In these uncertain times, the programmatic cheeriness of the holiday season can become oppressive. Fortunately for local sad sacks, nothing cuts through the happy humbuggery better than standup comedy. Coloradans can enjoy the bevy of brewery shows, live podcast recordings, and even a Christmas special dedicated to dirty jokes. ’Tis the season to be jolly, so keep reading for the ten best comedy events in Denver this month, listed below in chronological order.
Wednesday, December 6, 8 p.m.
Infinite Monkey Theorem
Local comic and trained sommelier Meghan DePonceau has a well-documented fondness for drink; in her dearly missed Amuse Booze showcase and on both sides of bars across the city, DePonceau's extensive knowledge of wine impresses and charms in equal measure. Her latest effort blends standup comedy with wines from Denver's own Infinite Monkey Theorem Winery, truly a pairing for the ages. December's tannin-rich lineup includes the woodsy stylings of John Papaioannou, the hazy notes of Georgia Rae, and DePonceau's former Amuse Booze co-host Anthony Crawford in the headlining spot. With a newly heated patio just in time for a remarkably mild December, this is the perfect opportunity to raise a glass to Denver comedy. Admission is free; visit Uncorked's Facebook event page to learn more.
Queen City Companion 3
Thursday, December 7, 8 p.m.
Mutiny Information Cafe
Though the misconduct allegations against Garrison Keillor (not to mention his problematic response to them) cast the long-running public-radio staple A Prairie Home Companion in a troubling new light, there's no need to dismiss the efforts of the thousands of performers who've been inspired by the show. Spearheaded by Christie Buchele of the Empty Girlfriend podcast and the Pussy Bros. standup supergroup, Queen City Companion invites a rogues' gallery of local comics, writers, musicians and other creatives to share their entirely fabricated tales through whatever medium suits them best. United by a common theme, the storytellers can let their imaginations run free, with everything recorded for posterity thanks to resident Mutiny lackey and beloved Denver comic Cory Helie. December's roster of performers includes comedians Mike Hawkburns, Timmi Lasley, Jay Gillespie, Stephanie McHugh and poetry-slam master Jovan Mays. Admission is free; find more details on the Facebook event page, where you'll also find a link to listen to the first episode.
We Still Like You
Friday, December 8, 7 p.m.
El Charrito's Comedy RoomRoom
Most comedians have a trove of embarrassing stories and painful memories under their belt long before they first pick up a microphone, but we tend to keep them to ourselves or enshroud ugly truths in punchlines. At We Still Like You, however, performers are encouraged to dredge up their very worst tales and lay the truth bare for a supportive crowd that chants "We still like you" at the close of each story. Based on Chicago's live storytelling show and podcast of the same name, Denver's iteration of We Still Like You is hosted by Rachel Weeks of the Pussy Bros. and includes live interpretative art from Denver comedy's busiest poster designer — and a very funny standup in his own right — Geoff Tice. December's storytellers include musician/entrepreneur Kelleen Shadow, comics Kira Magcalen, April Kaprelian, Greg Hutt, Jodee Champion, Andy Sanford (Conan), and Adam Cayton-Holland. Admission is free, but donations are strongly suggested. Visit the Facebook event page to learn more.
Comedy Night at Chain Reaction 3-Year Anniversary Show
Friday, December 8, 8 p.m.
Chain Reaction Brewing Company
After being named the Best New Comedy Show of 2015 by Westword, Comedy Night at Chain Reaction has maintained its distinction for three years now despite dozens of comics and brewers appropriating its basic formula. A collaboration between local comic Steve Vanderploeg and co-owner Chad Christofferson (onetime childhood hockey teammates with a shared love of jokes and craft beer), the monthly showcase is celebrating its third anniversary with a whole gaggle of goofballs. Join Vanderploeg, local comics Greg Ellis, Kira MagCalen, Derrick Rush, Caitie Hannan, and headliner AJ Finney, and raise a glass of Denver Comedy IPA to three more years of comedy at Chain Reaction. Admission is free. Visit the Facebook event page for more information.
Ratio Comedy Presents: John Tole
Wednesday, December 13, 8 p.m.
