It's summertime, and the laughing is easy in Denver this June, a month packed with comedic entertainments. From comedian-produced showcases at hip local haunts to movie stars headlining arenas, the month ahead offers comedic delights of both the humble and historic (like an appearance from living legend Carol Burnett) varieties. Kicking off with the fifth anniversary of Best of Denver award winner Lucha Libre & Laughs, the chuckles continue all month long. Keep reading for the ten best comedy shows in Denver in June 2018.
Lucha Libre & Laughs: Wrestle Party
June 1 to 3, 8 p.m.
Denver comedy's favorite wrestling show (and wrestling's favorite comedy show) Lucha Libre & Laughs celebrates five years of belly laughs and body slams with Wrestle Party, three consecutive days of rib-tickling ringside thrills. Featuring headlining comics Josh Fadem and Dicker Troy, Brooks Wheelan, Todd Glass and too many local mirth merchants to list here, each show offers guests a fresh batch of brawlers (including Japanese wrestling legend Kikutaro and LLL favorites like Lonnie Valdez, Allie Gato, Royce Isaacs and many, many more. As always, producer Nick Gossert will be on hand to referee poorly, host Bobby Valentino will host, croon and creep his way through the proceedings, and color commentary will be provided by Sam Tallent and Nathan Lund. Early-bird special tickets have already sold out, so make haste to the Oriental Theater's box-office page to buy yours, $20 to $80, and find out more.
Rebel Yell Comedy and Wing Night
Saturday, June 2, 10 p.m.
Denver comedy fans are blessed with a surplus of local talent, but the scene's well-produced showcases and enthusiastic crowds are also a draw for traveling comics who pop into town for shows. Rebel Restaurant's Rebel Yell Comedy and Wing Night — seriously, don't sleep on those wings — continues Denver comedy's welcoming tradition with a pair of hilarious New York comics (Samantha Ruddy and Jake Flores) joining local funsters Zeke Herrera and Olivia Schyling for a finger-licking and rib-tickling evening of jokes. Hosted and curated by Allison Rose, Rebel Yell proves that even the scene's scrappy underdogs can offer some of the best lineups in the city. Admission is free. Visit Rebel Yell's Facebook events page to learn more.
Carol Burnett: Laughter & Reflection
Thursday, June 7, 7:30 p.m.
A living legend whose influence reverberates through every kind of comedy (but particularly sketch and standup), Carol Burnett is appearing at Denver's Bellco Theatre for "An Evening of Laughter and Reflection Where the Audience Asks the Questions." After reshaping television in her image with the groundbreaking and still fondly remembered Carol Burnett Show, Burnett has never strayed far from the silver screen, charming audiences as an actor, comedian, panelist, host and talk-show guest. Indeed, her pace hasn't slackened a bit in her golden years. She won a Grammy for best spoken-word album in 2017, and her newest show, A Little Help With Carol Burnett, premiered on Netflix in May. Laugh your Thursday evening away in the company of one of comedy's most seasoned pros, and perhaps even gain some insight into the mind of a woman who hasn't stopped being funny on stage or screen since the 1950s. Visit Bellco's AXS events page to buy tickets, $59 to $175, and find more information.
June 8 and 9, 7:15 and 9:45 p.m.
Comedy Works South
After developing her voice on the Midwestern club circuit, Nikki Glaser made a smashing television debut in the seventh season of Last Comic Standing, where she stood out with her frank material and unflappable stage presence, despite only advancing to the semi-finals. In the years since, Glaser has worked exclusively in television, appearing on The Late Late Show With James Corden, Conan and The Opposition With Jordan Klepper as well as in the film Trainwreck and in several sketches on Inside Amy Schumer. Lately, Glaser seems to have found a home on Comedy Central, where she hosted her own series, Not Safe With Nikki Glaser. The network also produced her latest one-hour special, the aptly named Perfect, in 2016. Visit Comedy Works' box-office page to buy tickets, $28, and learn more.
