June has arrived, and Denver's comedy calendar is full of follies ranging from Saturday Night Live alumni and a comedian supergroup to an improv presidential debate and a comedy festival masterminded by local standups. While the entertainment continues all month long, this June is front-loaded with particularly great comedy shows. Here they are, in chronological order.
10. The Comedy Get Down Tour
Friday, June 3
The Pepsi Center
Standup comedians rarely become arena-level entertainers, but an event like the Comedy Get Down Tour demands such spacious environs. With a roster boasting a dream team of industry veterans, ticketholders can expect an onslaught of laughter as Eddie Griffin, George Lopez, D.L. Hughley, Charlie Murphy and Cedric the Entertainer take the stage. Each of the five headliners has decades of experience laying waste to stages, with starring roles in namesake television series and loyal hordes of underserved fans. No matter what the performance order happens to be, there are no openers here.
Showtime is 8 p.m. Admission prices start at $52 and vary according to seating; tickets are available through Event Tickets Center.
9. Darrell Hammond
Friday, June 3, and Saturday, June 4
Comedy Works South
Darrell Hammond is the elder statesman of Saturday Night Live’s cast of players, with a record-setting fourteen seasons under his belt; he's beloved for his masterful impressions of celebrities and political figures such as Bill Clinton, Sean Connery and Donald Trump — a role he reprised this season after a brief hiatus. Hammond, whose natural baritone made him the only suitable replacement for dearly departed announcer Don Pardo, is so well-suited to the rhythms of the sketch show that it’s become difficult to imagine it without him. But in addition to his tenure at SNL, Hammond has appeared in a staggering variety of roles that demonstrate his range as a performer, including recurring parts on Are We There Yet?, Damages and the Scary Movie franchise. He also penned the harrowing memoir God, If You’re Not Up There, I’m F*cked, in which the heartbreaking details of his abusive childhood and personal struggles add to the sense of his current triumph as he does a standup tour of the country.
Showtimes are 7:15 and 9:45 p.m. on both June 3 and June 4; tickets are $30 and available on the Comedy Works website.
8. Crom West Comedy Festival
Friday, June 3, through Sunday, June 5
Check the schedule for participating venues
After making its Denver debut last year, the Crom Comedy Festival is back in the ring and ready to rumble. Co-producers and sporadically Denver-based comics Ian Douglas Terry and Matt Monroe have created Crom's biggest year to date, combing through hours of submission tapes to curate dynamic lineups consisting of only the best local and traveling standups and confronting the ground-level realities of managing shows in Atlanta and Omaha on the two previous weekends. Headliners at this year's Crom West include Denver's own Adam Cayton-Holland, Chris Cubas (@Midnight), Lauren Ashley Bishop (Tosh.0) and alt-comedy darling Chris Gethard. With local showcases like Room Room and Lucha Libre & Laughs folded into the programming, Crom West proudly marks Denver's place in the national comedy landscape.
7. Tony Rock
Thursday, June 9, through Sunday, June 12
The Denver Improv
Tony Rock is a Denver Improv favorite. After launching his career in Amsterdam — away from the considerable shadow of his famous older brother — Rock returned to the states and became a regular at venerated clubs like Caroline's and the Comedy Store. He's appeared on television series such as Battlebots, Everybody Hates Chris and Real Husbands of Hollywood, and in the films Hitch and Think Like a Man. Rock's effortless likability and relatable jokes make him a perfect fit for the club that's emerged as a true Stapleton staple.
Showtimes are at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Tickets cost $17 from the Denver Improv website.
6. Norm MacDonald
Friday, June 10, and Saturday, June 11
Comedy Works South
Norm MacDonald is perhaps still best known for his four-year stint on Saturday Night Live. He is a favorite guest on late-night shows, performing the final standup set ever on the Late Show With David Letterman. He's starred in many movies, including the cult classic Dirty Work and a handful of Adam Sandler films, as well as three television series; he became a judge on Last Comic Standing and also portrayed “Colonel Sanders” in an avant-garde series of spots for KFC. As a comic, MacDonald's wooly, halting rhythm and bizarre anti-logic push the boundaries of the standup form in exciting and unpredictable new directions.
Showtimes are at 7:15 and 9:45 p.m. Tickets are $38 and available on the Comedy Works website.
Keep reading for five more great comedy events.
