There are few finer ways to wind down after a sun-dappled afternoon — or a chilly soaking from spring showers — than taking in a comedy show. From homegrown DIY efforts to headlining engagements from television stars like Hannibal Buress and Bill Maher, opportunities to laugh the night away abound in May. Keep reading for the ten best comedy shows in Denver in May 2018.
Noonan's Nice & Naughty Comedy Night
Friday, May 4, 8 p.m.
Noonan's Sports Bar & Grill
Terri Barton Gregg's Hold Please Productions is back with a vengeance and a lineup packed with some of Denver's finest and funniest. Join local mirth merchants Jacob Hamel, Donelle Prado, Jack Barton, Pam VanNostern and headliner John "Hippieman" Novosad for a mulligan-free evening of local comedy at its very best. While you're there, be sure to try the deep fried Oreos! Admission is $10 (plus fees) via Eventbrite and $15 at the door. Find more information on Noonan's Facebook events page.
Designated Drunkard: Cinco de Oh No
Saturday, May 5, 7 p.m.
The Comedy RoomRoom
Though conventional wisdom (and years of getting heckled) might suggest that inviting the audience to participate in a standup comedy show is a fool's errand, Designated Drunkard: A Comedy Drinking Game wobbles the fine line between playing along and drunken anarchy. Co-hosted by Caitie Hannan and Westword's Byron Graham, the show deconstructs comedians' sets and turns them into prompts for the beery crowd to drink along. A First Saturday tradition at the Best-of-Denver-winning venue the Comedy RoomRoom, the show's time slot happens to fall on Cinco de Mayo this year, so the abundance of holiday revelers should add a dash of chaos to the Designated Drunkard's already volatile cocktail. The fittingly festive lineup includes up-and-coming Denver comics Joe Gray, Kevin Klatman and Natalia Kvalem, followed by a trio of Denver die-hards: Dick Black, Ben Kronberg and Adam Cayton-Holland. Admission is $5 at the door and via Nightout. Learn more by visiting Designated Drunkard's Facebook events page.
Pump and Dump Mother's Day Eve Comedy Show and Dance Party
Saturday, May 12, 8 p.m.
A Denver comedy tradition running six years strong, the Pump and Dump Mother's Day Eve Comedy Show and Dance Party returns to the Paramount Theatre for another evening of songs, jokes and parental commiseration. The brainchild of comedy songstress Shayna Ferm and Tracey Tee (MC Doula), Pump and Dump provides hardworking moms with a rare night out, packed with dancing, hilarious songs inspired by the trials of child-rearing — "Eat Your Fucking Food" is a notable example — and cathartic laughter they'll enjoy even more than a Sunday brunch. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. showtime. Find tickets, $26 to $45, and more information from Altitude Tickets.
Hannibal Buress: The Hannibal Montanabal Experience
May 13, 7:30 p.m.
May 14, 7:30 and 9 p.m.
Though Hannibal Buress is still most widely recognized for his unequivocally critical riff about the recently convicted Bill Cosby, the media focus on Buress's role in an important conversation does a disservice to the sui generis brilliance of his standup. In addition to showcasing his skills in the Hannibal Takes Edinburgh documentary and Comedy Camisado standup special, Buress's on-screen career has also flourished thanks to appearances on shows like Broad City and The Eric Andre Show as well as in films like Spiderman: Homecoming and Blockers. Winding through the West on his Hannibal Montanabal Experience tour, Buress is rolling through the Centennial state for a trio of theater shows, starting with a 7:30 p.m. gig on Mother's Day at the Paramount Theatre (visit the Paramount box-office page for tickets, $35). He'll also appear the following evening at the Aggie Theatre, courtesy of Fort Comedy. The all-ages 7:30 p.m. show is sold out, but tickets remain for the 9 p.m. show. Visit the Aggie's box-office page to get yours, $35 to $80, before they're gone, too.
Wednesday, May 16, 7 p.m.
