Arts and Culture

Laugh It Up at Denver's Ten Best Comedy Shows in December

Join Nick Offerman for the All Rise tour at the Paramount Theatre on Thursday, December 12.
Join Nick Offerman for the All Rise tour at the Paramount Theatre on Thursday, December 12. Michael Gomez
Throughout the turmoil of 2019, comedy has remained a steadfast source of catharsis. While the programmatic cheeriness of the holiday season pervades every public moment of the days ahead — Christmas carols are already ubiquitous — December's comedy calendar offers plenty of opportunities for sincere ho-ho-hos. Keep reading for the ten best comedy shows in Colorado this December, and be sure to take note of the generous supply of locally produced offerings. Happy Ha-ha-holidays!

Brad Williams
December 5 to 7, showtimes vary
Comedy Works Downtown
$25 to $30

Brad Williams has achieved the rare distinction of evolving from the butt of other people's jokes to the creator of his own. After enduring a good-natured roasting from Carlos Mencia, Williams was summoned onto the stage, where he quickly won over the crowd and headliner alike with an impromptu rant about people getting offended on his behalf. Born with achondroplasia, a genetic disorder that causes dwarfism, Williams subverts the audience's expectations with sharply observed bits about his condition and how it influences the way strangers behave. He's performed on The Tonight Show, Dave Attell’s Comedy Underground, and Jimmy Kimmel Live, recorded two standup specials (Fun Size and Daddy Issues), and appeared in shows and films like Legit, Deadbeat, Little Evil and Mascots. But Williams always makes time in his schedule for his semi-annual return to Denver's Comedy Works, where he's headlining this weekend before taking a months-long sabbatical from touring in order to spend some quality time with his newborn. Hurry over to the Comedy Works box-office page to buy tickets, $25 to $30, and learn more. The early Saturday show has already sold out, so don't hesitate.  

click to enlarge Zach Reinert records his debut EP at Denver Comedy Underground on Saturday, December 7. - ANDREW BRAY
Zach Reinert records his debut EP at Denver Comedy Underground on Saturday, December 7.
Andrew Bray
Zach Reinert EP Recording
Saturday, December 7, 8 p.m.
Denver Comedy Underground (Inside the Irish Snug)
$5 to $15

Zach Reinert's mind is a factory churning out hilariously grim one-liners. Proving that brevity is indeed the soul of wit one DUI joke at a time, the highly prolific Denver-based comedian is a Comedy Works regular, a festival favorite, and kin to at least a half-dozen ironically slain imaginary relatives. Standing stock still and speaking in a Steven Wright-esque monotone, Reinert is a master of misdirection who unfailingly cuts the quickest possible path to the punchline. After a fortuitous encounter with a record-label owner, Reinert is gearing up to record his debut EP at the Denver Comedy Underground —a new(ish) performance space located beneath the Irish Snug. Dig into a heaping helping of Reinert's best bits while having your laugh recorded for posterity at his live EP recording show on Saturday, December 7. Visit Eventbrite for tickets, $5 to $15, and more information.

click to enlarge John Novosad joins a trio of local greats for a good cause at LaughCure. - GEOFF DECKER (HIDDEN VISION PHOTOGRAPHY)
John Novosad joins a trio of local greats for a good cause at LaughCure.
Geoff Decker (Hidden Vision Photography)
Sunday, December 8, 5 p.m.
Medical Center of Aurora

Gird your loins and patch your Adams; the healing power of hahas abounds at LaughCure, an attempt to bring a bit of good cheer to the staff, patients and families who occupy the Medical Center of Aurora oncology unit. A joint effort of Susan Davis, the center's Director of Community Affairs and Development, and the local comedy-boosting Mad Talent Agency, the show is dedicated to the memory of Deacon Gray, a comedian who mentored the entire Denver comedy scene and lost his own battle with cancer a little over a year ago. Sam Tallent, Adam Cayton-Holland and John Novosad share an unbeatable bill of Mile High heavyweights when they take to the makeshift stage at 4 East Oncology for an early-evening dose of guffaws. Admission is free and open to patients and their families.

