As you know, we're currently gearing up for our annual Best of Denver issue, which will hit streets and computer terminals near you next week. How best to get you geared up for our latest opus? By sharing the funniest award-winners from 2012. Who has Denver International Airport penis envy -- and what's Stephen Colbert have to do with it? Who should Peyton Manning have hired as a babysitter? And what's the funniest roller-derby nickname? The answers, and the laughs, are below. Check them out -- and be sure to check back next week for an all-new batch of bests.
Best Roller Derby Nickname -- 2012: Boo Boo Radley Roller derby names have the dual requirement of striking fear in the hearts of lesser opponents while making them giggle. Boo Boo Radley, aka Deirdre Sage of the Denver Roller Dolls, accomplishes both -- and manages a To Kill a Mockingbird reference, to boot.
Best TV Commercial -- 2012: "The Least Interesting Man in the World" "I always drink beer, and when I do, I prefer good beer," says the bottling-plant employee whose name tag reads "Bob" and who holds up a bottle of Breckenridge brew. The anti-big-beer-company beer commercial, produced by Breckenridge Brewery, managed to not only take stabs at the big boys, but spoof Dos Equis's "Most interesting man in the world" commercial as well. The spot -- all part of a "Truth in Beervertising" campaign -- ran on Super Bowl Sunday, although not during the game, and just locally on Fox 31. Still, it was plenty crafty.
Best Pot-Smelling Corner -- 2012: W. 6th Ave. at Kalamath St. The boom in medical marijuana dispensaries has not only made Denver one of the most medicated places in the United States, but it's also made the Mile High one of the dankest-smelling cities in the nation. On some streets, you'll catch just a faint whiff over the other scents of a bustling urban area; at other corners, you'll wonder whether a skunk was hit by a car nearby. The most chronic corner in town, though, is at West Sixth Avenue and Kalamath Street, where the smell of ganja is pleasantly overwhelming.
Best Beer-Smelling Corner -- 2012: 22nd and Arapahoe Streets The LoDo and Ballpark neighborhoods have been fertile soil for breweries, so much so that at Great Divide Brewing, an entire tank farm has sprouted out of the ground, bringing with it the strong and heady aroma of steeping grain and boiling hops. But like bagels, burgers, coffee and cookies, beer smells almost as good as it tastes, making the air around the corner of 22nd and Arapahoe streets a living, breathing advertisement for delicious homemade brews.
Best DIA Conspiracy -- 2012: Penis Envy Denver International Airport has inspired many fine conspiracy theories -- that it's a creation of the New World Order, that there are Martians living underground -- but none as uplifting as the one exposed on The Colbert Report this fall. According to William Tapley, who calls himself both "Third Eagle of the Apocalypse" and "Co-Prophet of the End Times," DIA is full of phallic symbols -- not surprising, since it's designed to look like a giant penis. We don't even want to think what role the new South Terminal will play in that scenario....
Best Love Match -- 2012: Cranbeary and Lee These two polar bears are bonkers for each other. Before Lee came to the Denver Zoo last year, Cranbeary was a ten-year-old widow whose romance with Frosty was short-lived, since the bear had succumbed to liver cancer a month after Cranbeary arrived in Denver. But Lee, a handsome twelve-year-old from Detroit, seems to have filled that gap nicely. The two bears spend their days frolicking in the habitat's pool, Dirty Dancing style, and then shamelessly spooning in public. Continue for more of our ten funniest Best of Denver awards from 2012.
Best Guess for How Many Times Tim Tebow Will Be on the Cover of Sports Illustrated in 2012: Four Stop the presses! Our crack team of researchers pegged the answer to this question at three, but that was before the Peyton Manning signing. Then we revised downward, briefly, to zero, before finally settling on four, thanks to Tim Tebow's trade to the New York Jets. Bright lights. Big City. Meet your new biggest star.
Best Person for Tim Tebow to Date -- 2012: Jackie Burns They say opposites attract, and who could be more different from the eternally good Tim Tebow that the Wicked Witch of the West? Tebow is out of Denver, and although the musical, Wicked, is coming here, it's also still playing on Broadway in the Big Apple, where the Chosen One will now throw passes for the New York Jets. Broadway star Jackie Burns, who plays the green-skinned Elphaba, is plenty cute and seems like a good fit, especially if she can put a spell on Tebow that makes him throw more accurately. Continue for more of our ten funniest Best of Denver awards from 2012.
Best Nanny for Peyton Manning -- 2012: Lindsey Vonn Colorado's best-known skier Tebowed before a race last December, inciting rumors that she had a special relationship with Timmy. The two turned out to be just friends, but now that Number 15 is gone, Lindsey Vonn can still get in on some quarterback action by becoming the nanny for Peyton Manning and his wife, who have one-year-old twins.
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Best News About Denver -- 2012: It's the Coolest City Unlike many of those other city-ranking, hit-seeking Internet lists (which have cumulatively described Denver as "the manliest, drunkest city"), last November's accolade from the Brookings Institution had some real science behind it. Demographer William Frey, a senior fellow with the Metropolitan Policy Program, parsed the numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey and determined that from 2008 through 2010, even as the hopes for a quick comeback from the recession faded, young adults between the ages of 25 and 34 were high on Denver...and proved it by coming here in record numbers. Although Denver ranked a mediocre twelfth in Frey's last survey, which covered 2005 through 2007, since then it had pulled ahead of such previous hotspots as Phoenix and Atlanta, adding a chart-topping 10,429 new, young residents, to rank as the country's top cool city. "What we see from the migration data," Frey said, is that "Colorado and Denver are probably a part of the country that will survive and possibly prosper when the economy comes back." Cool!
More from our Lists & Weirdness archive: "Photos: F*ck Yeah Colorado! celebrates the state you're in, 2013 edition."