Clean Up Your Act!

While the “clean comedy” label may turn some people off, it’s far and away the most popular form of standup, pioneered by comics like Ray Romano, Bill Cosby and Jerry Seinfeld. And now Comedy Works has rolled out a Clean Comedy Contest, with forty amateur stand-ups competing to represent Denver in the finals of the Great American Comedy Festival. “When you attach the word ‘clean’ to something, it can create a mental block in some comics — even if their set is usually clean anyway,” says Deacon Gray, event organizer and winner of a 2008 clean competition. “Clean and edgy aren’t necessarily exclusive. If you can work clean, you’re more likely to get on television and get college and corporate work, which are very lucrative.”

Does cleaning up your act suffocate creativity? Not according to Gray. “I look at my act like a painting,” he says. “And bad language and certain subjects are just uncommon colors, like chrome or fuchsia — which for some paintings are appropriate, but they’re not common. So if someone says, ‘You have to paint a painting but you can’t use chrome,’ that’s not a huge restriction.”

The Clean Comedy Contest begins tonight at 7:30 p.m. and continues for the next three Wednesdays at Comedy Works South, 5345 Landmark Place in Greenwood Village. Tickets are $12; for more information, go to
Wednesdays, 7:30 p.m. Starts: April 17. Continues through May 8, 2013

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Josiah Hesse