Hampton Yount, a rising star on the national comedy circuit, will bring his hilarious laugh-attack to Sexpot Comedy at the Oriental Theater tonight, when Sexpot cofounder Andy Juett will be celebrating a birthday -- not to mention the imminent launch of sexpotcomedy.com and the upcoming one-year anniversary of the live series. "We've been really fortunate to have a lot of friends come through town and do the show," Juett says. "We book the types of comics that raise eyebrows due to the caliber of our national and local acts."
The continued support is reflected in Denver's burgeoning comedy scene. It's been growing pretty rapidly for the last couple of years," he reports. "Month after month, the Sexpot show attracts new people who have never seen the show." And the audience isn't just larger, it's diverse: "This scene has been getting bigger than the core of mostly urban folks. We're seeing people from all walks of life who are interested in a good product. We're seeing a whole swath of different folks who just really enjoy comedy."
In advance of tonight's show, we caught up with Yount to ask what it was like to be on Conan, and what to expect from him here in Denver.
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Westword: You recently performed on Conan and recorded an album that same day. How did you prepare for those two events?
I mostly prepared for that day by staying in a bit, which is very counterintuitive. I had a good amount of prep spots, but Los Angeles has very few hour-long spots to run sets. I ran a one-hour set that I thought would be the material, but wound up using almost an entirely new show for that date. I thought if I could just run through the wording of the bits I knew, in the order I wanted, it could work out. So I stayed in and edited and edited my pages of jokes.The whole thing went amazing -- we got a full house and it came out great. Conan is my hero, so there you go. It was stressful but it was one of the best days of my life.
What was it like to do stand-up on Conan? Scary. I had been trying for a long time to get on. You finally do it and it's like all this build-up and then release. You've trained your mind to run that set in any condition, so it's like this compacted diamond. Oh, and I missed Conan's handshake, which is now forever burned into my retinas.
Earlier this year, you were on NBC's Last Comic Standing. What was that experience like? Were you happy with the results?
Hmmm. I was humbled they asked me to perform but I knew it wasn't going to work out. And it helped get me more work so I'm grateful. It went very well and they used like twenty seconds and cut to Roseanne laughing. The things I like to talk about are generally not on NBC on Thursday night, which is no one's fault. That's how it works. Do you want to see standup comedy? Go to a standup comedy show. World of difference.
In 2013, you were on Adam Devine's House Party. Tell us about the show and how you feel about your performance on the show.
Mostly I think America got to experience that my acting range is nil. But I got to do stand up and have fun. Brooks Wheelan and I wore the same kind of pants, which makes us laugh. I think I was trying to look cool, and Brooks just is cool. Be yourself, kids.
You won a battle with depression and weight loss to go on to be named "Comic to Watch" by Comedy Central, Esquire and LA Weekly. Do many comics go through these sorts of experiences?
My only win against depression has been admitting that I have it. Not just a cynical world view, but a chemical imbalance that needs to be acknowledged. Dealing with that reality helped me to lose a lot of weight. They're so very intertwined. I have empathy for you if you're struggling. I love that comedy can be used to take these sad things and make it fun and silly and take its power away. Comedian, animator and filmmaker Drennon Davis will be performing with you. What can we expect to see?
He's so amazing to watch; he does these amazing songs and audio loop machine tricks. He's well worth the admission. I'll also be demanding attention and waving my hands around. Some people call it stand up.
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Tonight's installment of Sexpot Comedy starts at 8 p.m. at the Oriental Theatre, and features local comedians Anthony Crawford and Aaron Urist, as well as Milwaukee's Sammy Arechar, in addition to Hampton Yount. Tickets are $10; buy them here.