Despite what the grey skies above belie, Spring has begun in earnest and dampened Denverites have reasons to hope. As per usual, the comedy scene continues to flourish, with laughter ringing from our clubs, theaters and even VFW halls. Our local chuckle merchants have filthy game shows, Luchador hijinks and a pair of shows at a notoriously haunted hotel, while comedic greats like Margaret Cho, Sebastian Maniscalco and Dana Gould roll through town. A dovetailing spirit of mirth and generosity abounds on the list this month, with local comics and producers coming forward to donate their time and efforts to noble causes like medical donations and protecting civil rights. Once again, the shows are listed below in chronological order.
1. Bloodlines: Blood and Punchlines
Saturday, April 1
VFW Post 2461
Unless you're a trained professional or Nosferatu, giving blood is an ordeal to be endured. Thanks to a partnership between Bonfils Blood Center, a gaggle of Denver-based comics and erstwhile Westword photographer Kevin Galaba, Bloodlines: Blood and Punchlines aims to liven the uncomfortable but vitally important process of blood donation with a murderer's row of Denver's funniest comedians, including Steve Vanderploeg, Anthony Crawford, Timmi Lasley and more joining headliner Sam Tallent to crack wise for all the donors. Hosted by 3 Course Comedy's Adrian Mesa and Eric Henderson, Bloodlines is an ideal way to have a laugh while helping out. Volunteers will also have the chance to sign up to be bone-marrow donors, a potentially life-saving gift.
Event begins at 11 a.m. with comedy beginning at noon. $5 suggested donation.
2. Power Move: Comedy in Action
Thursday, April 6
Image Brew Studios
When Denver comedy power couple Mara Wiles and Kevin O'Brien, they left their consistently delightful Funnyside Sessions showcase behind. Rather than allow their prime time slot at a supportive venue go to waste, however, the turned the reins over to Nathan Lund and Aaron Urist. Newly titled Power Move: Comedy in Action, Lund and Urist plan to retain Funnyside elements like video sketches produced by Image Brew and kegs donated by Ratio Beerworks while remaking the showcase in their own image. The crackerjack inaugural lineup includes local favorites Christie Buchele, Zach Reinert, Cody Spyker and Janae Burris along with Chicago's Adam Burke and prodigal Denverites Troy Walker and Chris Charpentier. All proceeds from this month's show will be donated to the ACLU, kicking off Power Move's altruistic goal of benefitting a different vital organization each month. Featuring DJ Erin Stereo on the one and twos.
Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Suggested minimum $5 donation.
3. Margaret Cho
Comedy Works Downtown
Margaret Cho is a multi-talented entertainer whose massive skill set includes singing, burlesque, acting, writing and standup comedy. From her early days as a teenager at the zenith of San Francisco's comedy scene, Cho has brought a fearless honesty to her many endeavors. While Cho is a performer first and foremost, her outspoken advocacy and various humanitarian efforts have won her both awards and a considerable fan base among LGBTQ and Asian-American communities. Cho recently co-hosted the late-night talk show All About Sex for one season on TLC, but her television resume is massive, with highlights including a starring role on Drop Dead Diva and a memorably hilarious arc as Kim Jong-Il on 30 Rock. Cho has also published two books, including the autobiography I'm the One That I Want and the essay collection I Have Chosen to Stay and Fight. Though she usually plays big theaters when she comes through town, fans can catch her latest material in the intimacy of a comedy club setting. The early shows have sold out, so make haste and get your tickets soon.
Showtime is 9:45 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Admission costs $40. Visit Comedy Works events calendar to learn more and buy tickets.
Before taking the podcasting world by storm with the genre-defining WTF, Marc Maron toiled for decades to eke out a living as a working comic while the entertainment industry eluded him. Since he first began recording, Maron has welcomed everyone from comedians and rockstars to President Obama into his garage, cultivating a uniquely fearless interview style that's earned him millions of loyal listeners. The resurgent Maron has since appeared on every chat show staple and released two one-hour specials, Thinky Pain and More Later. His acting career has similarly flourished, in addition to memorable appearances on Girls, Louie and Easy, his eponymous IFC show Maron ran for four seasons and he has an ensemble role in the upcoming Netflix series G.L.O.W. Swinging through Colorado for a pair of shows as his national "Too Real Tour," Maron's standup seems to grow more vital as he has less to prove.
Boulderites can check out Maron at the Boulder Theater this Friday at 8 p.m. Tickets, $32.50, are available from BoulderTheater.com. Denverites can check out Maron at the historic Paramount Theatre this Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets, $35-$45, are available from Altitude Tickets.
