As the holiday season approaches, the entertainment calendar for November has plenty of comic delights for giggle gobblers. Sidling up to a table richly dressed with top-notch performers, local comedy fans will be heartily stuffed and belly-sore by the month's end. With options including a Denver comedy institution celebrating its fourth anniversary, two of The Daily Show's most accomplished correspondents dropping in for grand theater shows, club sets from movie stars and comic heroes alike, as well as a truly exceptional month of programming from both Comedy Works locations, it's a moveable feast of funny all November long. Keep reading for our top ten comedy events, in chronological order, with a rescheduled bonus at the end.
10) Andrew Orvedahl November 3-4 Both Comedy Works locations
Surfing the wave of good will following his smashing Tonight Show appearance, Andrew Orvedahl is having a banner year. A founding member of the Grawlix as well as the creator and co-host of the Narrators podcast and live storytelling show, Orvedahl has emerged as a real one-man crush brigade since releasing his album Hit the Dick Lights last year on Denver's own Greater Than Records. Join Orvedahl for a laugh-filled victory lap through both locations of his home club.
9) Cameron Esposito Wednesday, November 5 Comedy Works downtown
Already beloved in Denver thanks to her room-crushing sets at the 2013 and 2014 High Plains Comedy Festivals, Cameron Esposito has developed one of the most distinctive comedic voices of any performer to emerge from the thriving standup scenes of Chicago and Los Angeles. The avowed vest enthusiast certainly keeps busy, writing a regular column for the AV Club and turning in standout performances on shows like Conan, The Tonight Show and Maron. Her podcast and live standup showcase Put Your Hands Together is required listening for comedy nerds, but consistently hilarious enough for casual listeners to drop in whenever they're in need of a laugh.
The show begins at 8 p.m., tickets cost $15 on the Comedy Works website.
8) John Leguizamo November 7-8 Comedy Works South
John Leguizamo is best known as a sprightly character actor with a vast and diverse filmography that ranges from cult classics like Carlito's Way and Land of the Dead to the family-friendly Ice Age series to current blockbusters such as John Wick. Less well-known, however, is the fact Leguizamo started out in the New York comedy club scene and has continued to produce and perform one-man shows like Ghetto Klown, and the Spike Lee-directed Freak, throughout his career. Leguizamo's live act defies facile categorization. He's consistently funny without telling standup-style jokes. His act follows a personal storytelling format, yet portrays up to seven characters throughout the show. Leguizamo is always a magnetic performer, even in filmic abominations like the nerd-spurning screen adaptations of Super Mario Bros. and Spawn, so viewers are in for a treat when he takes the to stage on his own terms.
The early shows start at 7:15 p.m. and the later shows start at 9:45 p.m. Tickets cost $35 on the Comedy Works website. Keep reading for seven more comedy events.
7) Lewis Black Saturday, November 8 Bellco Theatre
Acerbic comedian and author Lewis Black is a thoroughly astute political comedian. Assuaging righteous outrage with laughter is every comedian's noble goal, but Black rises above the majority of his peers (at least those without their own eponymous television programs) with his keen analysis of social ills. His signature "Back in Black" segments, which frequently crescendo in frothy shouting fits, have been a staple of The Daily Show and predate Jon Stewart's tenure as host. He's also published two books, Nothing Sacred and Me of Little Faith, with a third, Black Christmas due on shelves in time for the holiday season. And now he's rolling though Denver on his nationwide "The Rant is Due Tour."
The show begins at 8 p.m.; ticket prices vary according to seating section. They're available for purchase through the Bellco Theatre website.
6) Tig Notaro Sunday, November 9 Paramount Theatre
Tig Notaro may enjoy the respect of her peers and acclaim from comedy fans, but she takes her work seriously. Her instant classic comedy album Live chronicled Notaro's life at a time of tremendous personal adversity, finding healing laughter in the face of fearful circumstance. In addition to touring regularly, Notaro has appeared on the Sarah Silverman Program, Inside Amy Schumer and Conan. She also co-hosts the podcast Professor Blastoff with Kyle Dunnigan and David Huntsberger. Come see a former Denver resident return to town with the "Boyish Girl Interrupted Tour."
The show begins at 8 p.m. Ticket prices start at $25 from Altitude Tickets.
