February has arrived, bringing 28 days of mirth and merriment with it. In a city where locals can find live standup at different venues every night, a list of a mere ten events can only hope to scratch the surface of Denver's bustling scene. Indeed, this short month's calendar overflows with shows to suit comedy fans of every stripe, from sophists to sophisticates. Keep reading for the ten best comedy shows of February 2018.
February 2 to 3, showtimes vary Comedy Works Downtown
Jim Norton is an unapologetic advocate of brazen, uncompromising honesty. A comic's comic who honed his skills in the unforgiving rooms of New York City, Norton has developed a cult following over his long career. He has turned up on comedy-nerd TV favorites such as Crashing, The Jim Gaffigan Show, and Inside Amy Schumer and in films like Top Five, Zack and Miri Make a Porno and Spiderman. A rabid defender of free speech, Norton returns to Comedy Works' subterranean downtown outpost with a fresh hour of jokes and zero fucks to give. Showtimes and admission prices vary; visit the Comedy Works box-office page to learn more.
Todd Barry 30th Anniversary Crowd Work Tour
February 2 and 3 The Oriental Theater The Aggie Theatre
Todd Barry is a veteran standup best known for his appearances on such TV shows as Flight of the Conchords and Louie, as well as films like Pootie Tang and The Wrestler. His last special, Spicy Honey, marked a return to punchline-driven form for the dulcet-voiced comic; before that, The Crowd Work Tour — which consisted of nothing but riffs and good-natured audience mockery — demonstrated Barry's quick thinking and a particular facility for ego-deflating burns. To celebrate his thirtieth year in the industry, Barry is back on the road with another tour devoted to the art of extemporaneous joke-writing, and he's rolling through the Oriental Theater on Friday, February 3. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m. Readers in the Fort Collins area can also catch a completely different hour from Barry the following evening at 7 p.m. at the Aggie Theatre. Admission to either show is $20; visit the Oriental and Aggie box-office pages to get tickets and learn more.
Mile High Movie Roast: The Phantom
Friday, February 2 and 16, 7:30 p.m. Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake and Littleton
Though it's changed names and venues over the years, the Mile High Movie Roast is a Denver comedy institution. Spearheaded by local mirth merchant Harrison Rains along with a small ensemble of the city's nimblest riffers, the ongoing series screens cult classics and fan favorites ripe for mockery in a Mystery Science Theater 3000-inspired event tailored perfectly for comedy-loving cinephiles. Join Rains and Denver comedy champion Nathan Lund as they mock the purple-suited pomp of the misbegotten 1996 flop-buster The Phantom. Visit the Alamo Drafthouse box-office page to buy tickets, $12.50, and find out more.
Colin Quinn The "One in Every Crowd" Tour
February 8 to 10, showtimes vary Comedy Works Downtown
Despite a lengthy on-camera career that began back in 1987 (as the host of MTV's Remote Control), Colin Quinn generally seems most comfortable when he's telling jokes or gently roasting fellow comics. As the host of Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update, the gruff Brooklyner brought a weary yet punchy panache to the position, bringing the same verve to The Colin Quinn Show and Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn, two unfortunately short-lived efforts that have nevertheless proved to be enduring influences. On the big screen, Quinn often turns up in the filmic endeavors of his fellow SNL alums, including Night at the Roxbury, Sandy Wexler and Grown Ups, but he demonstrated unexpected pathos in Trainwreck. Standup has always remained at the forefront of Quinn's efforts, and his last three specials, Long Story Short, Unconstitutional and New York Story, experiment with the form while still delivering laughs. Quinn's latest tour, "One in Every Crowd," is similarly united by a central theme, and fans shouldn't miss the opportunity to watch the new hour take shape. Showtimes and admission prices vary; visit the Comedy Works box-office page for more details. Check Westword's arts section later this month for a Q&A with Quinn.
Brandon T. Jackson
February 9 to 11, showtimes vary Denver Improv
A writer, actor, rapper and standup comic, Brandon T. Jackson is a multi-talented performer who can effortlessly win over nearly any audience. An ace impressionist, Jackson got his start opening for high-profile comics like Chris Tucker at the Laugh Factory before amassing an impressive résumé of film and television credits including Mr. Robinson, BoJack Horseman, Tropic Thunder and the Percy Jackson series. Most recently, Jackson appeared with his fiancée on Oxygen's Living with Funny, a docu-series exploring the private lives of comedians and their loved ones. A Denver Improv favorite, Brandon T. Jackson is not to be missed. Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Admission is $20. Call 303-307-1777 or visit the Denver Improv's box-office page to learn more and buy tickets.
