By the time August rolls around, summer seems to have lost some of its luster. We've sweltered through weeks of muggy heat and unexpected downpours, Hollywood has already burned through its popcorniest blockbusters, and attractions close down as schools prepare to open. It falls to comedy, then, to entertain browbeaten Denverites -- and fortunately, the area is replete with giggles this month. With two showcases in Boulder's rapidly growing comedy market, a Red Rocks birthday celebration with an increasingly less reclusive comedy icon, and a homegrown comedy festival, there are enough great shows to keep you laughing until autumn.
10) Boulder Comedy Show Sunday, August 10 Bohemian Biergarten
While Boulder residents may know the Bohemian Biergarten as a fine place to go for a stein and a sausage, once a week laughs come roaring from the beer hall as the Boulder Comedy Show takes over. Seated viking-style at long wooden benches, patrons wash down their chuckles with a wide variety of brews, all in comically large servings. It's worth a visit every Sunday, but the lineup on August 10 is something special. Matt Baca, featured act Justine Marino and headliner Adam Cayton-Holland join host Brent the Gill for an evening of beery jokery that proves haughty Boulderites do have a sense of humor.
The show begins at 7 p.m.; admission is free.
9) Sinbad August 22-24 Comedy Works Landmark DTC
Star of '90s family movie staples like Houseguest, First Kid and Jingle All the Way, Sinbad has had a long and varied career since catching his first big break on Star Search, where he defeated Dennis Miller in a contest. Sinbad is a standup veteran, ranked as one of the best 100 comedians of all time by Comedy Central. He's appeared on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and the Food Network's Chopped Tournament of Stars: Comedians, and his most recent special, Sinbad: Make Me Wanna Holla!, aired on Comedy Central. A lesser-known Sinbad fact: He's a University of Denver alumnus, and he'll be returning to his old stamping grounds to headline the weekend, presumably to a chorus of hollas.
The early show begins at 7:15 p.m. and the late show starts at 9:45. Tickets cost $33 and can be purchased on the Comedy Works website.
8) Yeah Right! Wednesday, August 6 Beauty Bar
Yeah Right, Kirstin Rand and Nathan Lund's monthly showcase at the Beauty Bar, is widely regarded to be the worst comedy show in town, and including them on this list compromises our credibilty. Yeah, right! Actually, it's a wonderful, universally beloved show, and Westword's taste is impeccable and our integrity unwavering. Yeah Right! spun off from the Delusions of Randeur comedy show at the same venue and follows roughly the same format, wherein guest performers sit down with Rand on an onstage couch for a meandering post-set interview, only now featuring 100 percent more Lund quips. The lineup this month includes Miguel Colon Jr., Aaron Urist, Sam Tallent, Matt Monroe and Christie Buchele.
The show starts at 8 p.m.; admission is free.
7) The Dairy Comedy LGBT Show Saturday, August 16 Dairy Center for the Arts
Comedy season is back on in Boulder, as the Dairy Comedy Showcase returns after a brief hiatus. And it's coming back strong with an LGBT showcase featuring
The show begins at 8 p.m.; tickets cost $10 and are available through the Dairy Center's website. Keep reading for six more of the best comedy events of August.
6) Bill Maher Friday, August 8 The Paramount Theatre
After generations in the public eye, America is still very much divided on Bill Maher. But while people from every shade of the political spectrum may disagree with his beliefs, few could deny his impact on the media landscape. In addition to his long-running shows Real Time with Bill Maher and Politically Incorrect, Maher has written four bestselling books and produced and starred in Religulous, a satire of organized religion and the seventh-highest-grossing documentary film of all time. He's recorded nine one-hour specials and continues to tour the country every year during Real Time's production breaks. The avowed legalization advocate and public stoner rolls through Denver early on this month, presumably to check out a recreational weed shop or two and also perform standup comedy.
The show begins at 8 p.m.; tickets cost $55-$95 and can be purchased from Altitude Tickets.
