When Uncalled Four began, few people would have guessed that a bar show featuring Denver comics riffing on Cards Against Humanity-style prompts would grow into one of the scene's most popular nights. The show, which pits comedians against one another in a race to the gutters of irreverence, has been featured at the High Plains and Bridgetown comedy festivals, and manages to fill increasingly large local venues including the Alamo Drafthouse and the Oriental Theater. Both the audience prompts and the comedians' responses are diabolically funny journeys into the dark side of humor, offensive enough that walkouts are expected at each show and various busybodies have taken to the Internet to complain about the show's content — developments the organizers regard as evidence of a job well done.
Now Uncalled Four co-creators Jake Browne, Zac Maas and Samantha Sandt are creating a home version of their popular comedy game show. An unofficial expansion pack for Cards Against Humanity, "The Worst Card Game" culls the highlights from both the live Uncalled Four shows and cannabis-fueled writing sessions featuring former contestants. Sample cards from the expansion include Denver-themed gems like "Dealin' Doug, dealin' drugs."
With only three days left to go on their Kickstarter campaign (which reached its modest, initial thirty-day goal of $2,000 within hours) Jake Browne and his caustic cohorts are drawing closer to seeing their long-held idea finally take shape. "Our big goal now is to break $10,000," Browne explains. "If we do, we'll give all of our backers free tickets to the release party in December. Our live shows are the big money maker for us "but we'd rather throw a rager as a thank you to everyone who supported us. Wurstkuche is helping out with food, and on top of being a somewhat suggestive-sounding name that also includes 'Wurst,' they're cranking out some amazing food that's going to blow up in Denver. The idea of 300 people, a bunch of feet of sausage, our own beer and a night of offensive comedy is our dream."
There's nothing that captures Colorado than the union of comedy and beer, and Uncalled Four is getting in on the action with a new branded beer from Call to Arms Brewery. "We always work with local businesses, but most of them don't get us hammered for meetings, so we liked Call to Arms right away," Browne jokes. "Jesse Brookstein, Jon Cross and Chris Bell all came from Avery and are the real deal, and Jon is a huge Cards Against Humanity fan. When we started talking about what style of beer to brew, Jon and I were both really into the idea of something that looks dark but drinks light," Browne continues before concluding: "Dirty minds think alike, I suppose."
Zac Maas, Samantha Sandt and Jake Browne of Uncalled Four.
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As a sort of transitional step to creating a home game that players can enjoy without the structure of a live standup show, Maas, Sandt and Browne have begin hosting Uncalled Four Presents: The Worst Bar Game. A spinoff of the show that allows bar patrons to compete for prizes with Uncalled Four cards, these evenings have taken on a life of their own. "Brian Davis, who manages the Armoury, is really to thank for us building this cult following of regulars and a couple random drop-in teams every week," Browne says. "He opens just for us, donates the prize pool, and gives our teams fucking crazy drink specials." The game, free to all contestants, starts at 8 p.m. every Tuesday at the Armoury.
Be sure to check out Whiskey & Cigarettes, the weekly podcast about podcasts that Browne and Maas co-host with Denver comic and budtender Jake Becker. Find out more about the Uncalled Four Kickstarter here. Reach the group at uncalledfour.com.
Follow Byron Graham on twitter @ByronFG for more mildly amusing sequences of words.