The dog days of August are a fine time to laugh, so Denver comedy fans are fortunate that the month ahead boasts one of the funniest offerings of the year thus far. Whether you're a fan of trashy cinema, lucha libre wrestling, hilariously defiant women, or comedy nerd-bait shows like Arrested Development, Joe Pera Talks With You or Bob's Burgers, the weeks ahead are rife with comedic riches. Furthermore, August closes out with the Sixth Annual High Plains Comedy Festival, a celebration of the Denver comedy scene that welcomes some of the world's best comedians to the Mile High City. Keep reading for the ten best comedy shows in Denver circa August 2018.
August 3 to 5, showtimes vary
A prolific character actor and comedy-club veteran, Luenell first rose to national prominence as the opening act on Katt Williams's American Hustle Tour and appearing in the concert film of the same name. In addition to performing on Snoop Dogg's Bad Girls of Comedy and Stand-up in Stilettos, Luenell has had memorable roles in everything from comedies like Borat and the Think Like a Man and Hotel Transylvania series to action thrillers like The Rock and Taken 2. She'll be appearing all weekend at the Stapleton stalwart comedy club, so locals have multiple opportunities to see her perform. Don't miss them; Luenell Campbell may be billed by her first name only, but that's because there's no mistaking her for anyone else. Visit the Denver Improv's box-office page to buy tickets, $20 to $55, and to learn more.
Wednesday, August 8, 8 p.m.
The Oriental Theater's conquest of the guffaws of Denver-based comedy fans continues in side-splitting earnest throughout the month of August, and Eugene Mirman's headlining showcase is an early and formidable example of the storied venue's clout. Currently heard on Bob's Burgers and seen in the Netflix standup special Vegan on His Way to the Complain Store, Mirman was instrumental in shaping contemporary comedic sensibilities, both in his standup and appearances on Flight of the Conchords, Delocated and Broad City. Mirman hasn't performed all that often in the Mile High, so fans shouldn't miss out on this hopefully no longer rare opportunity. Visit the Oriental Theater's box-office page to buy tickets, $20 to $25, and learn more.
Lucha Libre & Laughs: Creative Has Nothing for You
Friday, August 10, 8 p.m.
Fresh off a monthlong hiatus with a reinvigorated yen for bloodsport, Sexpot Comedy's Lucha Libre & Laughs returns to the Oriental Theater for another Westword-approved evening of punches and punchlines. Hosted by lounge-lizard emcee Bobby Valentino, the key ingredient to Lucha Libre & Laughs' success is the butt-obsessed color commentary of Sam Tallent and Nathan Lund, who'll be on hand throughout the evening to roast wrestlers along with comedians Roger Stafford, Janae Burris and Adam Cayton-Holland. With opening brawls between LLL favorites like Lonnie Valdez, Allie Gato, Hoodlum, Len Parker, Cody Devine, Anaya, Arik Cannon and more, there'll be ringside thrills aplenty well before the climactic triple threat between current champion "Yoga Monster" Mike Sydal, DJZ and Dakota Draper. Visit the Oriental Theater's box-office page to buy tickets, $15 to $60, and find more details. In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I'm on this show, too.
Joe Pera, Jo Firestone and Conner O'Malley: The Blue Berry Tour
Thursday, August 16, 8 p.m.
Fans of Adult Swim's absurd yet heartwarming series Joe Pera Talks With You are in for a treat when Joe Pera, Jo Firestone and Conner O'Malley's Blue Berry Tour adds another gem to the Oriental Theater's formidably funny August calendar. Pera co-stars and co-writers Firestone and O'Malley are talented standups — they've written for and appeared on The Tonight Show and Late Night With Seth Meyers, respectively — who've been instrumental in shaping the show's utterly sui generis comedic voice. But there's something about Pera's good-natured awkwardness that makes every situation just a bit odder and funnier. So we encourage readers to do themselves a favor and binge-watch the whole first season — it won't take long; each episode is just eleven minutes long — before seizing the opportunity to see the three minds behind one of the of the most delightful shows on television. Find tickets, $15 to $20, and learn more on the Oriental Theater's box-office page.
Mile High Movie Roast Presents: The Warriors
Friday, August 17, 7:40 p.m.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (Littleton)
Come out and plaaa-aay at Mile High Movie Roast's presentation of The Warriors, Walter Hill's delightfully absurd odyssey through the boroughs of a fantastical New York City beset by colorfully outlandish gangs. Join Harrison Rains and Denver Comedy champion Nathan Lund for an evening of Mystery Science Theater 3000-style mockery inspired by one of the long-running series' most watchable entries. The movie even inspired a pretty fun video game. Longtime fans and first-time viewers are equally welcome to revel in late-’70s nostalgia and plentiful jibes. Find tickets, $12.50, and more information on the Alamo Drafthouse box-office page.
