October is a month for costumed ghouls and seasonal melancholy. As the autumnal leaves drift wanly into the dampened streets and crumble under the indifferent feet of passersby, many listless Denverites may find themselves in dire need of a laugh. Fortunately, this month promises a bountiful giggle harvest from Denver's comedy crops, with the return of some of our most creative local showcases, laudable fundraising efforts, and visits from comic luminaries drifting into town on the tide of nostalgia for decades long past. Though the confluence of sporting seasons means fiercer competition for the wandering attention of local entertainment-seekers, comedy is bringing its A-Game to town this month. Here are our ten best comedy events for October, now in chronological order.
10) Offensively Delicious Wednesday, October 1 Oriental Theater
Presented by Renegade Brewing and Sexpot Comedy, the inaugural Offensively Delicious comedy showcase is giving Denverites the opportunity to kick off the Great American Beer Festival with a laugh. And laugh they will with this lineup, which includes local chuckle merchants Andy Juett, Jordan Doll and Adam Cayton Holland, as well as Nikki Glaser. Glaser, who destroyed on a Sexpot showcase last year, recently appeared on Inside Amy Schumer and in the documentary I Am Road Comic, as well as the standup concert film Women Who Kill. While the headliners may take up the most poster space, the real star of this show is beer. The price of admission includes unlimited taste-testing from over ten different breweries.
Showtime is at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $40-45 and include unlimited beer taste-tasting. Visit the Oriental Theater website for tickets.
9) The Fine Gentleman's Club at the Denver Improv Thursday, October 2 Denver Improv
Westword cover boys and local favorites the Fine Gentleman's Club have cultivated a loyal following over the years at their signature Too Much Fun! showcase and its annual spin-off, Too Much Funstival. While the wooly format of their Deer Pile show offers something new to spectators each week, the Gents rarely have the opportunity to stretch their wings and really hold court in five to seven minutes of stage time. This month, however, the quartet will take to the stage at the Denver Improv, performing their most polished material during longer individual sets. Join Chris Charpentier, Sam Tallent, Nathan Lund and Bobby Crane for a fine, gentle evening of laughs ushered along by emcee Kevin O'Brien.
Showtime is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $5 (with a two-item minimum) and are available from the Improv's website.
8) Comics Against Civility Friday, October 3 The Armoury
Unofficially based on the popular party game Cards Against Humanity, this show asks local comedians to write out some decidedly uncivil topic cards and match them with the audience's own depraved suggestions. It sounds like an overcomplicated game of mad-libs (and sometimes sad-libs), but the format engenders friendly rivalry from the participating comics and encourages crowd participation that isn't speckled with heckles. Hosted by Whiskey & Cigarettes podcasters Jake Browne and Zac Maas, Comics Against Civility has quickly grown into one of the funnest comedy nights in town. This month, local favorites Matt Monroe, Brian Hocker and John "Hippieman" Novosad join recent Austin transplant Carey Denise to compete for the title of least civil comedian, which counts as a badge of honor in the joke game, where civility can be a liability to a performer. After all, when comedians take on civility, everyone wins.
The games begin at 7 p.m.; admission is free.
Keep reading for seven more of the best comedy events this month.
7) Morgan Adams Foundation Comedy Night Friday, October 3 Soiled Dove Underground
Comedy can often seem like a frivolous art form, and pursuing a standup career feels downright self-indulgent in the light of all the world's woes. At events like the Morgan Adams Foundation Comedy Night, however, comics can demonstrate their unique ability to unite people and draw attention to a worthy cause. Proceeds from ticket sales go towards the Morgan Adams Foundation (MAF), which helps provide crucial funding for Neuro-Oncology research at Children's Hospital. For this seventh comedy benefit show, MAF has put together a solid lineup featuring fine jokesmithery from Comedy Works regulars like George McClure, KOOL 105 morning show co-host Stephanie McHugh and headliner Sam Adams, a comedian and sportswriter who co-hosts "Sports A to Z" on 9News.
6) Eddie Griffin Friday, October 3 and Saturday, October 4 Denver Improv
Eddie Griffin has one of the most distinctive voices in comedy history -- quite literally. Raspy and emphatic, Griffin's distinct timbre is an instrument he commands with impeccable timing. After rising to prominence in the early '90s appearing on Def Comedy Jam and touring as Andrew Dice Clay's opening act, Griffin recorded his first special on HBO's long-defunct One Night Stand. He subsequently began popping up everywhere, from films like Coneheads and Undercover Brother to the interstitial skits on Dr. Dre albums. Despite his busy screen and recording career, Griffin remains true to his comedian roots, touring regularly and ranking at 62 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Standups of All Time.
