Colorado may be a geographically isolated state, but our homegrown comedy scene rivals the breadth and quality of coastal media hubs. Queen City comedians are reliably innovative, hardworking and welcoming to outsiders, creating an environment that supports multiple shows every night and attracts talent from all over the country.
If you're eager to experience the highlights and lowlifes of Colorado comedy but don't know where to begin, look no further than our following guide. Each of the five shows listed below has stood the test of time thanks to capable hosts and producers, consistently high-quality lineups and enthusiastic crowds.
While readers can check out a wide array of different local shows nearly any night of the week, the following five are guaranteed to be worth your time and your dime, regardless of who's on the lineup. Keep reading for the five best locally produced comedy shows in Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins.
Weekly, dates vary
Comedy Works Downtown and Comedy Works South
Serving up ego-charring roasts to comics and crowds alike, Thick Skin proudly proclaims to be nothing less than "comedy at its rawest." Hosted by Mike Stanley (along with a rotating cast of cohorts), the show is essentially a bizarro and more biting version of Comedy Works' weekly new talent nights. Fusing the unpredictable anarchy of an open mic with the comedic precision of a well-produced standup show, Thick Skin juxtaposes fledgling comics (whose names are drawn at random from the "fuck-it bucket") with Comedy Works pros — though no one is safe from the verbal barbs of Stanley and his co-hosts.
Next show: Thick Skin will be sharpening its comedic blades once more on Monday, July 29. Visit the Comedy Works box-office page to buy tickets, $14, and find out more.
The Boulder Comedy Show
Every Sunday at 7 and 9:15 p.m.
Much to the chagrin of carless Denverites, both of Colorado's best weekly comedy shows happen well outside the Mile High City limits. For six years, the Boulder Comedy Show has contended with Sunday night football and the final season of Game of Thrones mania, hustling week after week to build and sustain a homegrown comedy success story. Produced by Denver-trained comedian Brent Gill — who also emcees each show during his frequent trips back home from Los Angeles — the show seized upon the promise of its then-new home at the Bohemian Biergarten, and now regularly sells out both its early and late shows. If chuckling through forkfuls of schnitzel while some of the best local and traveling comedians bring their funniest bits to a keg-festooned stage sounds like your boot of brew, then buy your tickets now and raise a glass to six more years of the Boulder Comedy Show.
Next show: The Boulder Comedy Show returns on Sunday, July 28. Find tickets, $5, and further details via Eventbrite.
Comedy at the Colorado Room
Every Thursday at 8 p.m.
The Colorado Room
Standup comedy can thrive in all sorts of unlikely environments, but it takes a truly special show to defy the will of Mother Nature herself. The Colorado Room is a relatively small and often crowded bar and eatery located right in the midst of Fort Collins's College Avenue bustle; as such, the venue has no indoor space to spare. What the Colorado Room does have available, however, is a large, covered outdoor patio dotted with heat lamps and a cozy fire pit. Heedless of the season, co-hosts David Rodriguez and Dan Jones carry on with Comedy at — or technically outside — the Colorado Room, rain, snow, or shine, bringing a steady parade of crushers from all over the country to entertain Choice City citizens for free. In addition to the Comedy Fort-sponsored Thursday night shows, readers can weigh in one laugh at a time as Fort Collins comics vie for a $100 prize during a weekly Sunday night open mic/comedy competition.
Next show: Thursday, August 1. Visit the Comedy Fort's Facebook events page for further details.
Monthly, last Saturdays, at 8 or 10 p.m.
Television's loss is Denver's gain. While local comedy fans were only given three seasons' worth of opportunities to watch Andrew Orvedahl, Adam Cayton-Holland, and Ben Roy on Those Who Can't, they can rest easy knowing they can see the Grawlix three every month in their old home at Denver's Bug Theatre. Equally dedicated to showcasing the city's funniest standups and introducing their loyal crowds to the best comics from around the country, the Grawlix have become so quickly re-entrenched in the Mile High comedy scene it can feel like they never left.
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Lucha Libre & Laughs
Bi-monthly, dates vary
$11 to $100
It's almost unfair. While all of the aforementioned comedy shows are consistent in their excellence, Lucha Libre & Laughs is the only place where you can see a woman who looks like Catwoman suplex a guy who looks like Khal Drogo. Winner of so many Best of Denver Awards we took a year off to give someone else a chance, the unholy hybrid of standup comedy and professional wrestling gets beefier and goofier with each passing year. Whether you're intrigued by the matches themselves, the unlikely spectacle of shlubby comics standing in a wrestling ring, or the butt-joke-laden color commentary of Nathan Lund and Sam Tallent, Lucha Libre & Laughs is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the Denver comedy scene.
Next show: Lucha Libre & Laughs steps back into the ring with Summer of Sleaze on Friday, August 2. Visit the Oriental Theater box-office page to buy tickets, $11 to $100, and learn more.