When Greg Baumhauer, Ben Kronberg and former Westword scribe Adam Cayton-Holland, otherwise known as Wrist Deep Productions, started their open-mike comedy night on Tuesdays at the Squire Lounge (1800 East Colfax Avenue) in 2004, Baumhauer thought it would last three months. Instead, it lasted for seven and a half years -- far outpacing any running comedy show in Denver, he says. But on Tuesday December 13, Baumhauer and crew are throwing in the towel, hosting their last comedy night.
"I think it's run its course," Baumhauer says. "I think we've done as much as we can with the Squire. Being that big of an asshole is exhausting. We probably ended more careers before they ever got started than any other show around. We've crushed enough dreams."
Crushing dreams helped the Squire night earn a reputation as the meanest open mike in America; Baumhauer says even twenty-year comedy vets, some of whom had TV specials, were afraid to sign on. "If you're going to start being a comedian, you might as well get ready for a whole bunch of disappointment," Baumhauer explains. "No matter how big you get, it's right around the corner. I just think it's a great place to prepare yourself for anything that can happen. It's like comedy boot camp. If I can deal with some cracked-out tranny hooker heckling me, I can deal with some drunk chick from Cherry Creek."
As for the night's longevity, Baumhauer considers it a celebration of Colfax culture -- that, and the fact that the Squire gathering was mean-spirited, especially for the new comedians. "Denver loves to hate a little bit," he observes. But over the years, Baumhauer says, the event started turning into a hipster scene night rather than just a comedy night.
"It was fucking Lipgloss of jokes instead of a comedy show," he says. "There would be fifty or sixty hipsters in there and nobody's listening to the comedy at all. The only time anyone would stop and listen was when I was going to go up there and make fun of somebody, but they didn't even get a chance."
For now, Baumhauer says he plans on taking a break so that he can refocus, let his liver heal up a bit and maybe give his conscience the week off. Visit our Show and Tell blog next week for the full interview with Baumhauer.
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