August may be the final month of a particularly muggy summer, but Denver comedy is just getting warmed up: The month ahead has enough great comedy shows to tickle every rib and fancy in this fine city. From brainy podcast listeners and comedic locavores to air-humping enthusiasts and bloodthirsty wrestling fans, comedy nerds of every stripe can find their tribe and laugh the night away at any of the following ten events. Most joyously, the High Plains Comedy Festival returns to Denver for a fifth year, showcasing its best lineup yet.
Tim & Eric: 10 Year Anniversary Awesome Tour
Tuesday, August 1, 8 p.m.
As hard as it may be for aging fans to accept, it's been a full decade since Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! premiered on Adult Swim. In the ensuing years, the duo's nightmarish comic energy has influenced everything from filmmaking and sketch comedy to advertising. To celebrate their tin anniversary, Eric Wareheim and Tim Heidecker are embarking on a cross-country tour, bringing back beloved characters and introducing a bevy of new bits and songs. They'll be at the Paramount Theatre tonight, and few tickets remain, so act quickly. Admission starts at $42.50 via AltitudeTickets.
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Thursday August 3, 8 p.m.
Comedy Works Downtown
For Denver-based comedians, there's no greater reward for their years of effort than a headlining gig at Comedy Works, 1226 15th Street, an honor that very few of our scene's funniest people ever receive. Few comics have worked more or crushed harder than local favorite Stephen Agyei, who steps into the spotlight for his second-ever full-length set at his home club at 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 3 (the first show sold out). Agyei, a perennial New Faces contest finalist who co-hosts the monthly Propaganda! showcase, recently made his television debut on the Denver episode of Viceland's Flophouse. He's also appeared with Roy Wood Jr. on NPR's All Things Considered and participated in the prestigious RIOT L.A. Festival. A devilishly funny performer who can sell the bejesus out of a punchline with a simple facial expression, Agyei is one of the leading lights of the local scene, and likely bound for greater success on one of the coasts. Don't miss your opportunity to see him perform while he's still a local. Visit Comedy Works' events page to learn more and buy tickets, $14.
Air Sex Championships
Thursday, August 3, 7 p.m.
While this list typically focuses on standup comedy showcases, there's no fighting the seductive rhythms of the Air Sex Championships, wherein performers sync up their favorite sex jam and writhe and gyrate like they're satisfying an invisible lover. The championships pit teams of official competitors and brave volunteers from the enthusiastic crowds against each other as they wriggle their way through elaborate coital pantomimes. A panel of judges, typically composed of comedians (though past judges have included pro wrestlers and adult-film stars), weighs in and decides which performer humps empty space better than everyone else. It's all very silly, and that's precisely the point. The show has toured across the country and, along the way, inspired both the documentary Air Sex: The Movie and served as a framing device for the indie comedy Love & Air Sex. Visit the Oriental Theater events page to learn more and buy tickets, $10.
Sexpot Comedy Presents Kenny DeForest
Thursday, August 10, 7 p.m.
Syntax Physic Opera
Over the past few months, Sexpot Comedy's headliner showcases have settled into their new home at Syntax Physic Opera. An inviting hub for Denver creatives of all stripes, Syntax's red-velvet-adorned stage provides ideal aesthetics and acoustics for comedy and music alike. In the first of a pair of showcases it's producing this month, Sexpot welcomes Brooklyn-based comedian Kenny DeForest to run his hour. Named one of 2015's "Comics to Watch" by Comedy Central, DeForest is a festival favorite who co-hosts an esteemed showcase at Brooklyn's Knitting Factory and has also appeared on TruTV's Friends of the People and MTV's Bugging Out. Spotlighting local openers Derrick Stroup and Mina Thorkel, the showcase kicks off a week of local events DeForest is headlining. Visit Sexpot's events calendar to learn more about this show and to see the rest of the series' busy August schedule. Tickets, $7, are available from Nightout.
Lucha Libre & Laughs: Killing the Business
Sunday, August 13, 8 p.m.
After a series of free events at venues scattered all over town, Lucha Libre & Laughs returns to the Oriental Theater for Killing the Business, a high-flying and side-splitting blend of brawn and buffoonery. Kicking off the ringside action with a battle of speed versus strength, the yoga-hewn Mike Sydal seeks to settle a score with the beefy Royce Isaacs, and that's before LLL favorites like Lonnie Valdez, Japanese wrestling legend Kikutaro, the Left Coast Guerrillas and more step back into the ring. With comedians Chance Moreland, Timmi Lasley, David Rodriguez and Anthony Crawford filling out the bill, $10 seems like a pittance for all the entertainment in store. Join Nick Gossert, Bobby Valentino, Alabaster Cain, Nathan Lund and Sam Tallent on Sunday, August 13, to see why Westword has named Lucha Libre & Laughs Best Comedy Night for three years running. Visit the Oriental Theater's events calendar to learn more and buy tickets.