5) InFauxmation Tuesday, November 11 Comedy Works South
There's a lot of political comedy going on in Denver this month, but laughing about the news is always preferable to letting reality sink in. Hosted by the gregarious and hilarious Brent Gill, InFauxmation asks comedians to stumble their way through riffing jokes based on the news headlines, with a special emphasis on news of the weird. With a lineup of fake experts that includes Andrew Orvedahl, Hippieman and Sam "Big River" Tallent, attendees will leave Comedy Works stuffed to the Gill with giggles.
The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $12 on the Comedy Works website.
4) John Mulaney Wednesday, November 12 Comedy Works downtown
Though his eponymous Fox sitcom inspired mixed critical reactions and recently had its run cut back by three episodes, John Mulaney remains one of the funniest comedians of his generation. His first special, New In Town, cemented his status as a standup, but Mulaney is a talented sketch writer and performer as well, appearing regularly on Kroll Show and co-creating Stefon, one of the very few Saturday Night Live recurring characters whose schtick never wore thin.
The first show begins at 7:30 p.m.,the second at 9:45 p.m. Tickets cost $35 on the Comedy Works website. Keep reading for three more of the top comedy events -- and a bonus.
3) Tommy Davidson November 13-16 Denver Improv
Tommy Davidson is a skilled performer with a prolific television and film career that includes roles in shows like Martin and In Living Color as well as movies like Black Dynamite and Booty Call. After starting out in Washington, D.C., during the 1980s comedy boom, Davidson joined the all-star cast of In Living Color and earned accolades for his impressions of Sugar Ray Leonard, Michael Jackson and Sammy Davis Jr.. Davidson maintained his standup prowess, however, and is heavily featured in the documentary I Am Comic.
Showtimes vary; tickets cost $25 on the Denver Improv website.
2) Arguments & Grievances 4 Year Anniversary Sunday, November 16 Vine Street Pub
The Westword lauded Arguments & Grievances show reaches its fourth anniversary this month, a banner achievement for one of the city's most unique comedy showcase formats. While Arguments and Grievances does have a sister show and podcast running concurrently in Chicago, the Denver chapter has developed its distinct identity over the years. Under the wry but stern stewardship of host and producer Kevin O'Brien, A&G has flourished into a showcase for costumed characters, where belly laughs rather than cogent counter arguments determine the winner. This month, Arguments & Grievances is celebrating accordingly with a roster of all-star debaters including Jordan Doll, Mara Wiles, the Grawlix, Christie Buchele, The Fine Gentleman's Club, Troy Walker, Elliott Woolsey and as-of-yet unannounced special guests.
The show begins at 10 p.m. As always, admission is free to everyone, unless O'Brien decides that you're a bag of human garbage.
1) John Oliver Wednesday, November 19 Temple Hoyne Buell Theater
Well-established as a standup and satirist in his native UK before moving stateside to become The Daily Show's Senior British Correspondent, John Oliver stood out immediately for his posh accent and biting wit. Oliver remained a prolific standup and actor during his days as a correspondent, hosting John Oliver's New York Standup Show on Comedy Central and occasionally popping up on Community as the smarmy Professor Ian Duncan. After demonstrating his hostly aptitude by filling in for Jon Stewart for eight eventful weeks, Oliver spearheaded his own satirical news magazine show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO. Though still in its first season, Oliver's show -- unmoored by network censorship and corporate sponsors -- tackles a much broader range of news events, including many more international stories, and encourages puckish activism from its viewers. Oliver is truly at the top of his game, so a chance to see him in a well-appointed theater setting is worth taking.
The show begins at 8 p.m. Ticket prices vary according to seating and are available for purchase through the Buell Theatre website.
Bonus) Broad City Friday, Denver 21 Bluebird Theater
Arguably the best new comedy series of 2014, Broad City debuted fully formed thanks to the finely honed comedic sensibilities of its stars and co-creators Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson. After starting out as a web series before being developed for television by Amy Poehler, Broad City quickly found a loyal audience. Forged in the esteemed comedy incubator of the Upright Citizen's Brigade theater, Jacobson and Glazer have developed a rapport and lived-in chemistry that rivals great comedic duos throughout history. After postponing a scheduled show back in March, the proud lady-stoners will close out the month on the Bluebird Theater's grand stage, greeted with open arms and cashed eyes by their local fans.
Doors open at 7 p.m; the first show begins at 8 p.m. and the second show begins at 10 p.m. Tickets cost $25 on the Bluebird Theater website.
Follow Byron Graham on twitter @ByronFG for more mildly amusing sequences of words.
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