Featuring bouts of professional wrestling and stand-up comedy performances from local favorites Nate Balding, Brad Galli, Bobby Crane and Deacon Gray, Lucha Libre & Laughs, happening this Sunday, presents a strange hybrid of entertainment.
Hosted by everyone's second-favorite lounge lizard, the ribald Bobby Valentino, the main focus of the evening will be wrestling matches between both American wrestlers and lucha legends such as Golden Star, El Tecolote, Broke Back Billy, Arik Angel, Fuerza Chicanana and Joker Girl, with running color commentary throughout the night from comedians and wrestling fans Sam Tallent and Nathan Lund.
Apparently, Godzilla and King Kong are scheduled for a rumble in the ring as well.
In honor of Sunday's show, we caught up with Nick Gossert, the organizer of Lucha Libre & Laughs. Gossert is a local comedian and filmmaker for whom the event is both a passion project and a means of raising funds for his own luchador movie.
Westword: How did this event come together? What made you want to create the unholy union of comedy and lucha libre?
Nick Gossert: Simply put, lucha libre wrestling is fun. Stand up comedy is fun. Put them together, and you have fun overload. The idea came to me after the 2012 Too Much Funstival, during which we put together a few tag team lucha libre matches from the MxW Pro Wrestling promotions before the stand up comedy and music at a show. The crowd was entirely a comedy crowd, but they ate it up. They were loud and rowdy, cheering the good guys and booing the bad guys. Seeing that response planted the seed in my brain that eventually sprouted Lucha Libre & Laughs.
How does one book a good luchador these days?
Fortunately for me, and all wrestling lovers, Denver has an amazing independent wrestling scene. Whether you like the high flying lucha libre or hardcore American style, Denver has a show for you nearly every weekend.
Discuss the movie-fundraising aspect of Lucha Libre and Laughs.
I currently have a lucha libre feature film in development, which is a throwback to the 1960s Mexican wrestler vs monster movies, an obscure subgenre that I love so much. It's called El Tecolote Vs. The Body Thief from Dimension X. We have great talent attached to it, such as Blue Demon jr, Colt Cabana, Troma Entertainment's Lloyd Kaufman, former WWE star Honky Tonk Man, and the star, our heavyweight champion, El Tecolote. Unfortunately the funding fell through, so we're using the profits from Lucha Libre and Laughs shows to help fund the production. Is this the most overcomplicated way to finance a movie? Probably, but it's also a lot of fun.
Did anything particularly funny or anecdote-worthy happen at the last show?
Pretty much every moment of it! Nathan Lund and Sam Tallent gave great comedy play by play --they're both very knowledgeable wrestling fans. The crowd was connecting with both the stand up comedy and the stories being told in the ring. The moments that stood out the most are when Rokombo was knocked out of the ring (which was extra high up on the stage) was knocked through the ropes, fell into the band's drum kit, picked up the sticks and started banging on the drums until he was dragged back into the ring for further punishment, and when Sam Tallent came out as Josh Pain's manager. You've never lived until you've watched a top notch wrestling match with a great stand up comic talking trash from ringside, and getting involved in the match while the ref had his back turned. This opened the door for more comics to join with wrestlers. This time around we have Deacon Gray in character as Alabaster Cain managing the tag team of Johnny Crash and Arik Angel.
What are the most important details for people to know about Lucha Libre & Laughs?
I think people will be surprised by the format of the show. It's not wrestling, then comedy, then music. It's a comic followed by a match, followed by music, followed by comedy. It also doesn't matter what kind of wrestling you like, because we've got it all. If you think wrestling should be high-flying lucha libre, we've got that. If you like no-nonsense American style, we've got that too. Heck, we've even got a costumed Godzilla vs King Kong match. Wrestling, like comedy, is subjective. That's why we try to make it as fun for as many people as possible. Heck, our main event has Golden Star, a high flying Luchador, a solid comedy villain in Fuerza Chicana, we've got Broke Back Billy, an over the top gay luchador, and an American-style women's wrestler called Joker Girl.There really is something for everyone here.
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