Denver Open Media
After a few installments in the humble showroom at Mutiny Information Cafe, Dat-Mocracy Tho! is branching out into a new venue and broadcast network at Denver Open Media. Join host Daniel Reskin every third Wednesday in DOM's Studio A for a hilarious chat show that bridges the divide between Denver's comedic and political communities. The inaugural broadcast tackles an issue many Coloradans appreciate but don't fully understand: marijuana. Learn how the state's pioneering legalization efforts shape tax law and the justice system at an eye-opening discussion with industry leaders and punchy panelists. Admission is free; find out more on Sexpot Comedy's Facebook events page.
Laughs & Drafts
Friday, May 18, 7 p.m.
Diebolt Brewing Company
Readers who love craft beer and standup comedy are spoiled for choice in the Mile High City, and they'll have another fine option this month at Diebolt Brewing Company's Laughs & Drafts showcase. Co-hosted by enterprising Denver comics David Hanan and Michael Seyedian, May's lineup includes local openers Harrison Garcia, Arielle Kaplan, JD Lopez and Shanae Ross warming up Diebolt's taproom for headliner Allen Strickland Williams (Conan). And, of course, food trucks will be on hand for hungry guests. Interested parties can also inquire about a VIP package and Hanan's brewery bus tours. Admission is free. Visit Impulse Entertainment's Eventbrite page to learn more and reserve a spot in the showroom.
May 18 to 20, showtimes vary
After early appearances on Def Jam Comedy, Showtime at the Apollo, and ComicView, Sommore quickly ascended through the show-business ranks, fully earning her crown as one of the four Queens of Comedy. Her career has subsequently thrived on both stage and screen, where she's appeared in television programs like The Hughleys, The Comedy Central Roast of Flavor Flav and Celebrity Fit Club, as well as in films such as Friday After Next, Soul Plane and Dirty Laundry. Sommore will reign over a weekend engagement at the Denver Improv, so there are plenty of opportunities to pay homage. Visit the Denver Improv's box-office page to buy tickets, $25 to $55, and learn more.
May 24 to 26, showtimes vary
Comedy Works South
Nate Bargatze has appeared on Conan, Maron and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon; Fallon also included Bargatze in his Clean Cut Comedy Tour. Bargatze's debut album, Yelled At by a Clown, made it to the Billboard Top Ten Comedy Chart, and he's toured extensively with the USO, performing for troops in Iraq and Kuwait. Bargatze followed his first special, Full Time Magic (which premiered on Comedy Central) with a standout episode of Netflix's The Stand-Ups, and Denver fans now have the opportunity to watch his new hour take shape. Visit Comedy Works' box-office page for tickets, $22 to $27, and more details.
An Evening With Bill Maher
Saturday, May 26, 8 p.m.
Creating politically charged comedy is more challenging than ever in an era when each day's news is driven by satire-deflating absurdity. Luckily, Bill Maher is an old hand at this sort of thing. Remaining perennially controversial since his days as the host of Politically Incorrect, Maher maintains a busy touring schedule between tapings of HBO's testy panel debate show Real Time With Bill Maher (now in its sixteenth season). Whether or not you agree with Maher's political beliefs — he has detractors on both sides of the proverbial aisle— his old-school comedic instincts, hewn during the peak of the comedy-club boom, command respect and steal laughter past one's objections. Tickets are $49.50 to $95 at the AXS box-office page.
Monday, May 28, 7 p.m.
A multi-talented writer, musician and comedic performer, Mishka Shubaly is a kind of folk hero to scuzzy road dogs all across the world. A novelist who invites comparisons to Charles Bukowski, Shubaly has written a number of books and Kindle singles including I Swear I'll Make It Up to You and The Long Run. As a musician, Shubaly has performed with bands like the Decemberists and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but it's his association with Doug Stanhope's Unbookables collective that has endeared Shubaly to comedy nerds. Presented by host Derrick Stroup, the Walnut Room welcomes Shubaly, along with openers Jake Flores, Brandy Bryant and Kyle Pogue, for an evening of music and comedy unlike any other. Visit the Walnut Room's Ticketfly page for tickets, $10, and more details.