5. Tump vs. Bernie: The Debate!
Saturday, June 11
The Boulder Theater
The 2016 election season has reached such a fever pitch of absurdity that it defies traditional mockery. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, while not remotely comparable as political figures (one man is a duly elected senator while the other is a racist doom goblin from reality TV), have inspired groundswells of populist support by forgoing typical campaign rhetoric and tapping directly into the wounded American psyche. With Trump vs. Bernie: The Debate, James Adomian and Anthony Atamanuik have burrowed into these absurd campaigns by embodying their outlandish figureheads in a series of satirical debates. The champion improvisers, who both cut their teeth during the heyday of the Upright Citizens Brigade, nail their impressions of the diametrically opposed candidates, who can only seem to agree that the word “huge” is pronounced with a “y.” The pair appeared together in a special that aired on Fusion and squared off on @Midnight, but they’ve recently embarked on a massive international tour that happily rolls through Boulder. While it’s unlikely that the comedians' real-life analogs will ever share a debate stage, it’s certain that the laughs at this debate will be yuge.
Doors open at 7 for the 8 p.m. showtime. Admission is $20 plus fees a the Boulder Theater website.
4. Marlon Wayans
Saturday, June 11
The Paramount Theatre
Few performers have careers as varied as that of Marlon Wayans. An actor with a filmography that veers wildly from genre to genre, including outliers like the heart-wrenching Requiem for a Dream, he specializes in ribald parodies like Scary Movie and 50 Shades of Black, as well as high-concept comedies that require elaborate special-effects makeup, such as White Chicks and Little Man. A consummate entertainer, Wayans has followed in the footsteps of his famous siblings and branched out into standup, delighting audiences across the country. While Wayans has stopped through Denver often lately, the pilot for his eponymous sitcom Marlon was picked up by NBC, so Denverites would be wise to check out his act before he gets too busy to go on tours.
Showtime is at 8 p.m.; admission is $30 plus fees via Altitude Tickets.
3. Sexpot Comedy Presents Jay Chandrasekhar
Sunday, June 19
There's no better way to spend — or ignore — Father's Day than being lovingly cradled in the resin-stained hands of Sexpot Comedy. The team has assembled a real corker of a showcase at the Bug this month, with comedian, actor, filmmaker and proud father Jay Chandrasekhar occupying the headlining spot. A founding member of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe, Chandrasekhar co-wrote, directed and starred in the films Super Troopers, Club Dread and Beerfest. He's proved himself equally skilled as a director for hire on shows like Arrested Development and Community, as well as in the big-screen adaptation of The Dukes of Hazzard. A true polymath, Chandrasekhar has a joke-telling prowess documented in the Broken Lizard Stands Up special. Local comics Mitch Jones, Preston Tompkins, Harris Alterman, Christie Buchele and Janae Burris fill out the rest of the lineup.
Doors open at 7:30 for the 8 p.m. showtime. Admission is $20 plus fees, and tickets are available from Nightout.
Sunday, June 19
Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret
For years, the Westword-lauded Propaganda! comedy showcase has brought Denver's best comedians onto one of the most unique stages in the city, consistently bringing delighted crowds to the base of the iconic D&F clocktower. That tradition will continue with new host Eric Henderson; this month's show features a fine lineup of out-of-towners including Danny Torres, George Coffey, Shane Torres and headliner Ryan Singer. We can guarantee that Propaganda! is always a safe bet in the giggle game.
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Showtime is at 8 p.m.; admission is free.
1. The Underground Comedy Showcase with Ryan Singer
Friday, June 24
The Soiled Dove Underground
From the beginning, the Underground Comedy Showcase has endeavored to set itself apart from Denver's other homegrown standup nights, but it's stepped up its game considerably over the past few months by attracting national headliners to erstwhile jazz venue the Soiled Dove. Producers and co-hosts Steven Agyei and Matt Monroe have lined up another great show for June with headliner Ryan Singer, a cult favorite among comedy cognoscenti, with three beloved albums under his belt and a podcast, Me & Paranormal You, beloved by comedy nerds and ghost hunters alike. Featuring visiting comics Shane Torres (Conan) and Danny Felts (Portlandia) along with locals Derrick Rush and Mara Wiles, the Underground Comedy Showcase is a fine way to close out the month.
Showtime is at 8 p.m.; tickets are $10 from Ticketfly.