The 3rd annual High Plains Comedy Festival just wrapped up, as moments ago the last comedian finally passed out. The three-day festival was a smooth success, showcasing strong national and local talent in both traditional and concept shows. The events were blocks away with many free shows making it easy to spend all day laughing. Here’s a handy list of the poignant moments I was fortunate enough to experience.
10. Uncalled Four, Denver’s premier comedy game show, raising the stakes with fifth panelist local Byron Graham. It was an extremely close race until Matt Braunger narrowly defeated a book-related vaginal reference with his culinary-related vaginal reference. Dramedy! The show is hitting its stride and the I only wish it was on TV already so we could stream it at home during family dinners.
9. Watching shows at 3 Kings from the cheap seats, aka the outside window. Second place is an ear to the glass at Mutiny. Hi-Dive is great but could install a skylight to better cater to the broke moocher demographic.
8. Cartoons & Comedy transforming an afternoon crowd into a group of giggling, cereal-slurping seven-year-olds. I think I saw some thumb-sucking. Go Planet!
7. Busting all of the moves to the hypnotic pulsing jam spasms of Total Ghost. Keyboards were harmed. Also shout outs to jockeys of discs Jonah Ray and Erin Stereo.
6. Seeing the Grawlix fellas all pumped from their recent Those Who Can’t wrapping as they fight off the demons of Hollywood success with some down-home root recharging.
5. Sponsors Sexy Pizza, Illegal Pete’s and Denver Relief keeping bellies full and spirits high, with sticky happy fingers for all.
4. Realizing that comedy allows far more access to the performers than other art forms. Comics love (or at least need) to meet people and talk comedy and – they’re right over there! Stop staring you’ll make ’em feel weird! Aww they went back in the green room, creepo.
3. Ben Kronberg’s semi-secret open mic smoke bus. Enjoying the sights of Denver with stand-up in a school bus full of pot smoke. It was such good vibes that I accidentally dropped the joint out the window while ashing it and nobody yelled non-jokingly. Provided by BusToShow.org.
2. Learning that Kurt Braunohler‘s beaver closer loses a certain pop when his scrotum isn’t visible. The bulging profile of his Braunsac perfectly/horrifically balanced the imaginary (incredible versatile) beaver tail. Such are the freak results of Ian Abramson‘s Seven Minutes in Purgatory, where comics are disconnected from seeing or hearing their live audience.
1. Anthony Jeselnik fucking delivered. He ran his new hour before taking it on tour and it will not disappoint fans as he fans disappointment. He was surprised Denver was so into his shocking punchlines. This was the kind of show where couples went home to shower before they had sex.
0. SECRET REASON ZERO – There was a line that many comedians echoed this weekend “Denver is the best comedy city in the world.” How could such a thing be true? To compete with the coastal heads of industry? Hmm, they must be too high on our school-funding space cakes, pay them no mind!
Blocking off some free time for August 2016 would be wise.
Honorable Mention – The Fine Gentleman’s Club’s tearful, highly-sexual reunion.
Open the pod bay doors and cast your riffnets! Denver has a rich podcast environment that I am exploring in an attempt to disguise myself among the locals – I mean be a funny comedian! Click the links or pictures below to listen!
Adrian Mesa and Eric Henderson host this comedic celebration of food, showcasing three “cook-medians” as a three course meal. Each does a savory stand-up set and subsequent food-terview. Real food is made for the audience, which you who are bound by time can no longer enjoy! This episode’s theme was FUTURE FOODS, I am the entree after appetizer Meghan DePonceau and before dessert Joshua Skillman.
Length: 74 minutes. Cook and eat dinner while you listen!
From the future of food to all food’s future. Virgil Dickerson and Ron Doyle mastermind the classiest podcast about poop possible. Poop Talk is a succinct, beautifully edited journey that explores comedians’ moving movement memories. I discuss what it was like to poop at the Great Wall of China. They are the Radiolab of butt nuggets. The NPR of IBS.
This weekly podcast digest is one of the most successful podcasts in Denver with good reason. Hosts Jake Browne, Jake Becker, and Zac Maas bring on comedians to riff about what’s happening in the podosphere. I am on with local slugger and doppelganger Tim Messenger, and there is such a variety of podcasts that you can never tell where the conversation will go. I learn a lot, especially about Chinchillas.
Length: 80 minutes. Inhale some legal Oxygen stimulators with your bros and br-O2 out.
I’ve been in Denver for a month now, and regret my decision 0%.
I am absolutely floored with the variety and excitement in the Denver comedy scene. I must do a full analysis before my brain and I figure out what kind of show we want to contribute. In Miami, I would just create a(nother) quality showcase because we still need them down there. Here, there are so many tightly run showcases that conceptual rooms thrive. There are shows where comics debate issues, comment on live wrestling and 80s cartoons, improv entire sets, play videogames, and feed the audience. There are more and I’d like to highlight and link them but I’ll get to that in a more proper article.
