The ten best comedy events in Denver this July

July, with its sweltering afternoons and late evening sunsets, is filled with a kind of sun-dappled shapelessness; its days were once described by Ada Louise Huxtable as "jeweled balm for the battered spirit."

Balming the battered is also a standup comedian's job description, and this month promises a healing wave of laughs washing over our arid city, featuring seasoned chortle-mongers from across the country. From one-night only theater appearances by sitcom stars to comedy nerd heroes at local clubs, battered spirits from across the spectrum of comedy fandom will find plenty of opportunities to laugh in air-conditioned comfort.

See also: The ten best geek events in Denver in July

10. Highlands Comedy Show Thursday, July 17 The Hai Bar

As the Highlands Comedy Show enters is second month of existence, the fledgling endeavor has defied expectations by bringing in a solid lineup of local headliners week after week. Host and organizer Jon Wilkins has somehow found harmony in the unlikely union of comedy show and sushi restaurant. The Highlands neighborhood is comparatively underrepresented as a destination for weekly comedy shows, and lineups this well curated are notable anywhere in the city. The venue will have its biggest headliner yet when John "Hippieman" Novosad, a local mainstay who's appeared on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson twice takes the stage. The rest of the lineup features Rick Bryan, Leif Cedar, Ben Bryant, and Nichole McCormack, and is solid enough to keep people laughing through mouthfuls of unagi.

The show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $10 at the door and can also be purchased from Wilkins' website.

9. Big Jay Oakerson July 24-27 Denver Improv

Comedian and storyteller Big Jay Oakerson has a distinctive comedic voice that has netted him appearances on Inside Amy Schumer, Comedy Underground with Dave Attell and Louie. Oakerson's album, An American Storyteller was released by Comedy Central and highlights his ability to engage audiences with long form storytelling about his strange experiences.

Shows begin at 7:30 p.m., with additional late shows at 9:45 p.m. on the weekend. Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased on the Improv's website.

8. Lucha Libre & Laughs July 20 The Oriental Theater

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The 'roided out brainchild of comic, filmmaker, and unabashed Luchador fan Nick Gossert, Lucha Libre and Laughs gets back into the ring this month with another great lineup. Easily the most costly and elaborate joke shows produced in Denver, this Sex Pot comedy-sponsored showcase requires immense hustle, especially this month's show, which arrives hot on the heels of last month's Denver Taco Festival. Gossert's efforts have paid off, however, as Lucha Libre and Laughs has grown into one of Denver's signature shows and a favorite of local comics. This month features comedy from Andrew Orvedahl, Nathan Lund, Sam Tallent, and Jordan Doll before getting to the main event, a wrestling match between Delta Jr. and Golden Star.

Doors open at 6:30 for the 7 p.m. show. Tickets cost $10 and are available from the Oriental's Website.

7. Bill Engvall Friday, July 11 Paramount Theatre

Bill Engvall doesn't appeal to everyone, but he certainly has a loyal contingent of fans across the country, many of whom will be represented at this one-night-only show at the Paramount. He is best known for his eponymous TBS sitcom (which co-starred a young Jennifer Lawrence) and for performing on various incarnations of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour with Ron White, Jeff Foxworth and Larry the Cable Guy.

The show begins at 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $39.50 to $59.50 and can be purchased from the Paramount box office website.

6. Nick Thune July 10-12 Comedy Works Larimer Square

Nick Thune started out as a guitar comic but quickly stood out from his peers by crafting a low-key yet absurdist style on his tours across the country. He's appeared on the Tonight Show eight times and recorded two Comedy Central specials, including Thick Noon in 2010. His most recent special, Folk Hero, is available to stream on Netflix, but can also be enjoyed in auditory form with his album of the same name; it's available at itunes and for pre-order on vinyl.

Showtimes and ticket prices vary and are available on Comedy Works' website.

5. Reese Waters July 17-20 Denver Improv

Reese Waters is a touring comedian and sporting enthusiast, who co-hosts The Daily Line on NBC sports in addition to performing standup across the country. Named one of the city's top comics to watch by New York Magazine, Waters also enjoys the rare distinction of performing on Late Show with David Letterman and The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson back to back.

Shows begin at 7:30 p.m., with additional late shows at 9:45 p.m. on the weekend. Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased on the Improv's website.

4. Brian Babylon Wednesday, July 11-12 Voodoo Comedy Playhouse

Best known as a panelist on the NPR news quiz show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me, Brian Babylon is also a Chicago native who came up in that city's thriving scene where he earned the nickname "The Prince of Bronzeville." Babylon will be joining his fellow Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me co-hosts for a live taping at Red Rocks Amphitheater the day before. Tickets for that event range from $40-$70 and are available from TicketsWest.

Fans who can't make it to Red Rocks, or who decide that one Babylon show per weekend simply isn't enough, can catch him working on his act at the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse.

Babylon's standup show runs from 8 to 10 p.m. Tickets cost $15 at the door and $12 for the presale tickets available on the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse website.

3. Josh Blue July 5-6 Comedy Works South

Josh Blue is a pillar of the Denver comedy scene, and a Last Comic Standing winner who opted not to forsake Denver in his pursuit of fame. Blue has managed to perform two standup specials, including the recent Sticky Change for Showtime and make appearances on shows like Mind of Mencia and The Ellen Degeneres all while living in Denver, well away from the media hubs of the country.

Check back with Show and Tell this week for a full interview with Blue.

Blue will be performing at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday and at 7 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $24 on the Comedy Works website.

2. Sex Pot Comedy Presents the High Plains Comedy Festival Preview Friday, July 18 The Oriental Theater

As Denver comedy fans gear up for next month's High Plains Comedy Festival, Sex Pot comedy is there the whet their appetites with another weed and jokes pizza party at the Oriental to kick things off. The lineup, which Sex Pot has has finely curated each month, is packed with crushers from start to finish. With headliners Aparna Nancherla, Sean Patton, Ashley Barnhill and Ian Douglas Terry joining host Jordan Doll, the evening promises to be a greasy slice of laughter pie. Of the headliners, only Patton and Terry are both scheduled to return for High Plains, so don't miss this show.

Doors open at 7 for the 8 p.m. show. Tickets cost $10 and are available from the Oriental Theater's website.

1. Marc Maron July18-19 Comedy Works Larimer Square

Most comedy nerds are already familiar with Marc Maron's biography, in addition to the in-depth interviews with comedians, musicians, and the occasional movie star featured on his podcast WTF, Maron's chronic over-sharing gets plenty of mic time as well. Though off-putting at first, his rambling engenders a more personal connection with his legion of listeners, who have flocked to his shows. Fresh off the second season of IFC's Maron, the comedian and podcaster returns to Comedy Works this summer.

Maron will be performing two shows a night, one at 7:30pm and another at 9:45pm. Tickets cost $28 and are available from Comedy Works' website.

Follow Byron Graham on twitter @ByronFG for more mildly amusing sequences of words.

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