The Ten Best Comedy Events in Denver in May

Crom Comedy Festival comes to a close May 19-21.
Geoff Tice
Crom Comedy Festival comes to a close May 19-21.
From special visits to fond farewells, Denver comedy has enough entertainment in store to keep locals a-maying all month long. While we're sorry to see the Crom Comedy Festival draw to a close, we're heartened by the endurance of homegrown success stories like Lucha Libre & Laughs, Pussy Bros and Pump & Dump. The city's theaters and clubs are likewise blossoming with top-tier talent such as Cedric the Entertainer, Kathleen Madigan and W. Kamau Bell. Check out any one of the following ten shows, listed below in chronological order.
1. Cedric the Entertainer
May 5-6, 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Denver Improv
After establishing himself as a consummate emcee and television presenter during the waning days of the ’80s comedy boom, Cedric the Entertainer has enjoyed a thriving career as a standup and character actor. Known for his penchant for fine hats, his sonorous voice and his unhurried comic timing, Cedric the Entertainer became a household name after The Original Kings of Comedy premiered in 2000, reviving the theatrical release of standup films and minting stars out of its four co-headliners. A highly prolific character actor, Cedric specializes in scene-stealing comic-relief characters in films like Top Five, both Haunted House movies and the entire Barbershop trilogy. He's also done extensive voice-over work on animated shows like The Boondocks, The Proud Family and the Madagascar film series. Fresh from the triumph of his 2016 Netflix special Live From the Ville, Cedric the Entertainer returns to Denver for a headlining engagement at the Denver Improv, with showtimes at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Friday, May 5, and Saturday, May 6. Admission is $45 via Ticketweb.

2. Kathleen Madigan
May 6-7, 8 p.m.
Paramount Theatre

American Comedy Award winner Kathleen Madigan is among the most respected comics of her generation. Having started her career as a writer for Lewis Black and Garry Shandling, Madigan honed her comedic chops to the point that she remains Last Comic Standing's only unchallenged comedian. She's co-hosted three CMT Salute to the Troops specials with Ron White, and her last special, Madigan Again, was named one of the best comedy albums of 2013 by iTunes. Rolling through the state on a leg of her national "Bothering Jesus" tour, Madigan is stopping in Colorado Springs to play the Fine Arts Center the evening before her Denver shows. Showtime is 8 p.m., and admission prices range from $39.50 to $59.50 at Altitude Tickets.
3. Val Kilmer Live Presents: Cinema Twain
Tuesday, May 9, 7:30 p.m.
Comedy Works South

Movie-goers still recognize Val Kilmer from his late-’80s-to-mid-’90s heyday, wherein a series of high-profile roles in films ranging from Real Genius and Tombstone to Batman Forever made him into a household name. Over the past few years, an increasingly corpulent Kilmer has reinvented himself as a scenery-chomping character actor and great American weirdo. This reinvention includes Citizen Twain, a one-man show starring Kilmer as author, humorist and raconteur Mark Twain. Cinema Twain, a filmed version of Kilmer's play, will be screening at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 9, at Comedy Works South, 5345 Landmark Place in Greenwood Village, followed by a live Q&A session with Kilmer. General admission is $32, with VIP tickets available for $70. Visit to learn more and buy tickets.
4. Mom's Night Out With the Pump and Dump Show
Saturday, May 13, 8 p.m.
Paramount Theatre

Often we don't realize how underserved a particular demographic has been until someone comes along to fill that niche. Enter Pump and Dump, a unique evening of comedy and music that creates a friendly space where moms can bond in cathartic laughter and dance their cares away. The brainchild of Shayna Ferm and co-host MC Doula, aka Tracey Tee, who are currently in the midst of a nationwide tour, Pump and Dump has grown from a neighborhood bar show into a phenomenon that delights crowds of breeders all over the country. Moms everywhere deserve a night out, and Tee and Ferm are there to provide one. Come celebrate Mother's Day eve with a laugh. Admission is $32.50 at AltitudeTickets.
5. W. Kamau Bell
Thursday, May 11
Boulder Theater

America needs the wry yet impassioned commentary of W. Kamau Bell now more than ever. Though his unfortunately short-lived panel-discussion series Totally Biased was a critically acclaimed examination of the cultural zeitgeist, it never managed to permeate beyond the occasional viral clip and was canceled after only two seasons. Fortunately for local fans of Bell's punchy political commentary, his new CNN series United Shades of America returned for a second season on April 30, and he's rolling through Colorado to celebrate. Ticketsrun from $25 to $53 at In addition to the Boulder Theater show, Bell will also be performing at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at 7 p.m., on Wednesday, May 10.
6. Pussy Bros Present Birthday Party: Prom Night
Monday, May 15, 7 p.m.
Rackhouse Pub