No Gods, No Masters: Kill Your Valentines
Saturday, February 10, 7 p.m.
El Charrito's Comedy RoomRoom
Among the strangest endeavors circulating in Denver's creative community, No Gods, No Masters is a puppet show designed to introduce children to the tenets of anarchist theory. Created and written by local comedian Roger Norquist, who is aware of his creation's absurdity and committed to seeing it through, the show presents adorable puppets performing sketches and singing catchy songs about bringing the system down. Until recently, No Gods, No Masters only existed in a few video sketches, but Norquist and company are teaming up for an inaugural showcase with fan-favorite characters Laozi, Emma and Old Man Slab live and in the plush, along with comedy performances from Anthony Crawford, Caitie Hannan, David Rodriguez, and Ben Kronberg. Fitting for an anarchist puppet show, interested parties can attend for the proletariat-friendly price of free, though donations in support of the cause are always appreciated. Visit the Sexpot Comedy Facebook events page for more details.
February 15 to 18, showtimes vary Denver Improv
A veteran of the New York comedy scene she's called home since she started performing at the age of seventeen, Gina Brillon is a skilled comedian and the 2012 winner of NBC's Stand Up for Diversity Showcase. She's appeared on Live at Gotham, The View and Chelsea Lately, and also had a prominent role in Gabriel Iglesias's The Fluffy Movie. Unlike her boisterous co-star, however, Brillon tells jokes instead of making noises. Surprisingly sharp and observant for a comic with such mainstream credits, Brillon delivers relatable material without feeling broad or stale. Her first one-hour special, Pacifically Speaking, debuted in 2014. Brillon defies easy categorization and keeps the laughs flowing. Showtimes vary. Admission is $17; for tickets and information, visit the Denver Improv events page.
Dairy Comedy Presents: Janae Burris
Saturday, February 17, 8:30 p.m. Dairy Arts Center
One of Denver comedy's most celebrated performers, Janae Burris paved her path to headliner status through tireless effort. In addition to co-founding the Pussy Bros. squad and co-producing its myriad showcases, Burris also nurtures the next generation of performers at the Black Buzzard Open Mic and took first place in the 2016 Comedy Works New Faces Contest. Burris is also returning to her roots in the theater this summer at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival's production of Cyrano de Bergerac. To buy tickets for Burris's show at the Dairy Center, $12, and learn more, head over to the Dairy Center's box-office page.
February 22 to 24, showtimes vary Comedy Works South
Very few comedians have amassed television résumés as impressive as Dana Gould's — and almost none have made it as far without a starring role on their own eponymous sitcom. Yet with an HBO special, two one-hour Showtime specials and guest appearances on The Late Show With David Letterman, Conan, Maron and Real Time With Bill Maher all under his belt, Gould has hours of material waiting to delight the newly initiated; he's also had prominent guest roles on shows like Anger Management, Seinfeld and in the dirty-joke-etymology documentary The Aristocrats. Behind the camera, Gould was a co-executive producer of The Simpsons and a producer on NBC’s Parks and Recreation. His monthly podcast, The Dana Gould Hour, is a hilarious and inventive exploration of what the medium can do. Lately, Gould has been working behind the scenes as the creator and executive producer of IFC's Stan Against Evil, a horror-comedy series that doesn't skimp on the scares, now in its second season. Showtimes and admission prices vary; visit the Comedy Works box-office page for more information.
Tiffany Haddish: The #SheReady Tour
Friday, February 23, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Paramount Theatre
After years of toiling on the periphery of show business, Tiffany Haddish got legit famous last year. In addition to landing a breakout role in the record-breaking box-office smash Girls Trip, Haddish hosted Saturday Night Live and recorded a live standup documentary called Tiffany Haddish: She Ready! From the Hood to Hollywood. Formidably talented and effortlessly charismatic, Haddish managed to rise from the Dickensian circumstances of her youth to stardom by finding laughter amid the heartbreak. Haddish's reign continues, with a role in the upcoming TBS sitcom The Last O.G., which co-stars fellow comedians Tracy Morgan and Cedric the Entertainer, which means local readers shouldn't miss the increasingly rare opportunity to see Haddish live. Admission is $45 to $55 via Altitude Tickets. A second 9:30 p.m. show has been added due to popular demand, but don't delay: Tickets are selling fast.
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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.