"I had to unlearn a lot of things after that," he recalls. "Like, you're going to die if you do drugs. I had a sponsor when I got out, and he said he didn't think I was an addict. But there were real alcoholics in there who had real problems."
"These days I like to talk about getting fucked up more than I like doing it," he continues. "I can't do drugs like I used to. I'm thirty now. I don't do drugs to see how high I can get anymore; I just want to enhance my experience a little bit."
Sam Tallent is shouting, but everyone is smiling.
"All these girls are into cats, and I'm jealous," he says, leaning forward on the mic stand like a Viking on a crutch. "If I'd known that girls like emotionally distant loners who shed everywhere and poop in a box in the corner...I wouldn't have changed a thing about myself."
Even though Tallent is loud, looks like he fell out of the Book of Enoch, and often puts images of revolting terror in your head with what he says on stage, he has a genuine warmth that puts the audience at ease. Unlike many standups, he doesn't shield himself with an air of superiority; instead, he immerses himself in the fans, giving them the feeling that they're in on the show.
"Sam is a loved person," says Charpentier. "That's the kind of person he is. You want to be around him. He's magnetic."
Tallent was the final cog in the Fine Gentleman's Club machine, and at the fresh-faced age of 26, he is the group's youngest member. By 2009, the division between Squire and 404 comics had begun to fade, and during many late-night post-gig smoke sessions, this quartet of comics began talking about creating a new kind of comedy team.
"We collectively came up with the name Fine Gentleman's Club," says Lund. "We thought it would be great to have a fancy-sounding name for four shabby goofballs."
The idea was to combine forces as a four-man comedy team with its own regular show. It was an idea inspired by — yet very different from — the Los Comicos show (which by this time had evolved into a new team named the Grawlix). "We love the Grawlix, and they've been good to us," says Charpentier. "But their on-stage personas are all dickheads and snooty. Which is fine. But we wanted to be different; we wanted to have a we-are-you, come-hang-out vibe. So while they're called Grawlix — which is basically a swear word, like 'fuck' — we called our show Too Much Fun."
And the fun hasn't stopped since. "What I really like about their shit is that it's a party," says Baumhauer. "It's not a show; we're just hanging out. And there's just a funny guy talking. It's in the name itself: Too Much Fun."
The very first Fine Gentleman's Club Presents Too Much Fun show was held in a shed in Boulder. It was attended by about a half-dozen people, many of whom were comedians on the bill: Someone had put the wrong address on the fliers posted about town, and even though they'd posted a sign at the incorrect address pointing people toward the right one, nobody had followed the trail. The club soon moved Too Much Fun to Denver's Rockaway Tavern, where it garnered a decent following — until the night the comics found a note on the door explaining that the venue had unexpectedly shut down.
Meanwhile, ten blocks away, in Capitol Hill, Jonny DeStefano had begun hosting a standup-and-music event called Laughs & Beats at City, O' City; a few members of the Fine Gentleman's Club were usually included on the bill. This show had also caught on with the crowds catching the comedy fever sweeping through Denver — which became a problem one night. "We didn't have a cabaret license for City, O' City," remembers DeStefano. "And five hours before the show was supposed to start, Dan Landes didn't feel comfortable doing it."
But then someone remembered the vacant space above the restaurant. During City, O' City's renovation, Landes had purchased the entire building and was renting out small rooms on the second floor as studios for artists. The rented spaces had all been remodeled, but one large room had been neglected for years by the previous tenants. "It was a mess," DeStefano says. But with the help of a few fellow comics, he whipped it into shape and went ahead with a show that night.
The Fine Gentleman's Club moved Too Much Fun there soon after. Today Deer Pile is a multi-functional venue that hosts events almost every night of the week, avoiding the cabaret-license issue by keeping the space a not-for-profit venue that does not sell alcohol. Too Much Fun fills the space every Wednesday.