The Pussy Bros are back with another Birthday Party ballyhoo, and they've chosen the seasonally appropriate yet unbearably sad theme of prom for this month's show. Fittingly, their perpetually sport-coated headliner, Allen Strickland Williams, looks like he always has a corsage at the ready. Williams, who co-produced a series of hilarious videos with his all-male sketch group WOMEN, is a seasoned festival comic (he's also part of the upcoming Crom Comedy Festival), has appeared on Conan and was recently named one of Comedy Central's "Comics to Watch." Join Christie Buchele, Rachel Weeks and Janae Burris for a full evening of Prom-edy, complete with a DJ and heaping helpings of cake. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $5 from Nightout.
click to enlarge C/O NO LAUGING MATTER
C/o No Lauging Matter
7. No Laughing Matter: A Benefit to Support the Burnes Center
Wednesday, May 17, 8 p.m.
The Oriental Theater
With steadily rising home prices, a startling lack of resources and an onslaught of dignity-trampling encampment sweeps, Denver's homeless community needs our support more than ever. The Burnes Center on Poverty and Homelessness is a vital organization and a key ally for our city's struggling citizens, providing necessary research data to ensure that various support programs have the maximum possible impact. Luckily for concerned comedy fans, the No Laughing Matter Benefit showcase provides an ideal opportunity to participate while guffawing the night away at a well-curated lineup of local comics, including Miriam Moreno, Corey Rhoads, Adrian Mesa, Cody Spyker, Georgia Rae, Nathan Lund, Rachel Weeks and emcee Eric Henderson in exchange for a $10 donation. Guests will also have the opportunity to meet the Center's founder, Donald Burnes, who will be signing copies of his book Ending Homelessness: Why We Haven't, How We Can. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are available at

8. Crom Comedy Festival
May 19-21
Ratio Beerworks and Crossroads Theater
Since starting in Omaha back in 2013, the Crom Comedy Festival has grown steadily and expanded into other cities, including Denver. But alas, all good things must come to an end, and earlier this year, the fest's founder Ian Douglas Terry announced that 2017 would be Crom's final year. With a bevy of local and national comics joining this year's headliners Brooks Wheelan, the Puterbaugh Sisters, Solomon Georgio and Allen Strickland Williams, the streamlined schedule will include daily free shows at Ratio Beerworks in addition to the headliner showcases at nearby Crossroads Theater, where $15 grants you admission to two shows. After fine showings at its sister festivals in Omaha and Toronto, Crom Denver is truly the festival's final bow, so come bid Crom farewell "Viking-funeral style." Admission is free to every show at Ratio Beerworks, including a special edition of Lucha Libre & Laughs on Sunday, May 21, at 7 p.m. A $15 ticket will grant admission to both Friday or Saturday night shows. Get yours from Brown Paper Tickets.

9. Guy Branum
May 25-28
Comedy Works Downtown
Denver comedy diehards may already be aware of Guy Branum from his memorable appearances at the Crom West and High Plains Comedy Festival, but he's spent the better part of the aughts perfecting his craft on stages and in writer's rooms. A staff writer on shows like Chelsea Lately and Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell, Branum immediately stood out for his memorably quick-witted panel appearances. He's also contributed scripts to The Mindy Project, Awkward and Fashion Police and performed on Last Comic Standing, Roast Battle and The Meltdown. A crowd-work virtuoso, few comedians are more adept at mining laughs from uncomfortable situations. His new series, Talk Show the Game Show recently premiered on TruTV. Showtimes and admission prices vary. Visit to learn more and buy tickets.

click to enlarge GEOFF DECKER
Geoff Decker
10. Lucha Libre & Laughs: Laughmania IV
Friday, May 26, 8 p.m.
The Oriental Theater

We're running out of accolades to shower upon Lucha Libre & Laughs, and frankly, we're beginning to resent its unrelenting delightfulness. However, it's worth noting that the Westword-lauded showcase is celebrating its fourth anniversary, with a lineup that will make you tap out for mercy. In the ring, fans can expect to see bouts from favorites like Martin Casaus, Lonnie Valdez and Mike Sydal, a special return appearance from Japanese wrestling legend Kikutaro, plus "enough flown-in wrestling stars to ruin my life if everything goes wrong," producer/ bumbling referee Nick Gossert assures us. There'll be brawn aplenty on the mic as well, with emcee Bobby Valentino crooning and mooning between performances from heavy hitters Christie Buchele and Aaron Urist to whet the crowd's appetite for their headliner, John "Hippieman" Novosad. Doors open at 7 p.m., showtime is at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 via