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.
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.
3. Sexpot Comedy Presents Jay Chandrasekhar
Sunday, June 19 Bug Theatre
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.
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.
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.
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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.