashers
Friday, October 28
The Nerd Roast is justifiably one of the most popular showcases at El Charrito's Comedy Room Room. Though recent casts have strayed from the show's titular mission statement — seriously, Friends vs. Seinfeld? Is everyone who owned a TV in the '90s somehow a nerd? — the roast returns in fine nerdy form with Monsters vs. Slashers, just in time for Halloween. A literal murderer's row of filmdom's most popular masked killers, including Leatherface, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers (not an especially chatty bunch) and Freddy Krueger, will haunt the dais opposite classic Universal monsters like The Mummy, Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula and the Wolf Man. The Nerd Roast presents a unique challenge to its roasters, who must find a costume and write five new minutes of jokes too specific to workshop at open mics beforehand or repeat in any other context. With the right spirit, however, the Nerd Roast can achieve the perfect symbiosis of fandom and creativity, spiked with the sickest burns on the Front Range. (Conflict alert: Booking eight comics for this show can be a logistical nightmare for its hosts, and I am currently the only comic who's agreed to perform. I'll be appearing at the Nerd Roast as Dracula. )
Showtime is 7 p.m. Admission is free, but donations (collected for Planned Parenthood) are strongly encouraged.