A June day sees Denver at its loveliest: its streets peopled with sun worshipers and its balmy evenings ripe with promise. But it's not just natural urban splendor awaiting residents this month: June has enough comedy shows in store to tickle every rib in town. From locally produced talk shows to frantic riff-offs, the sheer breadth of entertainment options is staggering. Denver continues to draw top-notch talents like Dave Attell, Paula Poundstone and Brian Regan, but readers shouldn't overlook the efforts of hardworking local comics, who hustle and grind to produce showcases that rival anything going on at the clubs. Keep reading for the ten best comedy shows of June 2017, listed below in chronological order.
Sexpot Comedy Presents: David Huntsberger
Friday, June 9, 7 p.m.
Syntax Physic Opera
Sexpot Comedy is back with a new series of standup showcases at artsy Denver mainstay Syntax Physic Opera. After a smashing debut last month, the series continues on Friday, June 9, with headliner David Huntsberger. Former co-host of the Professor Blastoff podcast and SYFY's Reactor, Huntsberger is a brainy joke writer prone to hilarious digressions. He's appeared on Last Comic Standing as well as Comedy Central's Premium Blend, and he was recently a staff writer for The Benson Interruption. Sexpot has also booked local comic Nolawee Mengist; Caitie Hannan will emcee. Tickets, $7, are available at nightout.com.
June 9-10, 7:15 p.m. and 9:45 p.m.
Comedy Works South
Dave Attell is the shlubby embodiment of standup comedy's subterranean id, perhaps more so than any comedian working today. Star of Comedy Central's cult-classic travelogue Insomniac, Attell has appeared steadily throughout his career in films like Trainwreck and Pootie Tang, as well as shows such as Ed and Arrested Development, but has always been at his best on stage. A maestro of filth whose proclivities were thoroughly documented on the Showtime series Dave's Old Porn, Attell's quick-witted raunch and fondness for the American road are on fine display in his recent special, Road Work. Returning to Comedy Works for the first time in years (he recorded the classic standup album Skanks for the Memories one rowdy night at the downtown location), Attell is a can't-miss proposition for true comedy fans. Tickets, $32, are available at comedyworks.com.
Thursday, June 15, 9 p.m.
The Deer Pile
Brian Flynn, a local comedian and co-host of The Revisionists podcast, has been quietly at work on Nighttime Tonight for months now, assembling a team of eager locals to write jokes and pitch segments for a new showcase modeled after late-night staples like Conan and The Daily Show, along with just a dash of Shandling-esque internecine struggle. Mostly however, Nighttime Tonight is intended to be a place where the Denver comedy community can gather and indulge its creative whims. Flynn and company will be collecting donations for a different charitable organization each month, a noble tradition that continues this go-around with proceeds going to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Join Flynn along with June's lineup, which features local comics Mina Thorkel, Charley McMullen, Jason Keyes and headliner Mo Alexander.
Casa de Haha: The Ellen Episode
Saturday, June 17, 1 p.m.
Denver Open Media
Ellen Degeneres has achieved the type of single-name ubiquity only available to sitcom stars or daytime talk-show hosts, two fields of historic achievement for an affable comedian whose proud advocacy neither diminished nor defined her media empire. Her eponymous talk show, with its entrance boogies, viral stunts and goofy guest appearances, invented a distinct style of its own, which makes it perfect fodder for the Casa de Haha treatment. The brainchild of local standup Daniel Reskin, Casa de Haha plays gently parodic tribute to a different chat-show staple each month — last month's was a riff on The Daily Show — for a studio audience at Denver Open Media. Join Reskin, in character as "Allen," along with guests DJ Alisha B and Denver's favorite veterinarian comic, Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, to enjoy this fun-filled taping, which includes all the free pizza and dancing your bellies and feet can handle. Visit the Casa de Haha Facebook event page to learn more.
Saturday, June 17, 8 p.m.
Paula Poundstone is an icon of the standup medium. Despite having achieved only fleeting success on television, Poundstone has toured the country telling jokes for over thirty years, winning awards and penning a handful of best-selling books along the way. Instantly recognizable for her pantsuits and cat-jokes persona, and beloved by the totebag-toting listenership of National Public Radio, where she serves as a panelist on the weekly quiz show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me, Poundstone remains quick on her feet and prone to riffs that make sure no two shows are exactly alike. Included on lists of both the best and the worst comedians of all time, Poundstone has had an undeniable influence on the craft of standup. Tickets, $35-$55, are available at altitudetickets.com.
Boulder Comedy Show – Fourth Anniversary
Sunday, June 18, 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.