Tonight I have landed a spot at one such lauded showcase. The Greater Than Social Club is a monthly musical comedy colloquium put on by the Greater Than Collective, I’m > happy to be a part of it. Tonight at 3 Kings Tavern.
The South Beach Comedy Festival is back. Last night the festival kicked off it’s 10th year with the hilarious meta-play Earthquake by local theater collective Mad Cat & More. Now the stage is set for some serious stand-up comedy. (Also some Sirius stand-up comedy, SiriusXM is this year’s media partner and hosting their own showcase.) It is a rare treat to have so much funny concentrated on our beaches, so be sure to soak it in. The only wrinkles you’ll get are laugh lines. Here are five reason why you should work this festival into your weekend.
1. Huge Names – You don’t need to be a comedy nerd to know this year’s headliners. Patton Oswalt, Bill Burr, Hannibal Burress, and Dave Chappelle are four of the sharpest, most prolific comic minds of our age. Rounding out that lineup are rising stars Michael Yo, Mark Normand, Deon Cole, Esther Ku, and more, plus a ton of local acts. (Also Chappelle just added a third show on Sunday -hurry) Pick any show, you will laugh.
2. Streamlined – This is the 10th year of the festival and they have shed the extra venues to house all shows within The Fillmore Miami Beach and it’s backroom The Gleason Room Backstage. Although the Colony and Lincoln Theaters are pretty, it added confusion with people running back and forth between venues trying to catch shows on time. There was a free outdoor stage in the middle of Lincoln Road outdoor mall, which was hilarious not only because of the talent, but also because that talent had to tell those jokes to an endless stream of tourists, toddlers, and dogs wearing designer clothing. Fond memories, but perhaps it’s for the best.
3. Local Love – This year the festival is showcasing more local talent than ever. Our very own comedians are opening up for some of the biggest names in comedy. Lisa Corrao for Patton Oswalt, Forrest Shaw for Bill Burr, Orlando Leyba for Michael Yo and Dave Williamson for Mark Normand. Every night in the Gleason Room Backstage there are shows focusing on homegrown talent. Mad Cat & More and Comedy Records are recording a live album featuring Miami comedians at the festival. Local Wynwood Radio has put together a showcase. Not only that, every night after the last main show there will be a free local comedian showcase curated by local outlets Casa de Haha and Artistic Vibes, in the Red Star Lounge in The Fillmore lobby at 11:30 Thursday through Saturday.
4. FREE Shows – Yes you might have to pay someone $400 and your cousin’s purple jetski to score sold-out Chappelle tickets. If you can’t afford that don’t worry, almost half of the shows at the festival are free. The SiriusXM Showcase, South Beach Album Recording, and Wynwood Radio Spectacular are all free, as well as the nightly locals showcase after the main shows. You can buy one ticket and stay for three shows. Or just come for the freebies, broke people are welcome in comedy as many in comedy are broke people. Be sure to check door times for free shows as they are first come first serve.
5. Scene Support – The truth is that none of these comedians would be here if not for the festival. Miami is sadly not a “comedy town”, and South Beach is too busy dancing on molly to listen to a joke set-up. It’s not easy competing with the pleasures of tropical paradise when other cities use comedy shows as a way to escape blizzards. But there’s potential. Having great crowds convinces comedians to come back, and they really would love to come back.
In about a month I will relocate to Denver, Colorado. My residency, my stuff, my elbows – everything. Why? Short answer: I’ve seen the comedy renaissance happening there and it’s a special thing. Creative yet professional. Industrious yet welcoming. I need more data. There is a high probability that exposure will enhance my node clusters! (No-robo)
I planned this over a year ago, so long ago that friends now greet me with a hearty “You’re still here?” Yep, until the end of April. Can you at least change the emphasis to “You’re still here?” I also enjoy a warm “You’re back already?!”
I’m tying a bow on my time in Miami. Instead of ending my comedy shows, I passed them on to the next generation. I wish that wasn’t worth noting, but here it’s more likely a room doesn’t survive long enough to be passed on. There are a mere handful of comedy shows in South Florida considered institutions. Comedy towns have dozens these long running shows where a standard of quality is set and maintained, traditions and quirks grow, and it becomes a hub of activity that sparks creativity and partnerships. South Florida’s comedy scene cyclically flourishes then starves, exhibiting the seasons our climate zone does not. Comedy rooms swarm like tadpoles where only a few get enough support from the scene and city to achieve froghood. (Froghood the animated series coming next fall to FOX – you’ll never guess what stereotype they represent!)
Come say seeya to me at one of these worthy events!
No comedian has done it like Tom Rhodes. After proving himself as a top tier American club comic, life and love took him elsewhere. Tom talks travel, winning @midnight, 30 days at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and his unique path in comedy.