The Broncos weren't the only hometown heroes to hit it big this weekend: Comic/event entrepreneur Andy Juett also scored. The Sexpot Comedy mainstay and High Plains Comedy Festival co-founder is featured in the first installment of the Pepsi Halftime Show-Show anchored by Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer. Juett's episode aired in time for the playoffs; at least three more installments will air by the Super Bowl. Much of the Show-Show was filmed in Denver because Motive Made Studios is based here and wanted to use a “cool and up-and-coming place,” Juett says, noting that it was “total happenstance” that Denver is featured in the Show-Show while the Denver Broncos are in the big game.
In the first spot, Juett ambushed skiers and boarders on the gondola at Breckenridge, asking trivia questions in exchange for field passes to Super Bowl 50 while a chilled referee counted down the seconds. For subsequent episodes – a new one will roll out every few days leading up to the Super Bowl — the correspondents hit the 16th Street Mall and Union Station. After catching the first episode, we caught up with Juett in Los Angeles, where he just moved at the start of the year, like so many other Denver talents — including members of Tthe Grawlix and the Nix Bros. “I definitely miss Denver,” Juett says. "My family and friends are primarily in Denver.... Adjusting to this giant pond is huge for me. The comedy community here is my savior.” He's promised to post a goodbye letter soon to the folks he left behind (not entirely, however; he'll be back for Sexpot Comedy business – partnering with such local ventures as Illegal Pete's and MassRoots, as well as Denver Relief and Sexy Pizza – and assorted shows, including a February 9 gig at the hi-dive). In the meantime, we asked him to field some questions of our own.
Westword: How did the Super Bowl Pepsi gig come about?
Andy Juett: There's a great director/adman named Kohl Norville who I met earlier this year, and we hit it off big time. We talked about making something together when the time was right. This Pepsi thing came along, and initially he asked me to help him cast the Denver/Breckenridge part of the shoot, because the studio segments were shot in New York and the correspondent segments were going to be shot in Denver. It was a great opportunity to suggest some great comedians in the Denver area to be a part of the correspondent segments.
Like everyone else, I was submitted to the client — Pepsi — to be in the project as one of the correspondents, and I got it. Joselyn Hughes, who's got a cool book about crafting out, and Tim Kalpakis from IFC's The Birthday Boys are the other correspondents. Then Matt Statman, who heads Motive Made Studios, and Kohl asked if I wanted to write on this — and I was pumped to be able to write any words that would come out of any of our mouths. And some pretty decent dumb action, too. It's fun to have NFL players like Antonio Gates and Ryan Tannehill involved.
It was especially a thrill for me, because Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel were the news desk leads. Those guys and Human Giant and some of the comedians they work with from that era were people who solidified my interest in doing comedy – and performing or producing or making anything at all. They are crazy talented. Having an actor like Donald Faison from Scrubs in the Camp Halftime segments was just a crazy bonus. Definitely great, talented company.
Any other takes you can tell us about?
We shot a lot of footage in Denver with two pretty big film teams. The gondola shoot in Breckenridge was six hours in a gondola ambushing skiers and snowboarders and making them play a trivia game to win field passes to the Pepsi Super Bowl halftime show. Most people were pretty pumped. Killing time on that gondola that's ten to fifteen minutes long while it stops and starts allowed for a lot of improv with strangers and hours of bonus footage that won't be in the final product, because time is precious in terms of keeping these videos short and digestible….
The Denver comics who were in this thing definitely added some great ad-libbed stuff that may or may not make the cut; I'm not allowed to talk about it. Adrian Mesa and Stephen Agyei caught up with us on the streets of Breckenridge, and they were real silly.
There are four of these Super Bowl Pepsi Halftime Show-Show episodes, and the first one is out and racking up views, which is super-cool.
You've moved to LA. Why, and what will happen to your Denver gigs?
I moved to Los Angeles because there is business here that I want to pursue. That includes some Sexpot Comedy TV projects that my business partner, Kayvan Khalatbari, and I are working on, and acting, writing and producing other stuff. The works.
Sexpot Comedy's interests in L.A. will definitely go further, but the existing thirty or so live shows in Denver, fifteen podcasts, Sexpot Radio and videos and sketches will continue. There are preposterously great comedians and solid showrunners in Denver that we simply facilitate and help lend a bigger megaphone to, in some cases. Sexpot Comedy is in business-as-usual, plus some, mode, and I'll even be going back to host the show once a month and see family and friends and conduct Sexpot Comedy business.
That said, there is business and acting-type stuff that is swirling here that I've got to be in front of. More to come on that. Exciting things ahead.
Will you still be rooting for Denver?
I lived in Colorado for almost fifteen years, and in that time it became my home. The Denver Broncos are a part of that. I will be rooting like crazy for the Broncos. It sure would be sweet to see Peyton ride this herd of donkeys to the promised land. Big burro jockey. Manning.
And be on the lookout for more Pepsi Halftime Show-Show segments as we approach the Super Bowl. It'll make the anticipation even more fun.
Andy Juett's seventeen-year-old daughter and his ex-wife have started a fundraiser to help his ex-wife's colleague get to the Super Bowl — his dying wish. Want to help? Find the details here.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.