April is a month of rejuvenation and light-hearted trickery, a season of pranks, afternoon showers and street-sweeping tickets. Only the truly foolish would miss out on the fine assortment of comedy shows in Denver this month. With everything from a visit from the reigning ice queen of late-night talk shows to a benefit for Down Syndrome, some great local showcases and an appearance by improviser, singer and all-round showman Wayne Brady, there's plenty of levity to carry local comedy fans through the month. Fortunately, many of these shows are free, which should provide at least a little relief to those unjustly ticketed for blocking street-sweeping operations.
10) Late Night Playtime with Ultra Sex Laser 10:30 p.m. Thursdays Voodoo Comedy Playhouse
The standup showcase format, while enduring and straightforward, can also get pretty stale from time to time. While synth-pop comedy trio Ultra Sex Laser is known for livening up any show on which it's featured, over the past few months the crew has quietly put together what may be Denver's most unique and vibrant comedy show. Late Night Playtime with Ultra Sex Laser sounds like the title of tastefully softcore erotica from the future, but is actually the name of a weekly variety show scored by USL's semi-improvised comedy songs and featuring some of Denver's funniest comics venturing outside their comfort zone. Each week, one comic opens the show and then hits the neighborhood for the "Ballpark Grand Slam," a challenge that includes taking video of themselves doing karaoke at the nearby Star Bar. The headliner customarily ends each show by eating a cupcake onstage. Late Night Playtime is always good for a giggle, but the comedians lined up for April's shows promise to kick things up a notch. With cupcake-filled headlining sets from Mara Wiles, Kristin Rand, Stephen Spinola and Stephen Ayegei; stints by special guests Werewolf Radar, and featuring Steve Vanderploeg and Bobby Crane doing Ballpark Grand Slams, there are plenty of reasons to play at night with Ultra Sex Laser this April. Particularly since these Thursday night shows are free.
9) Hippieman's Plan for America Thursday, April 3 Dairy Center for the Arts
John "Hippieman" Novosad is a mainstay of the local comedy scene. The Boulder native has appeared on Last Comic Standing and twice on CBS's Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, toured all over the country, and prepared an unusually civic-minded one-man show called Hippieman's Plan for America. Encouraging his viewers to question authority, Hippieman outlines his humorous solutions our nation's ills.
The show begins at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 3. Tickets are $15 to $20 and available on the Dairy Center's website. VIP tickets include a meet-and-greet session and an event poster signed by Hippieman.
8) Laugh It Up for Down Syndrome Wednesday, April 23 Comedy Works South
Presented by the Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association and the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, Comedy Works' second Annual Laugh It Up for Down Syndrome is a benefit dinner with "a mission to assure inclusion and enhance independence of people with Down Syndrome by providing education, resources and support in partnership with individuals, families, professionals, and the community." With a headlining set from local favorite and Last Comic Standing winner Josh Blue, this should be a great evening for a great cause.
The show begins at 7:30 p.m. on April 23. Tickets are $15 to $25 and can be purchased on the Comedy Works website.
7) Tony Woods April 24-27 Comedy Works Downtown
Tony Woods began his career as an original member of Russell Simmons'a Def Comedy Jam and has subsequently appeared on Showtime at the Apollo, Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Comedy Central Presents. He has toured internationally and wowed audiences in Europe and Australia, so his laidback delivery and precise sociological observations should be a big hit with the Comedy Works downtown crowd.
Woods is headlining the entire weekend; showtimes vary. Tickets are $14 for Thursday and Sunday, and $22 for Friday and Saturday. They're available on the Comedy Works website.
6) Propaganda! Sunday, April 27 Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret
Winner of the Best of Denver 2014Best Comedy Night, Propaganda! maintains a well-curated lineup each month, thanks to the tireless hustle of host and organizer Matt Monroe. Featuring John Crist, Jules Posner and Keith D'Souza from San Francisco, John F. O'Donnell from New York and headliner Emily Heller this month, Propaganda! continues to feature top-notch out-of-towners wile spotlighting some of Denver's most crushing crushers.
April also marks Propaganda's expansion into a second monthly show, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 23rd at the Denver Improv. Doors at Lannie's open at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show on April 27. Tickets are free. Keep reading for more of the best comedy events in April.Denver Improv
DeRay Davis is an actor and comedian who's performed standup on Comedy Central Presents, BET's ComicView, and Premium Blend. He's also had roles on Reno 911 and in movies like Old Dogs, Scary Movie 4 and Semi-Pro. Davis will be headlining at the Denver Improv all weekend, with shows at 7:30 p.m. and additional shows at 9:45 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $25 and available through the Improv's website.
4) Kathleen Madigan Friday, April 4 Paramount Theater
American Comedy Award-winner Kathleen Madigan is among the most respected comics of her generation. Having started her career as a writer for Lewis Black and Garry Shandling, Madigan honed her comedic chops to the point where she remains Last Comic Standing's only unchallenged comedian. She's co-hosted three CMT Salute to the Troops specials with Ron White. Her last special, Madigan Again, was named one of the best comedy albums of 2013 by itunes.
She'll be at the Paramount at 8 p.m. April 4. Tickets run from $34.50 to $39.50 and are available via the Comedy Works website.
3) Chelsea Handler Friday, April 11 Bellco Theatre
Easily late night TV's most acerbic host, Chelsea Handler has accomplished more than most comedians can dream of. Host of Chelsea Lately and After Lately, Handler produces shows, writes bestselling books like Chelsea Chelsea, Bang Bang and crushes Piers Morgan's dreams. Somehow, she still manages to find time for standup, and she'll be bringing her Uganda Be Kidding Me live tour through Denver.
The show starts at 8 p.m. on April 11; tickets run between $59.50 and $69.50 and are available through the Comedy Works website.
2) Sexpot Comedy Presents Midnight Run Thursday, April 17 Oriental Theater
Another month, another great Sexpot Comedy showcase -- complete with a cool poster. This month Fine Gentleman Nathan Lund, Omaha's Ian Douglas Terry, Denver native and current Brooklynite Noah Gardenschwartz, Billy Wayne Davis, and headliner Andy Haynes will be slinging jokes in the unofficially smoke-filled auditorium.
Doors open at 7 p.m. for an 8 p.m. showtime on April 17. Tickets cost $15 and are available on the Oriental Theater website.
1) Wayne Brady Saturday, April 12 Paramount Theater
A regular improviser on Whose Line is it Anyway? -- including the newly resurrected version with host Aisha Tyler -- Wayne Brady is an old-school, multi-talented entertainer who sings, dances, riffs and is willing to be seen rapping with Canadians. Of course, his instant-classic Chapelle's Show sketch and well-publicized beef with Bill Maher demonstrate that Brady is aware of his family-friendly image and frustrated by its limitations. Whatever he has in store for It's My Line Tour, it doesn't seem like Brady will be threatening to choke any bitches -- this is one of the few all-ages shows listed this month.
The show begins at 8 p.m. on April 12. Tickets are $29.50 to $49.50; click here to buy yours.
Follow Byron Graham on twitter @ByronFG for more mildly amusing sequences of words.
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