Arts and Culture

The Ten Best Comedy Shows in Denver

Sebastian Maniscalco headlines a quartet of (rapidly selling out) shows at the Paramount Theatre on March 22 and 24.
Sebastian Maniscalco headlines a quartet of (rapidly selling out) shows at the Paramount Theatre on March 22 and 24. Peggy Sirota
Laughter roars in like the proverbial lion this March, and the giggles keep going long after the ides subside. Fill your waning winter days with jokes during an exceptional month for imported comedy as Colorado's clubs and theaters draw an increasingly impressive array of talent. Every stripe of comedy nerd has something to anticipate in the month ahead, from political satire and straight-up joke-a-thons to benedictions from standup legends. Keep reading to learn more about the ten best comedy shows in Denver circa March 2019.

The Bugle
Wednesday, March 6, 8 p.m.
Comedy Works Downtown

"Satirist for hire" Andy Zaltzman is hopping across the pond for a nationwide tour of live recording sessions for his politics-skewering podcast, The Bugle. Founded in 2007 with erstwhile co-host John Oliver — who left the show in 2016 to focus on producing the hit HBO series Last Week Tonight, The Bugle has continued to blare throughout an increasingly absurd geopolitical reality, with a rotating cast of guest commentators, including comedians Anuvab Pal, Wyatt Cenac and Hari Kondabolu. Brit-curious comedy fans and die-hard Buglers alike are in for a rare treat when Zaltzman's stateside tour lands at Denver's downtown Comedy Works early in the month. After all, thanks to a pair of self-inflicted wounds to the democracies on either side of the Atlantic, Zaltzman and his guests have no shortage of fodder for their characteristic brand of pun- and punchline-driven discussions. Enjoy exclusive live content, have your laugh recorded for posterity, and find a little levity in troubling times; visit the Comedy Works box-office page for tickets, $30, and further details.

Lil Rel Howery
March 7 to 10, showtimes vary
Comedy Works Downtown
$25 to $30

After a breakout performance that provided a welcome source of comic relief for the harrowing social-horror thriller Get Out, Lil Rel Howery is finally enjoying an industry profile worthy of his talents. Though the Chicago-bred comedian had previously appeared on Last Comic Standing, Diddy Presents: The Bad Boys of Comedy, and The Carmichael Show, Howery's appearance in the Oscar-winning blockbuster ultimately led to the pinnacle of standup stardom: a one-hour special (RELevant) and an eponymous network sitcom (Rel). Luckily for local comedy fans, a break between seasons permits Howery enough time to roll through Denver to make merry devastation upon the Comedy Works Downtown stage. For tickets, $25 to $30, and more information, visit the Comedy Works box-office page.

Judah Friedlander
Friday, March 8, 8 p.m.
The Oriental Theater

Judah Friedlander, the perpetually trucker-hatted "Champion of the World," continues his international campaign for the hearts, minds and funny bones of comedy nerds, with the Future President Tour, which makes a whimsical whistle-stop at Denver's Oriental Theater in early March. Mostly recognized for his persona-burnishing role as work-shy comedy writer on the classic sitcom 30 Rock, Friedlander was 25 years deep into his comedy career when he recorded his first concert film, America Is the Greatest Country in the United States, for Netflix. Shot from low angles in striking black and white, Friedlander's self-directed debut effort bears a closer resemblance to an early Jim Jarmusch movie than the traditionally overproduced aesthetic of most standup specials. Agitating for political resistance one wry one-liner at a time, Friedlander's latest batch of material wades boldly into the tempestuous waters of cultural satire with a show that might win your vote as well as your chuckles. Head over to the Oriental Theater box-office page to buy tickets, $25, and learn more.

Check out Westword's arts and culture section next week for a wide-ranging interview with Judah Friedlander.

click to enlarge Headliner Nancy Norton. - HIDDEN VISION PHOTOGRAPHY
Headliner Nancy Norton.
Hidden Vision Photography
Comedy Night at West Woods with Nancy Norton
Wednesday, March 13, 7:30 p.m.
West Woods Golf Course Clubhouse

Tee up for tickled ribs when the fairway-adjacent foolery of Comedy Night at West Woods returns with headliner Nancy Norton. A local treasure who recently claimed a historic victory as the first woman to take top prize at the Boston Comedy Festival, Norton has also appeared on Evening at the Improv and NickMom Night Out, and local comedy fans shouldn't miss any opportunity to see her work her comedic magic. Hosted by Comedy Works regular and The Hacker's Guide to Golf author Bob Meddles, Comedy Night at West Woods brings another round of hijinks to the grassy links. Visit Slap Happy Entertainment's Eventbrite page to buy tickets, $20, and find out more.

Cedric the Entertainer
March 15 to 16, 7:30 and 9:45 p.m.
Denver Improv
$50 to $70

Bow down before an Original King of Comedy when Cedric the Entertainer bestows his benediction upon the Denver Improv comedy club for a wild round of mid-March merriment. A consummate emcee who previously held the reins of Def Comedy Jam, BET's ComicView, and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, the reliably dapper comedian (otherwise known by his birth name, Cedric Antonio Kyles) shines even brighter in the headlining spot, as evinced by his most recent special, Live From the Ville. Freshly buzzing from a pivotal role in the Oscar-nominated First Reformed, Kyles returns to the Denver Improv with brand-new hour of fiery funniness that demands the attention of local comedy fans. Admission costs between $50 to $70; discover more details on Denver Improv's box-office page.

Ron Funches
March 21 to 23, showtimes vary
Comedy Works Downtown
$22 to $28

Take heed, local comedy nerds, for the velveteen giggle-monster Ron Funches alights once more upon Denver's Downtown Comedy Works — his chosen venue for the recording of the seminal standup album The Funches of Us — with a new hour of of gently voiced jibes. Funches's thriving on-screen career, which includes recent roles on Black-ish, Another Period and Powerless means you should seize upon every opportunity to indulge in bunches of Funches. Find tickets, $22 to $28, and more information on the Comedy Works box-office page.

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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