The Ten Best Comedy Events in Denver in April

Tantalized by a glimpse of spring before our sunny hopes were dashed in snowbound oblivion, soggy and shivering Denverites are in need of a laugh. Fortunately, the entertainment calendar is chockablock with chuckles this April. With comedy legends new and old headlining our clubs and theaters, local shows that celebrate partnerships between comics and the weed and beer that fuels them, and a homegrown success story celebrating its biggest headliner yet, this month is flooded with rib-tickling revelry. Keep reading for the top ten, listed in chronological order. 

10. April Fools Comedy Fever with Phil Palisoul
Saturday, April 2
Jake's Sports & Spirits

Jake's Sports and Spirits is a sports bar first and foremost, its every wall adorned with multiple televisions and its menu full of tasty game-day classics catering to every kind of fan. To the delight of its regular clientele, Jake's doesn't change its sporty ways on the semi-regular comedy nights. Sealed behind a remarkably noise-muffling curtain in an adjacent dining room, host Leif Cedar cultivates a remarkably club-like atmosphere during his comedy shows and stacks his lineups with multiple generations of Denver talent. Featuring local comedians Jason Keyes, Stacy Roquemore, Dickey Bill Wagner, Brian Justice and Vicki Edgar, the April foolery culminates with a headlining set from Phil Palisoul. Palisoul, who's written for sitcoms and performed all over the world, is an ace observational joke writer with surgical timing; this show is a rare treat for such an inauspicious yet surprisingly warm setting. 

Showtime is 8 p.m.; admission is $3. Tickets are available via Jake's Sports & Spirts Facebook page and at the door. 

9. Michael Blackson
April 8-10
The Denver Improv

Michael Blackson, the Ghanaian-born standup, adopted the King of Pop parodying stage name in the early '90s as he developed his act in the Philadelphia comedy scene. In addition to doing regular cross-country tours, Blackson has performed on The Arsenio Hall Show, BET's Comicview and The Mo'Nique Show. He's also dabbled in acting, turning up in Next Friday, 30 Rock and The Savages. A high energy performer with a truly unique comedic perspective, Blackson is the highlight of the month at the Stapleton comedy club.

Showtimes are 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. on the weekend, with an additional 7:30 p.m. show on Sunday. Admission is $25; tickets are available through the Denver Improv website.

8. Comedy Night at Chain Reaction
Friday, April 8
Chain Reaction Brewing Company

The Denver comedy landscape is currently littered with breweries that host some kind of standup showcase, but Comedy Night at Chain Reaction is where the trend started. Though its protean model spawned dozens of imitators, the Best New Comedy Show of 2015 has maintained a degree of success only rivaled by the simpatico Ratio Beerworks. The brainchild of former hockey buddies Chad Christofferson (who co-owns the brewery with his cousin Zack) and local standup Steve Vanderploeg, Comedy Night at Chain Reaction demonstrated the city's unquenchable thirst for craft beer and comedy pairings. This month's lineup includes Harris Alterman, David Glasspool, Jodee Champion and Philadelphia's Chris O'Connor joining headliner Aaron Urist for an evening of quaffs and laughs.

Showtime is 8 p.m. Admission is free, so go ahead and splurge on a fancy brew in a snifter glass.

7. Bill Maher
Saturday, April 9
The Paramount Theatre

Even after Bill Maher's decades in the limelight, the American public is still very much divided on what to make of him. But while people from every shade of the political spectrum may disagree with Maher's beliefs, few could deny his impact on the media landscape. Maher became a household name during the network run of his signature program Politically Incorrect — until he was fired in 2002 for making a controversial comment about the 9/11 hijackers. For over ten years, he’s seemed more at home on Real Time with Bill Maher, a wide-ranging political discussion that benefits from looser network restrictions on HBO. An outspoken atheist, Maher produced and starred in the comedic documentary Religulous, but he's remained a stand-up comic first and foremost. Maher recorded nine one-hour specials and continues to tour the country every year, including annual stops in Denver, presumably to sample our local cash crop. 

Showtime is 8 p.m. Admission prices start at $55 plus fees via Altitude Tickets.

6. Dana Gould
April 14-16
Comedy Works Downtown

Dana Gould may not be a household name, but he's done more to shape the current generation's comedic sensibilities than many who are. Gould penned several classic episodes of The Simpsons during his seven-year tenure on the writing and production staff, and has also had memorable roles on Parks and Recreation, Maron and Family Guy. He hosts The Dana Gould Hour podcast and makes regular late-night appearances on Conan, @midnight and Real Time with Bill Maher; he also has two hilarious one-hour specials, Let Me Put my Thoughts in You and I Know it's Wrong, under his belt. Gould's last few engagements have been rescheduled, so Denver fans are delighted for the opportunity to finally see him at the historic club.

Showtimes and ticket prices vary. Go to Comedy Works' website to learn more and buy tickets. 

Keep reading for five more shows.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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