A festival favorite and talk-radio veteran, the well-traveled comedian John Tole has decided to call Denver home. In a city with hundreds of comics but few road-tested headliners, Tole's effortless stage presence, hilarious stories and kindly mien have already won him a number of gigs, including headlining the weekly comedy showcase at Ratio Beerworks on Wednesday, December 13. Join Ratio Comedy's Ian Douglas Terry and Andrew Bueno, guest emcee Andres Becerril and guest comics Kacy Dahl and Mike O'Connor in giving Tole a fond welcome to the Mile High. Admission is free. Find out more on the Facebook event page.
Wednesday, December 13, 8 p.m.
Call to Arms Brewing
Local comedy-loving brewhounds are truly spoiled for choice on Wednesday, December 13, as the gauntlet of giggles continues at Tennyson Arts District haunt Call to Arms Brewing. Hosted by local comedian and improviser Katie Bowman, the Kickback Comedy showcase may be relatively new to the Denver comedy scene, but it's managed to stand out in a crowded landscape thanks to top-notch lineups each month. December is no exception, as Bowman welcomes Meghan Deponceau and Matt Cobos to open for hilarious new transplant Al Jackson. Admission is free, and as with most of the events on this list, curious readers will find more details on Facebook.
DBC Comedy Showcasetacular
Wednesday, December 13, 8:30 p.m.
Denver Bicycle Cafe
The Denver Bicycle Cafe, an Uptown haven for lovers of beer and bikes, has been steadily improving its comedy shows over the past few months. In addition to a weekly comedy open mic (livelier in the summer months, thanks to the DBC's newly spruced-up patio), co-hosts Roger Haak and Zach Welch are producing well-programmed monthly standup showcases featuring some of the funniest people in the city. The "Showcasetacular" they've prepared for Wednesday, December 13, is an early Christmas gift to Denver comedy fans as Matt Cobos and Adam Cayton-Holland team up to delight the crowd of beery bicyclists. And wage slaves needn't worry about their tab: Not only is admission free, but DBC offers half-off drafts for its service-industry night. Visit the Facebook event page for more details.
Rising Sun Comedy Show
Thursday, December 14, 7:30 p.m.
Rising Sun Distillery
Anthony Armstrong has made a big splash on the local comedy scene since moving to Denver from Chicago a few years ago. For three years, he's been running a monthly standup showcase at Rising Sun Distillery, a local purveyor of small-batch spirits, filling its inviting tasting room with laughter. The proud tradition continues in December, with a lineup boasting the comedic stylings of Lila Bear, ShaNae Ross, Taheera Harris and Jo Kimbrell. In keeping with the charitable spirit of the holidays, the show doubles as a fundraiser for Florence Crittenton Services, which supports young mothers in need. To learn more and buy tickets, $5, visit the Rising Sun Comedy Show's Eventbrite page.
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Chuck Roy's Dirty XXXMas Comedy Show
Thursday, December 21, 8 p.m.
The Oriental Theater
A Denver Comedy holiday tradition that goes back years, Chuck Roy's Dirty XXXMas shows are a ribald rejoinder to the obligatory family-friendly entertainment one must endure throughout December. Where else can dick-joke devotees expect to hear about homeless twinks and Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus's holly-jolly junk? Presented in partnership with Colorado Comedy Shows, Dirty XXXMas returns to the Oriental Theater just in time to get a couple of solid chuckles in before Christmas. Visit the Oriental's box office page to buy tickets, $12, and find out more.
December 29-31, showtimes vary
Before embarking on her standup career, Cocoa Brown earned a master's degree in education. Given her scholarly authority and fearless honesty, her academic background makes sense. A versatile performer, Brown can pivot from a corporate-clean act to jokes that would make even the saltiest road dog drop his monocle. She's appeared on BET's ComicView and One Mic Stand as well as Comedy Central's Comic Groove. An accomplished character actor, Brown is a central player in Tyler Perry's repertoire, starring in The Single Mom's Club and For Better or Worse, which just entered its ninth season on OWN, and she's turned up in a variety of shows and films, such as Breaking Bad and Ted 2. Her special One Funny Mama premiered on Bounce TV in 2015. Brown will be at the club all weekend long, but her New Year's Eve extravaganza presents a fine opportunity to start off 2018 with a laugh. Visit the Improv box office page for tickets, $20, and more details.
Looking for more to do? Visit Westword's calendar online.