Josh Blue on Dave Chapelle, Speaking Wolof and 108 Stitches

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Terry Ratzlaff
Josh Blue is a singular talent with an undeniable facility for hilarious riffs that he seems to casually toss off; he also has an uncanny ability to be instantly likable from the moment he grabs the mike. Blue has been a pillar of the Denver comedy scene for years; he broke out nationally when he won NBC's Last Comic Standing in 2006. Throughout his illustrious career, Blue has managed to mine his cerebral palsy for comedic gold; he doesn't shy away from challenging subjects, either. Blue is closing out a pretty stellar 2014 at the home club where he developed his skills. We caught up with Blue in advance of his holiday shows that start tomorrow at the downtown Comedy Works to discuss opening for Dave Chapelle, telling jokes in other languages and his first big film role in 108 Stitches.

See also: Comedian Josh Blue on the pros and cons of being an "inspiration"

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Todd Barry on the Crowd Work Tour, Podcasts and His best-Known Roles

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In addition to providing the pizza-soaked lifeblood of Denver's comedy scene and sponsoring some of its best local showcases, SexPot has really hung its hat on its namesake showcases at the Oriental Theater. And producer Andy Juett has pulled out all the stops for the one-year anniversary show, "A Chilly Evening with Todd Barry," landing SexPot's biggest headliner yet for the December 19 event. Todd Barry is a veteran standup best known for his appearances on such TV shows as Flight of the Conchords and Louie, as well as films like The Wrestler. Fresh off his last special, The Crowd Work Tour -- which consisted of nothing but crowd-generated riffs and good-natured mockery -- Barry has a fresh bundle of jokes for SexPot's loyal crowd. Although this month's showcase concludes SexPot's monthly engagement at the historic Oriental (which will hitherto be reserved for high-drawing headliners and special occasions), the SexPot brand is charging forward, relocating the monthly show to that Baker staple, 3 Kings Tavern, in 2015.

In celebration of SexPot's special showcase, Westword caught up with Barry to discuss working on new jokes after his Crowd Work Tour special, his European podcast fans and his most well-known film and TV roles.

See also: Sexpot Comedy Launches Website That Takes Local Funny Business Seriously

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Podcast Profiles: Haley Driscoll and Christie Buchele Get Personal on Empty Girlfriend

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Ryan Brackin
(from left) Haley Driscoll and Christie Buchele
Podcasts are in tune with the democratized spirit of Internet media; anyone with a microphone and a computer can offer their listeners unlimited hours of recordings, usually for free. Limited only by their imaginations, podcasters have a freedom of expression unrestricted by commerce, censorship or geography. Several great podcasts have blossomed in Denver's flourishing arts community; here to celebrate them is Podcast Profiles, a new series documenting the efforts of local podcasters and spotlighting the peculiar personalities behind them.

Releasing weekly episodes since August, Empty Girlfriend came out of the gate fully formed. The brainchild of local comics Christie Buchele and Haley Driscoll, the podcast interviews local comedians, musicians and veterinarians about their relationship histories, offering "love tips and love quips from unqualified professionals." Buchele and Driscoll are charming and disarming co-hosts who put their guests at ease for surprisingly revealing interviews. Though unafraid to delve into more somber topics like heartbreak, disease and personal struggle, the podcast is always leavened by their quick wit and sentence-finishing chemistry. Westword caught up with the Empty Girlfriends to discuss rising from the ashes of an attempted sketch show, asking personal questions and doo-doo pussy.

See also: Podcast Profiles: Adam Cayton-Holland and My Dining Room Table

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Mona Lott plays Strip-Joker With Comics for Stripped Down Standup

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Mona Lott at Stripped Down Standup.
Strippers and standup comedians have more in common than it would seem at first blush. Both performers take to the stage -- usually alone -- trying to evoke a reaction from an audience full of creeps they'd avoid in other circumstances. Bridging the gap between these two disparate art forms -- in much the same way that cocaine did in the '80s -- is a comedian and host of "Ball Bustin' Bingo."

Less of a Drag Queen than a Drag Empress, Mona Lott seized upon the idea of having comedians and strippers share the stage in "a game of strip poker that uses jokes instead of cards." The show, called "Stripped Down Standup" has been packing the house with crowds of over 200. The next one takes place Wednesday, December 3 at the Denver Improv. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $7.50 on the Denver Improv website.

Turn the page to hear more from Mona.

