Five choice moments from Denver's standup comedy scene in 2012

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5) The return of Bobby Valentino and the Mexican Fuck Machine

After local Colfax comedian/golem Greg Baumhauer resurrected his Bobby Valentino character for a few weeks, I caught the alter-ego perform his sinister lounge act one night at Deer Pile. Hosting a variety of local comic talent, Valentino repeatedly introduced a shy, good-natured man who remained at his side, seated at a piano: "Let's hear it one more time for the Mexican Fuck Machine, ladies and gentleman." Not only was the man not Mexican, but it was never entirely clear if he was in on the joke: He'd just nod and smile awkwardly, then noodle the piano a bit. The confusion felt by the audience led to a perfect kind of comic tension, winding everyone up before the next comic came on to set them loose. Not only is Baumhauer/Valentino a well-seasoned host, but he killed toward the end of the night when pointing to Rawlitix host Onus Spears and said, "Ladies and gentleman, the ghost of Ben Kronberg's future."

4) Ben Roy encourages marriage abandonment

After the crowd sat through some almost chuckle-worthy comics that were the furniture that came with the show at Comedy Works South, Ben Roy murdered with a just-off-the-road performance fit for a comedy special. After hitting hard with some material on snobby bicyclists, regrettable tattoos and blockading his family indoors during his black-out drinking days, Roy briefly lightened the mood by explaining how wonderful his eleven-year marriage now is, replete with blow jobs and mutual understanding about baseball.

Then he turned on the audience with this: "If you're miserable with the people you're living with, why the fuck are you with them? ... You're all laughing in here, but statistically, there's a lot of you in here that are miserable. Now we get to play my favorite game: Look and guess! You know who you are, you can smile through this, but you know. You're sitting under these flickering lights and you're just praying for a stroke."

After letting the tension marinate for a while, pointing out a few likely candidates in the crowd, Ben Roy encouraged these poor souls to "go home, grab that bag that's in the top of your closet, pull it down, stuff everything you own into it and FUCKING LEAVE! LEAVE! RUN! YOUR LIVES ARE ALMOST OVER! BE FUCKING HAPPY!"

Thankfully, this and other bits of dark awkwardness were released this year on Ben Roy's standup album, I Got Demons.

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Josiah M. Hesse
Contact: Josiah M. Hesse