With the dog days of summer fully under way, sweaty Coloradans may wish to heed the stars and avoid the sweltering outdoors. A second skyward glance, however, reveals that the August firmament sparkles with comedic luminaries all month long — many of them products of the Denver comedy brain trust. In fact, there are so many great shows produced by residents or recent expatriates that feature local talent in their lineup that we've added a bonus show to our list of the ten best comedy events in Denver this month. They're listed below in chronological order; keep reading to find out where to get your laughs in August.
Since comedy's inception, romantic foibles have fueled standup comics, providing an endless wealth of material. Love in the Works, a live-dating show created and co-hosted by local joke jockeys Brent Gill and Janae Burris, updates this time-honored tradition by presiding over a ribald and chaotic first date. Unlike other Comedy Works showcases, this one encourages audiences to get involved — and doesn't require guests to stow their phones in a Yondr pouch. In fact, audience members volunteer to be contestants and write their own first-date questions, and those who aren't chosen cheer even harder when the hosts gently mock those who are. Whether you're single, coupled or part of a polyamorous triad, delight awaits at Love in the Works. Still haven't had your fill of Gill? He'll be tearing it down at his home club all month long, with Infauxmation showcases scheduled on August 15 and August 16 and headlining dates August 20 through August 31.
The August 1 show begins at 8 p.m. at Comedy Works Downtown. The August 2 show begins at 7:30 p.m. at Comedy Works South. Admission to either show is $12; tickets are available on the Comedy Works events page.
The Funnyside Sessions — a standup, music, video and sketch hybrid showcase — demonstrates what Denver's disparate creative communities can achieve when they unite behind a good idea. Co-produced by Denver comedy power couple Mara Wiles and Kevin O'Brien, the show makes good use of Image Brew Studio's roomy acoustics and skilled production staff to create well-lit standup videos, sketches shot with cinematic flair, and a delightful time for everyone in attendance. This month's lineup features comedians Zach Welch, Meaghan Shaha, Mitch Jones and Erik Anker joining headliner Stephen Agyei for a celebration of Denver's DIY spirit.
Doors open at 7:30 for the 8 p.m. show. Tickets cost $5 at the door, and select brews from Ratio Beerworks are available with a donation.
8. Cristela Alonzo Thursday, August 4 through Sunday, August7 Comedy Works Downtown
Named one of L.A. Weekly's Ten Comics to Watch in 2014, Cristela Alonzo started her career touring with Carlos Mencia; she went on to be a staff writer on Mind of Mencia before branching out into shows at colleges and comedy clubs. After making strong appearances on @Midnight, Conan and Last Comic Standing as well as shooting her own Comedy Central half-hour special, Alonzo has fully emerged from the shadow of her controversial early benefactor. Alonzo made television history when she created the eponymous ABC sitcom Cristela, which, despite its brief episode count, maintains the designation of being the first network television series with a Latina star and show runner. This year Alonzo joined the garrulous panel on The View and lent her voice to the comedian-studded cast of Angry Birds The Movie, but standup has remained her wheelhouse throughout.
7. Sexpot Comedy Presents: Kurt Braunholer Sunday, August 7 hi-dive
Kurt Braunholer is a comedian whose absurd punchlines transcend the stage. He's performed standup on Conan, The Tonight Show and Chelsea Lately and appeared on New Girl, Drunk History and Bob's Burgers, but he's best known for outlandish stunts such as hiring a skywriter to spell out "How Do I Land?" across the skies, and riding a jet-ski down the full length of the Mississippi River to raise money for Heifer International. With show openers Ryan Nowell, Miriam Moreno, David Rodriguez, Nathan Lund and Anthony Crawford, Sexpot proves once again that it has the dankest comedy stash in Denver.
Doors open at 7 for an 8 p.m. showtime. Admission ranges from $15 to $17; tickets are available from the hi-dive events page.
Zander is a fourteen-month-old boy diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare form of ocular cancer, who has undergone a harrowing array of treatments, including the removal of his optic nerve and right eye. Terri Barton Gregg of Hold Please! productions, a close friend of Zander's family, has organized a number of benefit shows for worthwhile causes in the past, but rarely in more exigent circumstances than these. While comedians often feel like their job is a frivolous pursuit, performing for a cause demonstrates what they can do to give back. Gregg will serve as the master of ceremonies at this fundraiser that features local comics Mike King and Stephanie McHugh and the evening's headliner, John "Hippieman" Novosad, with musical accompaniment from Kenny Swagger.
Doors open at 5:30 for the 7:30 p.m. show. Admission is $125 and includes dinner and beer; tickets are available via Eventbrite. Readers who can't make the show but still want to help can donate to Z-Man's Cancer Fund on Give Forward.
Keep reading for five more comedy events.
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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.