5. Lucha Libre & Laughs: Cheap Pop!
Tuesday, April 18
Perennial Westword favorite Lucha Libre & Laughs leaps off the ropes and back into the ring this with a special Tuesday night showcase. Boasting the same ringside thrills and minute-to-minute hilarity of a regular LLL showcase at half the price, Cheap Pop! has a brawny and bawdy lineup both on the mic and in the ring. With color commentators Nathan Lund and Mitch Jones along with standups Cody Spyker and Andrew Bueno opening for headliner Andy Peters (Those Who Can't), the laughs side of LLL's equation is in good hands. The real marquee attraction, however, is the title event match between Lucha Libre & Laughs Champion Cody Devine and Japanese wrestling legend Kikutaro.
Doors open at 7 for the 7:30 p.m. show. Visit the Oriental Theater's events calendar to learn more and buy tickets, $5.
6. Fort Comedy Present Billy Wayne Davis
Wednesday, April 19
David Rodriguez, Mallory Wallace and Kyle Pogue, the trio of standups who co-founded Fort Comedy, have expanded their boundaries all along the front range. This month, they're bringing their showrunning acumen and genial positivity to Stapleton's Improv comedy club with a special one-night-only headlining engagement from Billy Wayne Davis. A verified road dog with decades of touring experience, Davis is a charming and quick-witted performer capable of winning over a wide array of crowds with minimal effort. He's appeared on Conan and Last Comic Standing as well as lending his Tennessean twang to several voices on Squidbillies. While Davis has a number of other shows scheduled around the state this week, we can think of nowhere better to catch his act than in one of our city's finest comedy clubs.
Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10 via the Denver Improv events calendar.
7. Uncalled Four/20
Thursday, April 20
Denver's favorite debased and debauched comedy game show, Uncalled Four, lurches back into the scene after months of quietly behaving itself. Fittingly returning to celebrate its third anniversary just in time for the 4/20 holiday, co-producers Jake Browne and Samantha Taylor welcome back returning Uncalled Four champions Aaron Urist, Sam Tallent and Jodie Champion along with wild card David Gborie to compete in a take-no-prisoners competition to see who can claim the title of Denver's Worst Person. Essentially evil mad-libs with the cards written by standup comedian, this legally distinct and entirely original game is merely the opening act for a whole evening of 4/20 festivities including a performance from the Ying Yang Twins and a consumption-friendly Colorado Cannabis Tours bus stationed outside.
Doors open at 6:30 for the 7:00 p.m. show. Admission costs between $15-$25 via Hold My Ticket.
8. Marlon Wayans
Comedy Works South
Few performers have careers as varied as that of Marlon Wayans. An actor with a filmography that veers wildly from genre to genre, including outliers like the heart-wrenching Requiem for a Dream, he specializes in ribald parodies like Scary Movie and 50 Shades of Black, as well as high-concept comedies that require elaborate special-effects makeup, such as White Chicks and Little Man. A consummate entertainer, Wayans has followed in the footsteps of his famous siblings and branched out into standup, delighting audiences across the country. While Wayans has stopped through Denver frequently over the past few years, his eponymous sitcom Marlon premieres August 16 on NBC, so check out Wayans' newest material before his production schedule no longer permits such visits.
Showtimes vary. Admission prices range from $45-$60; VIP tickets include a photo opportunity meet and greet with Wayans after the show. Visit Comedy Works events calendar to learn more and buy tickets.
9. Sebastian Maniscalco
Saturday, April 22
The Paramount Theatre
Sebastian Maniscalco is one of the most focused standup comics in the game right now. He's appeared on every staple of late night talk show, including Conan, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Tonight Show in both its Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon-hosted incarnations. His three latest comedy specials aired on Showtime with the most recent, Why Would You Do That? premiering last year. A comic's comic who enjoys the respect of his peers, Maniscalco has also appeared alongside Jerry Seinfeld in Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and was recently named Just For Laughs' Standup Comedian of the Year. Rolling through Denver as part of a nationwide tour, Maniscalco is donating $1 of every ticket sold to the Tag You're It Foundation, so Denverites can earn some karma while having a laugh.
Showtime is 7 p.m. Admission prices range from $39.75 to $59.75 from Altitude Tickets.
10. Comedy Weekend at the Stanley Hotel
The Stanley Hotel
Estes Park's Stanley Hotel may be infamous for its reportedly haunted grounds and turn-of-the-20th century elegance, but they've been burnishing their reputation as an entertainment destination over the past few years. In a partnership with Comedy Works Entertainment, the Stanley Hotel presents Comedy Weekend, a pair of standup showcases filling the historic hotel with laughs during the final weekend of April. Josh Blue, headliner for the Friday night showcase, rose to national fame after winning Last Comic Standing in 2006. In the years since, the Denver favorite has released two one hour specials (Delete and Sticky Change) and performed all over the world while continuing to call Denver home. Saturday's headliner, Dana Gould, is a standup legend who wrote for The Simpsons and created the horror/ comedy series Stan Against Evil for IFC.
Both shows begin at 8 p.m. VIP tickets for Friday and Saturday are both sold out, but general admission ($30) and weekend passes remain. Visit the Stanley Hotel website to learn more and buy tickets.