The early shows begin at 7:30 p.m. and the late shows begin at 9:45 p.m. both nights. Tickets are $30 (with a two-item minimum) and can be purchased on the Improv website.
5) Chuck Roy's Spaghetti Western Comedy Show Saturday, October 4 Jake's Food & Spirits
Chuck Roy's Spaghetti Western Comedy Show returns to Jake's Food and Spirits with a fittingly spooky theme for the season, a new monthly guest star and, of course, generous servings of giggles and meatballs. The unique brainchild of Denver comedy legend Chuck Roy, the show combines a spaghetti dinner with a live old-school radio play, complete with sound effects and cap guns. It's just like an actual Spaghetti Western movie, except the laughs and winking homoeroticism are intentional. In the starring role of cowboy comedian "Bear," Roy heads up a regular cast of quick-draw joke slingers that includes Mona Lott, Bradley Haltom and Jill Tasei. This month's episode, "The Ghost Killers at Cheesman Park," also features special guest star Timmi Lasley and narrator Jordan Wieleba.
The show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $10 and include a spaghetti dinner served before showtime, buy them on Jake's website.
Roy will also be hosting Chuck Roy's HELLoween Comedy Show: a benefit for Troy Baxley at the Oriental Theater on October 29.
4) Mike Birbiglia Friday, October 17 Paramount Theatre
After spending the past few years perfecting his one-man shows, recording his special My Girlfriend's Boyfriend and adapting Sleepwalk With Me for the big screen, it's little wonder that Mike Birbiglia is calling his ongoing jaunt across the country the Thank God For Jokes Tour. A darling of the NPR demographic, Birbiglia's affable everyman persona lends itself to longer bits based as much in storytelling as they are in standup.
Showtime is 8 p.m. Ticket prices vary per seating section; find out more on theParamount Theatre website. Keep reading for three more of the best comedy events this month. .
3) Bob Saget Friday, October 17 and Saturday, October 18 Comedy Works South
Bob Saget has a famously dichotomous public image. While he's still most widely recognized for his '90s television ubiquity, Saget was a standup long before he became a huggy surrogate father to a generation of Full House viewers. While the ribald nature of Saget's act is less shocking now, thanks to his appearance in The Aristocrats and a role that subverted his family-friendly image on Entourage, what stands out about Saget's humor is how defiantly strange it can be. With his first book, Dirty Daddy, due out in paperback later this month, Saget is really hitting his stride. (Check the Show & Tell blog later on the month for a full interview with Saget.)
The early show begins at 7:15 p.m., followed by a 9:45 p.m. show both nights. Tickets cost $38 on the Comedy Works website.
2) Bobcat Goldthwait Thursday, October 23 through Saturday, October 25 Comedy Works South
While actor, filmmaker and alt-comedy pioneer Bobcat Goldthwait has been pretty busy behind the camera for the past few years -- directing several episodes of IFC's Maron as well as neo-cult classic films God Bless America and World's Greatest Dad-- he's also found time to continue honing his craft as a standup comic, touring regularly and releasing a one-hour special called You Don't Look the Same Either . Though he's mellowed considerably since nearly burning down the set of the Tonight Show in his heyday, Goldthwait's act is still charged with anarchic energy.
Tickets are $25 for all shows on the Comedy Works website.
1) The Grawlix Friday, October 31 Bug Theatre
We hardly need to remind you about the monthly Grawlix show these days, but the comic crew has booked a great lineup for a show that just so happens to fall on All Hallow's Eve. This month's headliner, Matt Braunger, has appeared on Conan and @Midnight; he recorded his own special, the joyously entitled Shovel Fighter, for Comedy Central in 2012; and co-founded the exclusive Bridgetown Comedy Festival. He'll be screening a short film he made with fellow comedian Shawn Pearlman, who will be on hand with bearded crusher John Tole to join the power trio of Ben Roy, Adam Cayton-Holland and Andrew Orvedahl. We can think of few better ways to spend Halloween night than at the post-show after-party at the Bug, a reportedly haunted theatre currently stocked with props from Night of the Living Dead.
Showtime is 10:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10 (cash) at the door.
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Follow Byron Graham on twitter @ByronFG for more mildly amusing sequences of words.