For four years now, the Boulder Comedy Show has brought laughter to the historically joke-barren college town twice a night every Sunday. Seated Viking-style in the consistently packed taproom of the Bohemian Biergarten, beery audience members might be fickle, but they reward good jokes with hearty guffaws. Produced and hosted by Brent Gill, a dab-besotted CU alum with the stage presence required to warm up the crowd each week — no easy feat during any sports season — the Boulder Comedy Show boasts some of the best lineups in the state. Each week, Gill brings in the best local comics and national headliners; even The Daily Show's Hasan Minhaj dropped in for a surprise guest set. To celebrate the show's fourth anniversary, Gill is assembling a crew of Boulder Comedy Show favorites like Gary Anderson, Chrissie Mayr, John "Hippieman" Novosad and Mo Alexander. Admission is $5 at the door; visit the Boulder Comedy Show Facebook page to learn more.
Read on for more of Denver's best comedy events in June.
The Laugh Night on Earth
Wednesday, June 21, 7 p.m.
Barfly (at Alamo Drafthouse Denver)
Although it's been open for less than a month, the new Alamo Drafthouse location in Sloan's Lake is already making waves in the local arts community. The Austin-based franchise has fostered relationships with local comics throughout its Mile High Movie Roast series, but the Laugh Night on Earth, the latest effort from perpetually busy comedian Zac Maas, brings the comedy out of the auditorium and into Barfly, an inviting lounge nestled into the new space. With custom cocktails and a rotating roster of 32 different Colorado brews on tap, Barfly is an ideal space for unwinding with a drink after a movie or, more important, catching a free comedy show. Maas will kick things off in fine style with an inaugural lineup including local mirth merchants Cody Spyker, Janae Burris and A.J. Finney. Unlike most local comedy shows, the jokes start flying promptly at 7 p.m., so the organizers recommend arriving early to secure seats. Visit the Laugh Night on Earth Facebook event page to learn more.
Ratio Comedy: The Doom Room
Wednesday, June 21, 8 p.m.
Ratio Comedy staple the Doom Room calls upon comedians to be funny, absent the safety net of their joke books, and riff on a random assortment of topics that pop up on the nearby screen of doom, all while being heckled by the Darth Vader-esque voice of doom (Lucha Libre & Laughs' Nick Gossert). It's a steep challenge, wherein some of the performers ride a wave of laughter from the beery crowd and others crumble by the second prompt. For a performer, the show is a nerve-racking trial by fire, but for audiences who love a healthy dollop of schadenfreude with their jokes, there's no better show in town. Imported to Denver after originating in an Omaha dive bar, the Doom Room has cropped up in a number of different venues around town, everywhere from Crossroads Theater to the basement of 3 Kings. (Remember when there were comedy shows there?) This month's lineup features co-creator Ian Douglas Terry along with Nicholae Roscoe, Aaron Middleton, Josh Skillman, Gabby Gutierrez-Reed, Cory Helie and emcee Andrew Bueno. Admission is free. Visit the Doom Room's Facebook event page to learn more.
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Propaganda! Featuring Mike Stanley
Saturday, June 24, 8 p.m.
The Soiled Dove Underground
Detroit native Mike Stanley toiled for years in the Chicago standup scene before emerging as one of the city's leading lights and eventually winning the title of "Best Chicago Standup Comedian" in a People's Choice poll from the Chicago Reader. A true road dog, these days Stanley spends most of his time performing all over the country and overseas. His latest standup album, Shiner, is available on iTunes. He's a fitting headliner for Propaganda!, one of Denver's top-drawing locally produced showcases. The roster also features Timmi Lasley, Brett Hiker and Los Angeles's Nathan Mosher along with co-hosts Eric Henderson and Stephen Agyei. Visit Propaganda's Facebook event page to learn more. Tickets, $10, are available via Ticketfly.
June 23-24, 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Very few comedians have achieved arena headliner-level success, but even fewer of them got there on the strength of their jokes alone. While Brian Regan is famous for his broad appeal, befuddled persona and clean act, he's relatively unheralded as one of the sharpest joke-writers of his era. Over his decades-long career, Regan appeared on The Late Show With David Letterman 28 times before the venerated host retired, recorded roughly half a dozen comedy specials, including his classic, The Epitome of Hyperbole, but has only recently begun to appear on screen, in films like Top Five and in the upcoming Peter Farrelly-directed comedy series Loudermilk. Regan has a particular fondness (fully reciprocated by local comedy fans) for Denver, which is why he's taping his next standup special right here at the Paramount Theatre on July 23 and 24. Tickets, $49.50-$59.50, are selling fast; visit altitudetickets.com to get yours now.
For more Denver events, go to the Westword calendar.