Anthony Jeselnik: Funny Games
Saturday, June 9, 7 p.m.
Leading the vanguard against delicate sensibilities, Anthony Jeselnik has built his career in the darkest corners of the comedic imagination. The first standup to appear on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Jeselnik parlayed his wickedly spiky performances on Comedy Central's Roasts into a bustling television career that included two seasons at the helm of his own show, The Jeselnik Offensive, hosting duties on the latest season of Last Comic Standing and parts on shows like Maron, Garfunkel & Oates and Not Safe With Nikki Glaser. He's also released a number of one-hour specials, including Caligula and Thoughts and Prayers. Jeselnik returns to Denver with a fiery new hour of material on his current tour, Funny Games. Admission is $35 at Altitude Tickets.
Sunday, June 10, 7 p.m.
A laboratory for laughs, Science Riot returns to the Clocktower Cabaret with a new name (the show was formerly called "Peer Revue") but the same novel premise. Rather than the unwashed reprobates who typically haunt this city's open mics, Science Riot's performers are upstanding members of the scientific community, representing a variety of STEM fields. Watch these braniacs embark on a crash course through the joke life, yielding hilarious and unpredictable results. Visit the Clocktower Cabaret's box-office page to buy tickets, $15, and learn more.
Jim Gaffigan: The Fixer Upper Tour
Sunday, June 10, 7:30 p.m.
Budweiser Events Center
The comic laureate of laziness and unhealthy foodstuffs, Jim Gaffigan has achieved a level of cultural permeation that most comics can only dream of. Gaffigan is one of those comics whose jokes are referenced in day-to-day exchanges and whose "inside voice" joke-telling style is instantly recognizable. His first book, Dad Is Fat, was published in 2013, and his self-released standup special, Mr. Universe, came out the year before that. Gaffigan has also appeared on Portlandia and all three Law and Order franchises, as well as in films like Super Troopers and Away We Go. Recently, Gaffigan became the executive producer and star of the eponymous Jim Gaffigan Show, which ran for two seasons on TVLand, and released his fifth standup special, the appropriately titled Cinco. Gaffigan's also been hitting the road with a vengeance these days, returning to Colorado for another arena-sized showcase at Loveland's Budweiser Events Center; visit the center's box-office page to buy tickets, $59.50 to $69.50, and learn more.
Saturday, June 16, 7:30 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. Visit Chautauqua Auditorium's box-office page to buy tickets, $28 to $58, and find out more.
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Saturday, June 23, 8 p.m.
To casual television viewers, Michael Che's rise to fame seems meteoric. Shortly after landing a highly coveted correspondent gig on The Daily Show, Che left the show within a few short months to join the cast of Saturday Night Live, where he co-hosts Weekend Update. Yet Che, a quintessentially New York comic, pounded the pavement and worked his way through the city's cutthroat club circuit for years before making his on-screen debut on The Late Show With David Letterman. Fearless, confrontational and contrarian, Che achieves a delicate balancing act of challenging audiences' dearly held beliefs while consistently delivering big laughs — a promise hinted at in his Comedy Central Half-Hour and fully flourishing in his most recent special, Michael Che Matters. Tickets are $29.50 to $39.50 at Altitude Tickets.
Kevin Hart: The Irresponsible Tour
Friday, June 29, 7 p.m.
Arguably the world's most famous comedian for the past ten years or so, Kevin Hart is an arena-sized entertainer in spite of his diminutive stature. In addition to releasing a number of successful one-hour specials since debuting with I'm a Grown Little Man in 2009 – including two that were released in movie theaters, a rarity in today's streaming-dominated paradigm – Hart's been an especially prolific actor who's committed to a number of blockbuster franchises, including the Jumanji and Ride Along series. Back with a hot new hour of jokes at a venue befitting his level of stardom, Hart returns to Denver with the Irresponsible tour. Tickets are $44 to $175 at Altitude Tickets.