It's nearly time to bid adieu to 2017 and to gather with loved ones in celebration and hope for a better 2018. Whether readers are looking to giggle their way through the next few days or party hard into the new year, Westword has assembled a handy guide to the best free and cheap entertainment in Denver this week. Luckily, penny-pinching partiers can attend any of the following for less than $10, which means anyone can break up the monotony without breaking the bank.
Hippieman and Friends
Thursday, December 28, 7:30 p.m.
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 years, the local scene tended to overlook Denver's northern neighborhoods, and Wilkins has stepped in to fill that void. Booking only the greatest 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 the crowd's attention, the room is usually full and festive. There's a crackerjack lineup scheduled for Thursday night, showcasing Chicago's Chris Higgins and local favorites Jodee Champion and John "Hippieman" Novosad. To find tickets, $10, and more information, visit the Highlands Comedy Show Eventbrite page.
Cartoons & Comedy Christmas Wonderland
Thursday, December 28, 10 p.m.
Cartoons & Comedy returns to the Deer Pile tonight for a flurry of funny and a festive theme. Spotlighting comics Nicole Conlan, John Tole and Jordan Doll goofing on classic animated Christmas specials, vintage commercials and half-forgotten oddities, it's worth extending the Yuletide season a few extra days to join the pajama-clad crowd. Cartoons & Comedy boasts all the laughs of a traditional standup showcase plus a carefully edited selection of animated favorites punctuated by a Mystery Science Theater 3000-style gauntlet of riffs. Hosted and produced by Chris Baker, Cartoons & Comedy has previously included surprise guests like Ron Funches, Eddie Pepitone, Hannibal Buress and Rory Scovel. In case all of that isn't enticement enough, the event will also have a buffet of sugary cereals available. Visit Bakerface Productions' Facebook events page to learn more.
Guest List: Album Release Show
Friday, December 29, 8 p.m.
Bakery Arts Warehouse
Guest List, a standup-and-sketch hybrid run by the insanely prolific local comic Ben Bryant, is emblematic of Denver comedy's self-starting character. In only a few short months, Guest List has made a home for itself in the Bakery Arts Warehouse by consistently programming lineups showcasing the best local and traveling standups and playing around with the format to keep things fresh and funny. Bryant's efforts culminated in a live-album taping last July, wherein a cavalcade of Denver's funniest people all recorded three-minute sets for a massive Denver mixtape, now available on Bandcamp as well as on a snazzy pink cassette. After spending months putting the album together, Bryant has invited some of the scene's heaviest hitters for an album release with Steve Vanderploeg, David Rogriguez, Anthony Armstrong, Jordan Doll, Janae Burris, Sam Tallent and Adam Cayton-Holland. Learn more and buy tickets, $5, via Guest List's Eventbrite page.
Birthday Party: Rest in Power 2017
Saturday, December 30, 10 p.m.
For a lot of readers, even 2017's best moments were still tainted by the general malaise of life in scarcely recognizable America. What better way to say good riddance to another rough year than in the company of some of Denver's funniest people. Join local standup supergroup the Pussy Bros. (Rachel Weeks, Janae Burris, and Christie Buchele) along with a lineup featuring Georgia Rae, Jordan Doll, Troy Walker, and DJ Erin Stereo on the ones and twos. Admission is $10 via GiveBackTickets and includes a free beer or cider for the ticket holder. Visit Pussy Bros' Facebook events page to learn more.
New Year's at Black Sky
Sunday, December 31, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Black Sky Brewery
While most New Year's celebrations are all about thumping beats, trendy evening wear and champagne toasts, Black Sky Brewery is staying true to its spirit. Bury 2017 under an avalanche of dark beer, New Haven-style pizza, and heavy metal while enjoying drink specials all night long at Black Sky's New Year's Eve Party. Shots of Jägermeister and Fireball are only $3. Visit Black Sky Brewery's Facebook events page for more details.
New Year's Karaoke and Burlesque Extravaganza
Sunday, December 31, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Decadent New Year's blowouts are all well and good if you don't mind thronging crowds and holiday price-gouging. If you're more inclined to welcome 2018 somewhere everybody knows your name, look no further than the Karaoke and Burlesque Extravaganza at El Charrito. The "Five-Star Dive Bar" invites customers to enjoy live performances from Thin Air Burlesque and to take the stage and belt out their favorite tunes courtesy of RYTZ Productions. Check out El Charrito's Facebook events page for more information.
715 New Year's Party
Sunday, December 31, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
New Year's Eve entertainment can often be prohibitively expensive, crowded and otherwise bothersome. Why not unwind in the company of close friends at a cherished neighborhood watering hole instead? Join DJ B Money, along with hordes of bearded makeout buddies, at the 715 Club for a New Year's party that emphasizes friends over spectacle. There's no cover charge, and, of course, there will be a free champagne toast at midnight. Find more information on 715's Facebook events page.
Weird Touch New Year's Eve Party
Sunday, December 31, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Syntax Physic Opera
If you're eager to make your 2018 stranger than 2017, Syntax Physic Opera's Weird Touch New Year's Eve Party is a fine place to start. Dance to indie, dark disco and weird house music provided by Weird Touch's signature DJs Tyler Snow, Fancy Matthew and Shannon von Kelly. Admission is $10 at the door. Check out Weird Touch's Facebook events page to find out more.
New Year's Eve Fireworks
Sunday, December 31, 9 p.m. and midnight
16th Street Mall
As a society, we've all decided to treat fireworks like visual champagne reserved for only the grandest of celebrations. There's no celebration grander than New Year's Eve, a holiday dedicated to popping bottles and bottle rockets. A festive tradition going back sixteen years, watching Denver's New Year's fireworks display is one of the finest ways to blast into the future. Readers have two chances to take in the wondrous spectacle: during a display at the family-friendly hour of 9 p.m., or with a music-synchronized sparkle shower as the clock strikes midnight. Visit denver.org to learn more.
So This Is the New Year
Sunday, December 31, 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
It may be the dawn of 2018, but the sounds of yesteryear still hold sway at the Squire Lounge. Join SYCDYK, All Chiefs, and throngs of Squire denizens to ring in the new year to the sounds of old years as All Chiefs pay homage to Death Cab for Cutie's signature album, Transatlanticism. And, of course, no "Auld Lang Syne" sing-along is complete without a midnight champagne toast. Find more details on the Squire Lounge's Facebook events page.
Looking for more to do? Visit Westword's calendar online.