5) Werewolf Radar Picture Show Wednesday, August 6 Roostercat Coffeehouse
Just the most recent of the many Cthulhuian tentacles growing from the Werewolf Radar podcast brand, the Werewolf Radar Picture Show melds host Roger Norquist's interest in the macabre with old-school pageantry. "Werewolf Radar Picture Show contains the greatest monster movies ever, hosted in creature feature fashion, along with magic, and rituals to sleeping gods," Norquist says. This month, pseudonymous hosts Oliver Krom and Joey Phantoma will screen George A. Romero's genre classic Night of the Living Dead. Norquist will also be joining his Werewolf Radar cohorts Jordan Doll and Nate Balding for a paranormal news update.
The show begins at 8 p.m.; there is a suggested donation of $3 to help fund the Buntport Theatre's youth program.
4) Sasheer Zamata August 15th-16 Comedy Works Larimer Square
Though the media scrutiny surrounding her casting may have overshadowed her debut on Saturday Night Live, Sasheer Zamata quickly emerged among the featured players as a multi-faceted talent who shines in wide variety of sketches. As a standup, she's opened for John Mulaney and appeared on Comedy Central's Comics to Watch Showcase. She's also turned up in sketches on Inside Amy Schumer, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. Here's a rare chance to catch her standup act early on in her rise to fame.
The early show begins at 7:30 p.m., the late show starts at 9:45 p.m. Tickets cost $23 and are available from theComedy Works website. Keep reading for three more of the best comedy events of August.
3) Mick Foley Sunday, August 31 Comedy Works Larimer Square
Three-time WWE champion Mick Foley is a bestselling author and widely acknowledged king of hardcore wrestling. The man lost an ear! His avuncular demeanor -- out of the ring, of course -- has won him a post-wrestling career as a color commentator, actor, standup and story teller. In addition to his manifold talents and formidable heft, Foley is an activist and humanitarian who dedicates time and resources to Make-a-Wish Foundation and ChildFund International. Having been inspired by the songs of Tori Amos -- as all humans with ears surely must be -- Foley has become an outspoken advocate for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network and volunteered over 550 hours talking to victims online. He'll be in Denver to perform his one-man show "Tales from Wrestling Past" -- a rare opportunity to see Foley live. The man lost an ear!
Showtime is at 7 p.m.; tickets cost $25 and can be purchased through the Comedy Works website.
2) Dave Chapelle at Red Rocks Sunday, August 24 Red Rocks Amphitheater
After years of avoiding the spotlight in the aftermath of his hit sketch show, Dave Chapelle has exploded back on the standup scene and is turning Denver into one of his regular stops. He was here in May, crushing a week of sold-out shows at Comedy Works and forever endearing himself to the local comedy scene by dropping by the Too Much Fun showcase. It's not only remarkable that Chapelle chose to return so soon, but that he chose to celebrate his birthday here. As it stands, this Red Rocks show is the only other performance Chapelle has scheduled for 2014, so don't take his frequent visits for granted yet, Denver. You never know when he'll disappear again for ten years.
Doors open at 6:30; the show begins at 8 p.m.Tickets cost $55-$65 and be purchased through the Red Rocks website.
1) High Plains Comedy Festival August 22-23 McNichols Building
After a smashing inaugural last year, the High Plains Comedy Festival rides again this summer with a lineup overstuffed with national crushers like Beth Stelling, Sean Patton, Kate Berlant and Cameron Esposito (to name only a few), along with local favorites like the Grawlix, the Fine Gentleman's Club, Troy Walker and Adrian Mesa joining headliners Kumail Nanjiani, T.J. Miller and Pete Holmes for a two-day giggle gauntlet. While the main event occurs at the McNichols Building in Civic Center Park, the rest of the fest is held in the Baker neighborhood, where one show is merely a drunken stumble away from the next. Hi-Dive, 3 Kings Tavern, Mutiny Information Cafe, TRVE Brewing and Illegal Pete's will also host comedy showcases, live podcast recordings and other festival events. Check out the official High Plains website for more information. Ticket prices for individual shows vary, but weekend pass for the entire festival cost $100 and is available from the High Plains website.
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Follow Byron Graham on twitter @ByronFG for more mildly amusing sequences of words.