Nick Offerman: All Rise
Thursday, December 12, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.
Paramount Theatre
$49.50 to $65

A journeyman character actor who worked his way up from independent theater to bit parts on shows like Deadwood and Will & Grace, Nick Offerman entered the pantheon of great sitcom characters when he landed the role of Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation. While he shares many of his most famous characters' qualities — Swanson's affinity for woodworking and smooth-jazz saxophone were reportedly inspired by Offerman's own experiences –— he has fully emerged from the mustachioed shadow of his endlessly quotable and meme-worthy co-creation. Having subsequently appeared in Fargo, The Founder and Good Omens, Offerman has excelled in a diverse range of roles since Swanson's swan song, but he's arguably most charming when he plays himself, like on the feel-good reality-TV crafting competition Making It or on live comedy specials like American Ham. Happily for local fans, Offerman's All Rise tour is heading to Denver with over an hour of songs, witticisms and advice for fine living. Visit Altitude to find tickets, $49.50 to $65, and go to the Paramount event calendar to learn more.

Ben Kronberg
December 13 to 14, 7:30 and 9:45 p.m.
Denver Comedy Lounge (Inside Colorado Sake Co.)

The Queen City of the Plains is replete with comedy clubs, grand theaters and massive arenas, yet smaller, comedian-produced shows are perhaps the most exciting element of the local comedy scene. Founded by the formerly Brooklyn-based comic and musician Anthony Kapfer, the Denver Comedy Lounge represents a major step forward for the creator-driven landscape of Colorado comedy, offering performers and fans alike the opportunity to find an alternative to restricted expression and two-drink minimums. Located in a back room of the Colorado Sake Co. — a new RiNo drinkery –— the Lounge continues its second month of weekly shows with a headlining appearance from one of its biggest champions. Ben Kronberg has appeared on Comedy Central's The Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, Late Night With Seth Meyers and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, yet always maintained a strong foothold in the scene that raised him, and the tradition continues with his full-throated support of the Denver Comedy Lounge. Find tickets, $10 for people and $5 for friendly dogs, on Eventbrite and further details on the Denver Comedy Lounge event calendar.

Underground Comedy Club: Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald
Thursday, December 19, 7 p.m.
Park Hill Branch Library

Laugh out loud in the library with no fear of being "shushed" when DPL's Park Hill Branch transforms once more into the Underground Comedy Club. Produced and curated by comedy-loving librarian Tara Bannon Williamson, the semi-monthly showcase presents its bookish crowd with a rotating rogue's gallery of Denver's funniest mirth merchants. The series returns this month with joke-telling veterinarian Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, an Animal Planet fixture and perennial local favorite. A star of Emergency Vets, standup veteran and erstwhile Rolling Stones roadie, Fitzgerald is a local treasure that Denver doesn't mind sharing with the rest of the world. The show is intended for audience members above the age of eighteen. Otherwise, it's free and open to the public. Visit the Underground Comedy Club's Facebook events page to learn more.

click to enlarge FROM THE HIP PHOTO
From The Hip Photo
Mortified Yearbook: Best of 2019
Thursday, December 19, 8 p.m.
The Oriental Theater

For comedy of the unintentional variety — often the richest kind — look no further than Mortified, a storytelling show that excavates the artifacts of adolescence in the search for cathartic laughter. From journals and love letters to embarrassingly earnest poetry, Mortified storytellers share every last detail of their youthful folly at an event guaranteed to make you grateful for adulthood. With outposts everywhere from Austin to Amsterdam, the show is a worldwide clearinghouse for teenage humiliation that has inspired a hit podcast, a Netflix miniseries and an activity book. Mortified Colorado producer David Blatt bids farewell to the calendar year with the "Best of 2019" showcase, spotlighting return appearances from fan-favorite storytellers and a wholehearted embrace of the giving spirit of the season, with a portion of the evening's proceeds going toward the benefit of the nonprofit Alliance to Lead Impact in Global Human Trafficking. Visit the Oriental Theater events calendar for ticket links, $16, and further details.
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Byron Graham is a writer, comedian and gentleman thief from Denver. Co-host of Designated Drunkard: A Comedy Drinking Game, the deathless Lion's Lair open mic and the Mutiny Book Club podcast, Byron also writes about comedy for Westword. He cannot abide cowardice, and he's never been defeated in an open duel.
Contact: Byron Graham