The Ten Best Comedy Shows in Denver for March 2015
Ben Roy records his album live at Comedy Works this month.
In most places, March is a month of renewal, of freshness and growth. In Denver, however, March exists merely to taunt snow-wearied Coloradans with the false promise of spring. Though the sun may continue to forsake our fair city, Denverites are fortunate to have plentiful opportunities to bask in the welcoming warmth of laughter. For starters, Sexpot Comedy will be back, ready to branch out into a new home while still maintaining the quality of its best shows, local comedy clubs have top-notch headliners every weekend — and our local scene has creative new showcases to share.
10) Sexpot Comedy Presents: Adam Devine
Sunday, March 1
The Fox Theatre
Since it was founded a little more than two years ago, Sexpot Comedy has campaigned tirelessly to bring national attention to the Denver comedy scene by importing top-notch headliners and featuring a handpicked few local comics on their biggest shows. This month, in addition to programming its fledging namesake radio station, Sexpot has expanded its chuckle empire northward, making its debut as a brand Boulder’s Fox Theatre. Adam Devine is an insanely prolific comedic performer whose talents extend to acting and singing; in fact, Devine is much more widely recognized for his beloved roles on Modern Family, Workaholics and Pitch Perfect than he is for his comedy. Still, he co-created and stars in the Comedy Central series Adam Devine’s House Party, which showcases the talents of on-the-rise comics such as hometown hero Ben Roy, and heperforms constantly, traveling the country with feature act Adam Ray.
He'll land in Boulder on March 1, and while tickets are sold out for the 6:30 p.m. show, a second at 10 p.m. has been added. Tickets cost $25 via the Fox Theatre website and $27.50 on the day of the show.
poster design by Zeke Herrera
9) Crushin' Roulette
Sunday, March 1
Three Kings Tavern
We're always suckers for a good homophone pun, and the new show Crushin' Roulette has a pretty funny title to say out loud. The brainchild of Humboldt transplant and possible Sasquatch Zeke Herrera, Crushin' Roulette forces comedians out of their comfort zones with a roulette wheel of bizarre challenges. This month, out-of-towner Ben Kolina joins local comics Meghan DePonceau, Kira Blaus-Plissner and headliner Nathan Lund, when the wheel of misfortunes will include being forced to eat a habanero pepper onstage and performing a set while the audience hurls tennis balls at the comics.
The show begins at 8:30 p.m. in the basement of 3 Kings Tavern. Admission is free.
poster design by Jordan Wieleba
8) The Answer to Cancer: A Comedy Roast
Sunday, March 1
Comedy Works Downtown
One of the blessings of a career in standup is being part of the small but fiercely loyal community of comics sharing the same journey. When one of our own is down, the shock reverberates through the scene and comedians scramble to help out. So when Deacon Gray, new talent coordinator at Comedy Works and de facto mentor to Denver's fledgling standups, was diagnosed with cancer, comics were eager to give anything back to the man who inspires us to try harder. Now that the course of Gray's treatment is mostly completed and recovery is within sight, he's ready to take the stage again and will do so in grand fashion at "The Answer to Cancer: A Comedy Roast," an evening of cathartic entertainment featuring a dais full of fine local chuckle merchants including Gray, Phil Palisoul, Ben Roy, Rick Brayan, Nora Lynch, George McClure and emcee Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, with cancer itself in the hot seat. The goal for the event is to provide cathartic laughter for people whose lives have been touched by cancer, while giving something back to the healthcare professionals who toil in this field every day.
The show begins at 7 p.m.; tickets cost $12 on Comedy Works' website.
7) Nikki Glaser
Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7
Comedy Works Downtown
Nikki Glaser is a New-York based comedian with a formidable list of credits and an immediately engaging performance style. Despite their raunchy subject matter, her jokes are wryly observant and leavened by her considerable charm. Glaser has appeared on @Midnight and Last Comic Standing, as well as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno; until recently, Glaser could be seen co-hosting The Nikki and Sarah Show on MTV. Glaser has a soft spot in her heart for Colorado; she performed her first set at the University of Colorado at Boulder and still visits Denver a few times every year to perform.
There will be two shows each night, at 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Tickets cost $22 through Comedy Works' website.
6) Kayvan Khalatbari Roast
Thursday, March 12
As the beloved impresario and co-founder of Sexpot Comedy, Kayvan Khalatbari has done more to support the local comedy community than most of the comedians lurking around its periphery. While the founder of Sexy Pizza and the Denver Relief Center clearly has a great sense of humor, he's serious about running for a seat in the Denver City Council. No stranger to the frustrations of the political landscape, Khalatbari is a steadfast legalization activist who's been highly critical of Governor John Hickenlooper and his administration's ambivalence about enforcing the will of Colorado voters. To celebrate the next political phase of his career, Khalatbari will be publicly vetted by the comics he's helped to sponsor in a comedy roast show featuring Sam Tallent, Aaron Urist and Jake Browne, with the ganjapreneur himself in the hot seat. The show doubles as a fundraiser for Khalatbari's campaign, which culminates in election day on May 5.
The show begins at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $10 through the Oriental Theater's website, and all proceeds will be donated to Khalatbari's council campaign.