See also: Nate Bargatze on Recording His Special and Playing Baseball With Pizza Boxes

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Nate Bargatze on Recording His Special and Playing Baseball With Pizza Boxes

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Nate Bargatze has been on the cusp of stardom for a few years now. For a comic whose fanbase includes luminaries such as Marc Maron, Bargatze's act is much more approachable than his reputation might suggest. Affable and generally TV-clean, Bargatze has a playfully dark sensibility that's buoyed by innate comic timing and a Southern accent. He's appeared on Conan, Maron and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, who also featured Bargatze on his Clean Cut Comedy Tour. His debut album, Yelled at by a Clown, made it to the Billboard Top Ten Comedy Charts and he's toured extensively with the USO, performing for deployed troops in Iraq and Kuwait. Bargatze has already endeared himself to Denver crowds with a strong showing at last year's High Plains Comedy Festival; in advance of his upcoming headlining gig at the downtown Comedy Works, we caught up with Bargatze to discuss comedy festivals, his new special, and playing pizza-box baseball at High Plains.

See also: John Leguizamo on His Standup Tour, Fugly and Summer of Sam

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The Ten Best Comedy Events in Denver in December

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Whether you've been staunchly making merry since Halloween or crankily sneer at holiday cheer each year, December is unquestionably dominated by its traditions -- driven by consumerism, religiosity and compulsory family bonding. This year, amid economic anxiety, polar vortexes and heartbreaking news reports, people might find themselves in dire need of a laugh. And while Entertainment is usually an afterthought in December, typically limited to agreeably mediocre Hollywood spectacles, Denver comedy bundles up and trudges on through the month. While we may have fewer high-profile visitors than during last month's banner programming calendar, we have a proliferation of locally-produced showcases that run the giggle gamut, including two live sketch comedy shows, on-the-rise comics and international TV stars with a devoted cult following. So brave the polar vortex and take a break from the seasonal doldrums at one of our top ten comedy shows, listed in chronological order.

See also: Playbill'sThree Holiday Stage Classics for Everyone


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Marginalized Folks, Butts and Jokes: When Pop Culture Is Made to Laugh at Us, Not With Us

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As a feminist, why must I have an opinion on this existing?
Back in August, I went to see Dave Chappelle perform at the Boulder Theater with my boyfriend and a gaggle of our best dude friends. A longtime fan of Chappelle's work, it was the first time I would be seeing his standup live, and I was stoked.

But halfway into his set, I had to turn off. If you are a female-identified person, a person of color, a member of the GLBTQIA community or any other under-represented or marginalized group, you know what I'm talking about. It's that inevitable time during a pop-culture-oriented experience when the subject matter turns on you: You become the punchline or the subject of harm or are put into a position of submission. Suddenly, you have to filter what is being presented to you.

See also: Have you hugged your male feminist today?

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Sexpot Comedy Launches Website That Takes Local Funny Business Seriously

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Sexpot owners Andy Juett (left) and Kayvan Khalatbari.
It just got easier to laugh in Denver. Kayvan Khalatbari, local ganjaprenuer, owner of three Sexy Pizza spots and godfather of the Sexpot series of comedy shows, just launched a new website that ties together many of the various strands that make up Denver's burgeoning comedy scene. The site, SexpotComedy.com, is a hub of information that includes a calendar of area comedy shows and an audio archive of past shows, as well as podcasts and videos, mostly produced by Denver comedians.

See also: Sexy Pizza Expands Sexpot Comedy With Third Location In Jefferson Park


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John Leguizamo on His Standup Tour, Fugly and Summer of Sam

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Courtesy John Leguizamo
To call comedian John Leguizamo versatile is an understatement. The man is a show-business chameleon, flexing his talents in writing and producing, while also acting in film, television and on Broadway. This weekend Leguizamo will bring his Latin History for Dummies tour to Comedy Works South. In advance of the two-night run, we talked with Leguizamo about what makes him tick and how he can switch roles so effectively.

See also: Bob Saget on Riffing, Self-Awareness and Dirty Daddy, His New Book

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Tig Notaro Gets Her Life Back on Track With Boyish Girl Interrupted Tour

Categories: Comedy

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Ruthie Wyatt
Tig Notaro shares her new perspective on life and comedy after cancer.
In 2012, comedian Tig Notaro delivered a set at Largo, a Los Angeles club, that would change her life. Notaro had lost her mother, lost her relationship, contracted a life-threatening intestinal disease and just been diagnosed with breast cancer -- and she says she felt compelled to share her misfortunes on stage, in a performance that would later be released as her CD Live. After the show, she received an overwhelming amount of support from fans and the comedy community, with comedians like Louis C.K. saying it was one of the greatest sets he had ever seen.

Two years later, Notaro is happy and healthy and embarking on a new tour, Boyish Girl Interrupted, which will bring her to the Paramount Theater on Sunday, November 9. In advance of her visit here, Westword spoke with Notaro about life after rock bottom.

See also: Bob Saget on Riffing, Self-Awareness and Dirty Daddy, His New Book

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