Denver comedians, like most performers, are facing a massive work shortage.
"People are really completely screwed," says comedian Josue Flores. "They have virtually no means of income."
"It was something I thought of over the weekend," he says. "I was seeing it happening in other cities. Seattle has an artist-relief fund, and they've managed to raise over $130,000. There's a similar thing happening in Denver as well. A very broad artist relief fund was set up about a week ago. I decided to make one for Colorado comedy and comedians here in the state, as people are completely out of work, in terms of performing as entertainers and working as entertainers."
Not only are comedians out of their stage gigs, says Flores, but many also work in restaurants and bars, which have been shuttered.
The fund, which will start granting money next week, will fund comedians and struggling independent venues like the Bug Theater that have been vital to the local comedy scene.
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"It's a growing situation, day by day and week by week. None of us really know how long this is going to last for," he says. "Most positively, this is over in a couple months. Maybe it goes four to six months, which is fucking horrible if you ask me. That's why I set the goal for $100,000."
Flores, who is now 27, remembers back to the 2008 financial crisis and what it was like to watch out-of-work adults panic. He couldn't figure out why the ones collecting unemployment were upset.
"As a 27-year-old adult, I get it," he says. "It hurts your self-esteem, your sense of identity. I'm not working at all. I'm not doing anything. None of us want this. We want to work. We want to perform. I want to sell tickets. I want to advertise."
And short of that, he hopes comedy lovers support the Relief Fund.