Saturday, August 18, 7:30 p.m.
Gates Concert Hall
A ubiquitous presence on screens of all sizes, Paul Reiser has been entertaining people for more than half of his life. From cinema classics like Diner and Aliens to zeitgeist-seizing hits like Stranger Things, Reiser appears to be busier than ever these days, with a regular role on Amazon's Red Oaks and in the soon-to-be-released comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me. He's also planning to reunite with Mad About You co-star Helen Hunt for a one-off reboot of the fondly remembered sitcom. It's a wonder Reiser has any time to hit the stage between all his on-screen commitments, but he'll be rolling through the Centennial state for a pair of weekend shows, starting Friday, August 17, at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and continuing at Gates Concert Hall (located in DU's Newman Center for the Performing Arts) on Saturday, August 18. Visit the Newman Center's box-office page to buy tickets, $29 to $49, and learn more.
The High Plains Comedy Festival Presents Chris Charpentier
Sunday, August 19, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Erstwhile Fine Gentleman's Club member Chris Charpentier may have relocated to Los Angeles, but he'll always be welcome in the Mile High. Catch an early glimpse of the upcoming High Plains Comedy Festival — and have your laugh recorded for posterity — as Charpentier records his debut album, Brain Thoughts, which will be released later this year on the taste-making comedy label A Special Thing Records. Celebrate the success of a hometown boy — Charpentier has also appeared on Those Who Can't and Jimmy Kimmel Live — while laughing the night away. Admission is $15 at the door and $10 via Eventbrite.
Kathy Griffin: Laugh Your Head Off World Tour
Wednesday, August 22, 8 p.m.
Ellie Caulkins Opera House
Kathy Griffin has never shied away from controversy, but a satirical photo spread of the comedian holding up the (fake) decapitated head of President Trump prompted enough handwringing to end her New Year's Eve telecast and forestall her prolific touring schedule for nearly a year. Fortunately, the modern news cycle delivers a fresh outrage every day, so Griffin's been able to weather her enforced hiatus and return to the stage fiercer and funnier than ever. A two-time Grammy and Emmy Award winner who holds the Guinness World Record for highest number of televised standup specials, Griffin is back with a vengeance on the Laugh Your Head Off World Tour, an opportunity for fans to hear the comic's own hilarious take on the Trump photo debacle. Admission is $45.50 to $125 at AXS.
High Plains Comedy Festival
August 23 to 26, showtimes vary
Six years in and still going strong, the High Plains Comedy Festival returns for another Baker-dominating weekend of hilarity. Founded by former Westword scribe and current Those Who Can't star Adam Cayton-Holland, HPCF is a tightly scheduled and carefully curated — seriously, fest producer Karen Wachtel does not fuck around — showcase that allows Denver standups to share a stage with some of the country's most prominent comedy creators while delivering three days of solid shows. The lineup, as always, is stacked with crushers of every comedic stripe. Heavy on returning favorites like Solomon Georgio, Baron Vaughn and Amy Miller, the 2018 edition also includes exciting debuts from comics like James Adomian, Emily Heller and co-headliners David Cross and June Diane Raphael, Paul Scheer and Jason Mantzoukas, of the How Did This Get Made? podcast. Tickets for the David Cross and How Did This Get Made? Paramount Theatre shows are available for $35 to $45; festival passes and tickets to shows at Mutiny Information Cafe, the hi-dive and 3 Kings Tavern will be available soon on the High Plains Comedy Festival home page. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll happily be participating in the fest again this year.
August 24 to 25, 7:15 and 9:45 p.m.
Comedy Works South
A comedian, writer, actor, burlesque dancer, singer-songwriter, fashion designer and avowed iconoclast, Margaret Cho has remained on the cutting edge of her medium for over twenty years. Though her initial foray into sitcom stardom, ABC's ill-fated All American Girl, was fraught with personal struggles and professional compromises, Cho persevered and forged a career filled with iconic performances, hilarious standup specials like 2015's PsyCho, and the ability to follow her muse wherever it led. Whether parodying North Korean dictators Kim Jongs Il and Un, or penning thoughtful books like I Have Chosen to Stay and Fight, Cho's ferocity, conviction and unique sense of humor are evident in everything she does. Visit the Comedy Works box-office page for tickets, $40, and to learn more.
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