Laugh Night on Earth: High Plains Preview Show
Wednesday, August 16, 8 p.m.
Though the High Plains Comedy Festival doesn't stage its Baker takeover until the final weekend of August, a handful of visiting festival comics are arriving in Denver early and popping up on local showcases around town. Laugh Night on Earth, a free monthly showcase at the Sloan's Lake Alamo Drafthouse's BarFly is an official High Plains preview show, with a lineup full of festival performers including Georgia Rae, Matt Monroe, headliner Shane Torres and MC Zac Maas. Admission is free; visit the Facebook events page to learn more.
Propaganda! Featuring Jono Zalay and Shane Torres
Friday, August 18, 8 p.m.
Soiled Dove Underground
The High Plains pre-party continues with one of Denver's best standup showcases, Propaganda!, with co-headliners Jono Zalay and Shane Torres. Zalay, who holds a doctorate in neuroscience, is a brainy and charismatic performer who's in top form on his album Snake Oil. Torres is a comedy-festival veteran who's also appeared on Last Comic Standing and Comedy Bang Bang. Rounding out the lineup are Los Angeles's Leah Mansfield and New York's Jordan Temple, along with the reunited trio of Propaganda! hosts, Eric Henderson, Stephen Agyei and Matt Monroe. Doors open at 7 for an 8 p.m. showtime. Tickets are $10 at Ticketfly.
Sexpot Comedy Presents Josh Androsky
Wednesday, August 23, 7 p.m.
Syntax Physic Opera
Josh Androsky is a writer, standup comedian and karaoke enthusiast who hails from Los Angeles. After a precocious career in television that brought him into contact with human-rights-violating despots, Androsky began pursuing comedy, eventually running his own regular shows and becoming a festival favorite around the country. A viral video wherein a psilocybin-addled Androsky enthusiastically competes on The Price Is Right while maintaining the premise that he is a Skateboard Rabbi encapsulates his commitment to pulling off absurd spectacles with a showman's panache. A former Vice contributor and staff writer for Spongebob Squarepants, Androsky has appeared on Flophouse, Adam Ruins Everything and Comedy Central's Trolling for Greatness. The outspoken activist is currently running for Los Angeles County Sheriff — which is not a joke, but hilarious all the same. He'll be joined by a selection of visiting High Plains comics and Denver favorites. Tickets, $7, are available at Nightout.
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August 23-26, Showtimes Vary
Comedy Works Downtown
Greg Proops first gained national attention as a wry yet theatrical improviser on the late-’90s smash Whose Line Is It Anyway? but he's avoided the family-friendly pitfalls of his former co-stars. A raconteur and standup with almost vaudevillian lounge-lizard sensibilities, Proops also fancies himself as something of a public wit, as evidenced by his fantastic podcast, the humbly titled Smartest Man in the World, which he spun off into The Smartest Book in the World and international tour. The ever-prolific Proops also spearheads the Greg Proops Film Club, where he alerts fellow cineastes of classic films available on iTunes. Proops is kicking off his headlining weekend at the downtown Comedy Works on Wednesday, August 23, with a live "Proopcast" recording followed by five more opportunities to catch his act. Showtimes and admission prices vary; visit the Comedy Works events page for details and tickets.
High Plains Comedy Festival
August 24-26, Showtimes Vary
For the fifth year in a row, the High Plains Comedy Festival brings Denver to the forefront of the comedy world by inviting a rogue's gallery of national and local standups to participate in a chaotic yet judiciously curated weekend of joke juggernauts. The 2017 lineup includes top-notch comedians such as Rhea Butcher, Baron Vaughn, Eddie Pepitone and Todd Glass along with prodigal locals like the Grawlix, Sam Tallent and Kristin Rand, to name but a few distinguished members of a lineup that includes "over 100 insanely funny folks." Founded by Adam Cayton-Holland and produced by Karen Wachtel, the High Plains Comedy Festival spreads across Baker venues the hi-dive, Mutiny Information Cafe, 3 Kings Tavern and Badger's Pub with a pair of headliner showcases at the Paramount Theatre, spotlighting Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff of the My Favorite Murder podcast at 8 p.m. on Friday, August 25, and T.J. Miller at 8 p.m. on Saturday, August 26. VIP passes have already sold out — in record time, no less — but tickets to individual shows, as well as a full schedule, will be added to the High Plains Comedy Festival's home page in due course. In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I was also selected to perform at the festival.