Now that we've finally eked our way into the warmer weeks of spring (fingers crossed), it's time to get off the couch and head out into the fresh air to get to May's ten best comedy events. We've got albums being recorded, albums being released, two Latino-themed shows, nerd heroes Aziz Ansari and Chris Hardwick, a benefit for troubled children, and classy rube Ron White explaining why everyone's a little gay. So lower your defenses and put on your drinking shoes, because May is jam-packed with some hyperventilating hysteria to warm your heart after all those snowy months of hibernation.
See also: - Louis C.K. debuts new HBO special, continues frightening us all with his vivid logic - Amazon's new comedy pilots are full of flops -- with a Bill Murray and Grawlix exception - Anthony Jeselnik celebrates baby-death, bulimia and domestic violence at DU
10. D.L. Hughley Oh, yeah, that guy. D.L. Hughley is one of those faces of mainstream comedy that you recognize but often can't place. Outside of appearances on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, as guest host on The View and with his short-lived comedy/news show on CNN, Hughley is best known for his role in Spike Lee's The Original Kings of Comedy (the second best-selling standup comedy film of all time, just behind Eddie Murphy's Raw). Mixing sober social commentary with bombastic hilarity, Hughley is a left-leaning voice that has managed to remain relevant in a post-cable news world.
9. Ben Roy While both his Grawlix partners will release their debut albums this month, the indomitable Ben Roy has apparently decided to stay one step ahead of his peers by recording his second comedy album in a series of shows at Comedy Works. The subject of our February cover story "Gentle Ben," Roy is a neck-bulging punk-rock comic who will leave you pleasantly exhausted with his social commentaries and self-loathing humor.
8. Maria Bamford Known as the squeaky-voiced, depressed cutie from The Comedians of Comedy documentary and her Special Special Special! video -- where she performs for an audience made up solely of her parents on a couch -- Maria Bamford is a unique voice in an era of booming comedy population growth. While perhaps not as intimate as her parents' living room, the Oriental Theater seems like it would be the ideal place to hear this adorably shy comedian cheep her way through some humiliating hilarity.
Continue reading for our top picks.
7. The Urban Citizen's Garden Project Presents: A Night of Comedy for the Kids! Presented by local comic Elliot Woolsey, this benefit show will raise funds to install a vegetable garden in the Shiloh House (a residential and educational facility for at-risk youth). And if the idea of contributing to a children's cause on Mother's Day doesn't turn your heart to jelly, the bill of ten excellent Denver comedians -- including Adrian Mesa, Kristin Rand, Jodee Champion and Sam Tallent -- should be more than enough to get you off the couch.
6. Andrew Orvedahl CD-release party While all three Grawlix boys are riding high on the success of their Amazon pilot, Those Who Can't, Orvedahl and Cayton-Holland are doubling down on their market share of Denver comedy with the release of their comedy albums recorded last fall (Cayton-Holland's will be released on May 3). And now that these guys are known as the "upper classmen" of the local comedy scene, the release of their first albums is quickly becoming one of the most anticipated developments of the new year. This event will also include a performance by Ben Roy's band, Spells, as well as The Big Get Even.
8 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, at Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret. Tickets are $10 (includes a copy of the CD!). Click here for more information.
5. Lucha Libre and Laughs Everyone loves masked Mexican wrestling, right? Okay, not everyone -- but those who are indifferent can at least get behind some comedy commentary for Mexican wrestling by the Fine Gentleman's Club's Nathan Lund, who will be joined by Jim Hickox, Jordan Doll, Kristin Rand and surf-rock band the Royal Aces for this campy night of body laughs and body slams.
Continue reading for our top picks.
4. Chuck Roy and his spicy 'LiL JALEPENOS! If Latino-flavored comedy is your bag, then May has you covered. Denver comedian Chuck Roy (formerly of The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn) has delivered filthy themed comedy shows at Comedy Works on everything from marijuana to Santa Claus, and with this dirty Cinco de Mayo show, he'll be bringing out the big guns with the King of Colfax, Greg Baumhauer, headlining as his caustic lounge-singer character Bobby Valentino, along with established CW locals Hippie Man and Troy Walker.
3. Aziz Ansari Named "world's greatest hip-hop comedian" (whatever that is) by Rolling Stone, Aziz Ansari remains one of the funniest voices of the geekster generation, presenting an image that is both stylish and confident, while confessing his neurotic insecurities about dating and socializing in the 21st century.
2. Chris Hardwick Like Ansari, Chris Hardwick is a handsome fashionista with a dweeby underbelly. If you were born before 1983, you may remember him as Jenny McCarthy's co-host on the post-music MTV dating show Singled Out. Since you're reading a blog about comedy in 2013, however, you'll most likely recognize Hardwick from his standup and wildly successful comedy podcast, The Nerdist. Trekkies, techies and terrestrials alike, come out of your computer dens: You now have your own cool-kids' table in the lunchroom.
1. Ron White In this divisive time of politics and culture in standup comedy, few comics can transcend party lines and become a hero to both liberals and conservatives. But as a Southern-fried, cigar-smoking, military-supporting tough-guy icon of The Blue Collar Comedy Tour, as well as a dope-smoking wildman who believes everyone is "a little gay" (often making jokes about enjoying a dildo shoved up his ass), Ron White is a classy everyman who manages to be both relatable and wildly eccentric.
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For more comedy commentary, follow me on Twitter at @JosiahMHesse.