5) Lucha Libre & Laughs
Sunday, March 15
The Oriental Theater
Denver's most inventive and elaborate comedy showcase comes off the ropes with a lineup as muscular as the luchadors themselves. The brainchild of wrestling superfan and bumbling referee Nick Gossert, Lucha Libre & Laughs has consistently put on great shows and drawn a loyal fanbase out to the Tennyson hinterlands each month. Clearly a labor of love, Gossert hustles to not only book the funniest comics in Denver, but also juggle the schedules of all the wrestlers involved, renting the ring and doing the lion's share of promotion. The result is one of the most unique showcases in town. While it would seem like wrestling were the main attraction, the comedy is fully integrated into the show. In fact, the color commentary from Nathan Lund and Sam Tallent keeps the audience laughing during the feats of strength, often becoming the stealth highlight of the evening.The main event this month is a three-way title bout between local wrestling favorites and show regulars Colt Cabana, Royce Isaac and Sammy Six Guns Jr. Featuring standup from Sean David, Christie Buchele, John "Hippieman" Novosad and a surprise special guest, Lucha Libre & Laughs is the best place for Denver comedy fans to get suplexed in the funny bone.
Doors open at 6:30 for the 7 p.m. show. Tickets cost $10 through The Oriental Theater's website.
4) Gina Brillon
Thursday, March 19 through Sunday, March 22
The Denver Improv
A veteran of the New York comedy scene she's called home since she started performing at the age of seventeen, Gina Brillon is a skilled comedian and the 2012 winner of NBC's Stand Up for Diversity Showcase. She's appeared on Live at Gotham, The View and Chelsea Lately, and also had a prominent role in Gabriel Igelsias' The Fluffy Movie. Unlike her boisterous co-star, however, Brillon tells jokes instead of making noises. Surprisingly sharp and observant for a comic with such mainstream credits, Brillon delivers relatable material without feeling broad or stale; her first one-hour special, Pacifically Speaking, debuted last fall. Brillon defies easy categorization and keeps the laughs flowing.
Showtimes vary; for tickets, $14, to to the Denver Improv website.
3) Ben Roy: Live Album Recording
Sunday, March 8, Wednesday, March 11 and Sunday, March 29
Comedy Works Downtown
Comedian and Westword cover boy Ben Roy is about as widely known as a comedian can get in Denver. Though it seems like the rest of the country is finally catching up, people who only recognize Roy from brief television appearances are not only missing out on the singular experience of seeing him perform live, they often aren't even hearing his jokes in their windy entirety. Between moonlighting as the frontman for Denver music scene champions Spells, winging across the country to headline shows, and producing a new pilot for Those Who Can't with his Grawlix cohorts, Roy doesn't appear at his home club as much as he used to. But the ever-prolific Roy — whose previous recordings, I Got Demons and No Enlightenment in Sobriety, were instant staples of comedy-nerd album collections — has more to say than ever. Denver fans would be wise to check out one of the three opportunities to see Roy at the top of his game, and perhaps even record their laughs for posterity.
Showtimes vary. Tickets cost $12 through the Comedy Works' website.
2) Pump & Dump
Wednesday, March 25
Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret
Moms are an underserved demographic whose entertainment options are usually governed by screaming children. Momedian and songstress Shayna Ferm gets that. She knows that moms have more on their minds then the comparative absorbency of major diaper brands and, furthermore, that they could use a damn break already. That's why she and her co-host and cohort MC Doula started the Pump & Dump comedy show, which showcases comics with children bonding with their maternal audience over cathartic jokes that are far from the stale, family-friendly entertainment moms usually get. Ferm and company have a busy March ahead as their national "Bump Pump and Dump Validation Tour" winds down; the duo has big shows all month long, including March 7 in Fort Collins, the monthly engagement at Comedy Works South on March 18 and a final show on March 25 at Lannie's. This is all in addition to releasing a new video for Ferm's hilariously fucked-up song "Mama's Boy," produced by Andy Juett.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. show. Tickets cost $15 through the Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret website.
1) Sexpot Comedy with Andy Kindler
Saturday, March 28
Three Kings Tavern
Andy Kindler is widely known for his recurring roles on Bob's Burgers and Everybody Loves Raymond, but he's revered among comedy nerds for his scathing State of the Industry addresses at the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival, which in the past have included gems such as "Adam Carolla is like Hitler if Hitler weren't funny." He's appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman close to forty times and has a prominent role on season two of IFC's Maron. He also headlined one of the earliest monthly Sexpot comedy showcases, back when they were still struggling to fill up the Oriental Theater. Returning this month to shepherd the monthly showcase through its first engagement in its new home, the more accessible Three Kings Tavern, Kindler will be hosting a show featuring a roster of Denver all-stars headed up by Andrew Orvedahl as well as a coterie of yet-to-be-determined local crushers. Kindler is a comedy nerd hero who's personally approving the lineup, and it's hard to think of a better way for Sexpot to start its next chapter.
Showtimes are at 8 and 10 p.m.; tickets cost $15.
Follow Byron Graham on twitter @ByronFG for more mildly amusing sequences of words.
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