The Ten Best Locally Produced Comedy Shows in Denver

The landscape of the Denver comedy scene is constantly changing. Comedians move away, venues change or close down, neighborhoods gentrify and audiences dissipate. Ephemerality is simply the cost of doing business in a field that offers precious little security, economic and otherwise. Even so, this past year witnessed a solid lineup of local showcases that deserve to stick around for a long time. Here are our ten top regular comedy shows, all produced by local comedians, that made 2015 a banner year for boner jokes — and give us high hopes for 2016.

10. The Highlands Comedy Room

Every Thursday at 8 p.m.
Sushi Hai

Jon Wilkins may be Denver comedy's favorite doofy uncle, but don't let his avuncular bafflement give you the wrong idea: The man runs one hell of a great comedy show. For many years, the local scene tended to overlook Denver's northern neighborhoods, and Wilkins has stepped in to fill that void. Booking only the best local and traveling standups, the Highlands Comedy Room boasts some of the city's best weekly lineups.Though the upscale Sushi Hai diners often require a bit of comedic wrangling to command their attention, the room is always full and festive. Recent highlights include Christmas and New Year's Eve showcases, proving that not even major holidays can keep the Highlands Comedy Room down. 

Check the Highlands Comedy Room Facebook page for updates. 

9. Comedy Night at Chain Reaction
Every Second Friday at 8 p.m.
Chain Reaction Brewing Company

Westword awarded this feisty brewery effort Best New Show of 2015, and it's been thriving ever since.Though throngs of rowdy chug thugs typically populate the restive and beery crowd, presenting a steep challenge to comics who can't meet their level of raucous energy, it's a rare delight to see our city's heavy hitters issue swift rejoinders to the heckler bros who plague this otherwise supportive room. Co-owners Zack and Chad Christofferson teamed up with their childhood hockey buddy, local standup Steve Vanderploeg, to craft a delicious brew from our city's ballyhooed beer and comedy scenes. Though the namesake Denver Comedy Pale Ale may be the obvious choice, we humbly recommend the peppercorn saison instead.

Check Chain Reaction Brewing Company's Facebook page for updates.

8. The Boulder Comedy Show
Every Sunday at 7 p.m. 
The Bohemian Biergarten

Boulder's comedy needs have historically gone unmet, giving the college town a somewhat unfair reputation for proprietary humorlessness. But Comedy Works regular Brent Gill, a proudly cash-eyed CU alumnus, disproves this glib assumption week after week, bringing in a cavalcade of hot crowds and oddly shaped comedians to make the Bohemian Biergarten roar with laughter. Choose from a wide variety of local and imported brews while Gill and a hand-selected crew of jokeswains deliver their best new material. If the high number of repeat visitors is any indication, the Boulder Comedy Show has some new delights to offer its audiences each week. 

Check the Boulder Comedy Show Facebook page for updates.

7. The Underground Comedy Showcase
One Saturday a month
The Soiled Dove Underground

The Underground Comedy Showcase at the Soiled Dove has emerged as one of Denver's finest showcases, with remarkably little fanfare. Though the Lowry venue typically hosts live jazz, folk and rock shows, the Underground Comedy Showcase has managed to pack the house month after month. Co-hosts Stephen Agyei and Matt Monroe (whose monthly Propaganda! at Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret showcases also deserve a nod) typically book Comedy Works regulars and visiting comics with television experience, creating lineups that comedy fans are unlikely to see elsewhere in the city. 

Check the Underground Comedy Show Facebook page for updates.

6. The Funky Brunch
One Saturday a month
Grandma's House 

A goodwill exercise in sustained wackiness, The Funky Brunch is a natural extension of creator Mara Wiles's irrepressible spirit and vaudevillian showmanship. Inspired by Chicago's Late Late Breakfast, Wiles brings the typically nocturnal beast of a comedy show roaring out into the light of day. The Funky Brunch presents its comedians with a roulette wheel of challenges, such as "The Wonder Woman," which requires standups to strike a heroic pose while the audience pelts them with marshmallows. Wiles, along with co-host Timmi Lasley and a rotating house band, don goofy wigs and elaborate costumes to the delight of a steadfast crowd of day-drinkers who gather in vintage rocking chairs to sip Grandma's House craft brew, nibble on vittles from a rotating selection of foods trucks, and take in the spectacle of the the Funky Brunch.

Check The Funky Brunch Facebook page for updates.

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Byron Graham is a writer, comedian and gentleman thief from Denver. Co-host of Designated Drunkard: A Comedy Drinking Game, the deathless Lion's Lair open mic and the Mutiny Book Club podcast, Byron also writes about comedy for Westword. He cannot abide cowardice, and he's never been defeated in an open duel.
Contact: Byron Graham

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