In an era when reality gets more outlandishly terrible with each passing year, saying farewell to the preceding twelve months can be a deeply satisfying ritual. Yet as you raise your cup of kindness to the new year, the laughs that carried us through 2019 should — like old acquaintances — not be forgot. Those memories ought to be cherished every bit as much as future experiences. And as far as future experiences go, the days ahead are replete with comedic opportunity. Keep reading for ten great ways to ignite 2020 with plenty of funny.
Chris Charpentier, Sam Tallent, Bobby Crane and Nathan Lund of the Fine Gentleman's Club reunite for one more Too Much Fun!
Too Much Fun! With the Fine Gentleman's Club
Wednesday, January 1, 8 p.m. Rock Steady
Cue up Mountain's "Mississippi Queen" and prepare to huff some paint: Too Much Fun! is back from the dead and hungry for guts. Once a weekly fixture of the local laugh-scape, the show that Nathan Lund, Sam Tallent, Chris Charpentier and Bobby Crane co-created as fledgling comedians eventually welcomed headliners like Ali Wong and Dave Chappelle to the cozy stage of the long-shuttered Deer Pile performance space before they disbanded three years ago. Reuniting under the Fine Gentleman's Club mantle for a special, one-night-only edition of Too Much Fun! at the comedian-owned Rock Steady, Crane, Lund, Tallent and Charpentier are ringing in 2020 with a generous serving of the gleefully anarchic comedy Denver has been missing. Including performances from the unofficial fifth gent, Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, along with a surprise lineup of nostalgic favorites, the evening offers a surplus of fun — as promised — to carry you into the new year. Find tickets, $10 pre-sale and $15 at the door, and further details on Rock Steady's Eventbrite page.
Thursday, January 2, 7 and 10 p.m. Belly Up Aspen
$75 to $205
Though he specializes in snarky commentary and portraying characters who put the "ugh" in "smug," David Spade contains multitudes beyond his on-screen persona. A Saturday Night Live alum who starred in a string of hit movies and sitcoms like Tommy Boy, Black Sheep, Joe Dirt and Just Shoot Me — along with the "so bonkers you simply must see it yourself" cult classic 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag — Spade assumes his smarmy archetype so definitively it can eclipse the undersung triumphs of his standup. Leavening his sharp pop-cultural mockery with vulnerable self-deprecating asides, Spade's signature wit endures in his comedy specials. From his debut on HBO's One Night Stand to his latest hour, My Fake Problems, the jokes land well beyond the relevant expiry dates of some of his references. Currently broadcast into cable-subscribing living rooms on a near-nightly basis as the host of Comedy Central's Lights Out With David Spade, Spade is in the midst of a joke-focused renaissance as he heads toward the Rockies for a pair of performances at the intimate Belly Up Aspen. Visit the venue's events calendar to buy tickets, $75 to $205, and find out more.
Lucha Libre & Laughs: That's Show Biz, Baby!
Friday, January 3, 8 p.m. Oriental Theater
$5 to $100 Rabid fans won't have to wait too long before Denver comedy presents the first opportunity to slake their collective bloodthirst in 2020: Lucha Libre & Laughs is making an uncharacteristically early return to the Oriental Theater this month with "That's Show Biz, Baby!" — a gut-busting and opponent-pummeling evening of entertainment from the show Westword loves to love. Check out the Oriental Theater events calendar for tickets, $5 to $100, and more information.
The Gateway Show
Friday, January 3, 9:30 p.m. Loonees Comedy Corner
Saturday, January 4, 8 p.m. International Church of Cannabis
$10 to $25
Though it was originally founded in Seattle by comic and cannabis aficionado Billy Anderson, the Gateway Show fits into the Colorado comedy scene like an impeccably rolled doobie. Presenting a "before" and "after" comparison of how standups perform with a generous indulgence in the Devil's lettuce, the show is a celebration of forgotten punchlines and stoned giggle fits. After settling into a Rocky Mountain high at Colorado Springs' Loonees Comedy Corner on Friday, January 3, Anderson and his merry marijuana cohort returns to Denver's International Church of Cannabis on Saturday, January 4. Head over to Eventbrite to buy tickets, $10 to $30, and learn more.
Wednesday, January 8, 7:30 p.m. Aggie Theatre
January 9 to 11, showtimes vary Comedy Works Downtown $18 to $26 Simply the Beth (and better than all the reth), Beth Stelling has been politely but unequivocally dominating comedy for the past few years. A veteran of Chicago's venerated standup, improv and theater communities, Stelling followed her aforementioned album by turning in stellar performances on Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Netflix's The Standups, while writing for shows like Crashing, Another Period and I Love You America With Sarah Silverman. Kicking off a weekend-long headlining engagement at Comedy Works Downtown with a Fort Comedy-sponsored Wednesday night show at the Aggie Theatre, Stelling graces the Front Range with a sextet of top-notch performances. Fort Collins readers can find tickets, $20, and more information on the Aggie Theatre box-office page. Meanwhile, Denver-based readers should head over to the Comedy Works events calendar to find seats, $18 to $26, and learn more.
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Byron Graham is a writer, comedian and gentleman thief from Denver. Co-host of Designated Drunkard: A Comedy Drinking Game, the deathless Lion's Lair open mic and the Mutiny Book Club podcast, Byron also writes about comedy for Westword. He cannot abide cowardice, and he's never been defeated in an open duel.