Aparna Nancherla on Totally Biased, Australian crowds and avoiding the dregs of Twitter

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Doug Ault
The High Plains Comedy Festival will return next month, and SexPot comedy will whet fans' appetites tonight with another weed-and-jokes pizza party at the Oriental Theater. The lineup is packed with crushers from start to finish: SexPot host Jordan Doll and comics Sean Patton, Ashley Barnhill and Ian Douglas Terry will join headliner Aparna Nancherla for an evening that promises to be a greasy slice of laughter pie. Nancherla is a fast-rising star on the alternative comedy scene whose absurdist perspective informs a wide-ranging act that can touch on everything from the gross combo of orange juice and toothpaste to imperialism within the same five-minute set. Nancherla has appeared on Conan and @Midnight, and contributed several memorable segments as a performer and staff writer to the prematurely cancelled Totally Biased with Kamau Bell. In advance of tonight's show, Westword caught up with Nancherla to chat about about SexPot, Australian audiences and avoiding the dregs of Twitter.

See also: Marc Maron on patent trolls and spiritual experiences in the desert

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Marc Maron on patent trolls and spiritual experiences in the desert

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Robyn Von Swank/ IFC
Most comedy nerds are already familiar with Marc Maron's biography. He rose to prominence in the alt-comedy scene of the '90s before floundering through a few TV and radio gigs that never felt like a perfect fit. Despite racking up over forty appearances on the various incarnations of Conan and never leaving the airwaves for long, Maron's career was at a low point when he started the WTF podcast in his garage. In addition to in-depth interviews with comedians, musicians and the occasional movie star, WTF gives plenty of mic time to Maron's chronic over-sharing as well. Though off-putting at first to some listeners, his rambling engenders a more personal connection with the legion of listeners who have flocked to his shows. Currently starring in the final few episodes of the second season his IFC sitcomMaron, he'll be headlining this weekend at the downtown Comedy Works . In advance of that run, we caught up with Maron to discuss patent trolls, Denver's drunk crowds and his attempts at a spiritual experience in the desert.

See also: Christopher Titus on happiness, joking about guns, and Pawnography

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Christopher Titus on happiness, joking about guns, and Pawnography

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Christopher Titus is a singular voice in standup comedy, with a unique style and profound personal connection to his fanbase. Titus stood out early on with appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Premium Blend, and managed to turn his one-man show Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding into the eponymous sitcom Titus, which ran from 2000 t 2002 on Fox until it was cancelled following a dispute with executives. Titus remained prolific in the aftermath, releasing standup specials The Fifth Annual End of the World Tour, Love is Evol, Neverlution and The Voice in my Head in the space of a few years. He now co-hosts the Titus Podcast and is working to fund a movie called Special Unit, co-starring Denver's own Josh Blue, as well as gearing up for his next special, The Angry Pursuit of Happiness. Titus will headline at Comedy Works South this week; in advance of those shows, Westword caught up with him to discuss honesty in comedy, dismantling pro-gun hysteria with humor, and his new History Channel game show, Pawnography.

See also: Paul Reiser on his Sundance film and returning to standup after twenty years

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Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Andy Juett

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Chris Baker
Andy Juett at Cartoons and Comedy.
#69: Andy Juett
Andy Juett came to the local comedy scene via radio, and has blossomed into a booster, standup comic, producer, stage host, behind-the-scenes guy and co-owner of the High Plains Comedy Festival, which kicks off its second year in August. But he also rolls out comedy shows all year 'round at the Oriental Theater and other local venues as a partner in Kayvan Khalatbari's Sexpot Comedy. What keeps Andy Juett moving and shaking and scaring up laughs? Check out his 100CC questionnaire for answers.

See also: Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Thomas Scharfenberg

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The ten best comedy events in Denver this July

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Robyn Von Swank/ IFC

July, with its sweltering afternoons and late evening sunsets, is filled with a kind of sun-dappled shapelessness; its days were once described by Ada Louise Huxtable as "jeweled balm for the battered spirit."

Balming the battered is also a standup comedian's job description, and this month promises a healing wave of laughs washing over our arid city, featuring seasoned chortle-mongers from across the country. From one-night only theater appearances by sitcom stars to comedy nerd heroes at local clubs, battered spirits from across the spectrum of comedy fandom will find plenty of opportunities to laugh in air-conditioned comfort.

See also: The ten best geek events in Denver in July

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Adam Goldstein talks Artistes Nouveaux and the emergence of the Aurora Cultural Arts District

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CJ Nicolai
Adam Goldstein is the curator and a performer in this weekend's Artistes Nouveaux.After spending time living and studying abroad, singer and musician Adam Goldstein returned to America with a newly acquired passion -- performing Irish pub ballads. Unsure he would be able to find a venue in Denver for his catalog of unique drinking songs, he eventually discovered Lannie's Clocktower Cabaret -- which has been his performance home for the last six years.

This Saturday, June 28 at the Aurora Fox Arts Center, Goldstein presents Artistes Nouveaux, a one-night-only Vaudeville-inspired show featuring a cadre of performers he's brought from his entertainment family at Lannie's. Entertainers include Naughty Pierre, magician and mentalist Professor Phelyx and world-renowned burlesque queen Orchid Mei and more.

In advance of the old-time show, we spoke with Goldstein (who is also a Westword music writer) about his desire to bring Vaudeville to life and the importance of showing off Aurora's Cultural Arts District.

See also: Denver's Midnite Martini wins burlesque's Miss Exotic World title in Las Vegas

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Adam Cayton-Holland on doubling down for High Plains Comedy Festival's second year

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Mindy Tucker

Adam Cayton-Holland is a comedian, podcaster and former Westword scribe who forged his craft in ego-battering Colfax open mics before co-founding The Grawlix with Ben Roy and Andrew Orvedahl, a union that has produced a self-titled parodic web series and Denver's best monthly standup showcase -- which just so happens to be tonight at the Bug Theater at 10:30 p.m. Cayton-Holland has amassed an enviable list of TV credits, delivering strong sets on shows Conan and The Pete Holmes Show, while steadfastly residing in his native Denver, where the outspoken baseball fan recently realized his lifelong dream of throwing out the opening pitch at a Rockies game after a long social media campaign. And Cayton-Holland's brainchild, The High Plains Comedy Festival, continues to thrive under his quiet but determined stewardship, with the second edition set for August 22-23. The unbelievably stacked lineup includes returning champions from last year's fest, like Beth Stelling, Sean Patton, Kate Berlant, Ian Douglas Terry and Cameron Esposito, in addition to Silicon Valley's Kumail Nanjiani and T.J. Miller as well as ringers like Chris Fairbanks, Baron Vaughn and the top-billed Pete Holmes.

Westword recently met up with Cayton-Holland at the favored Baker haunt and High Plains venue Mutiny Information Cafe to discuss his post-surgery Frankenfoot and doubling down for the festival's second year.

See also: High Plains Comedy Festival explodes in Denver -- and the jokes still echo

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Lori Callahan was the heart of the Denver comedy scene -- until her own heart failed her

Categories: Comedy

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Photo by Crystal Allen; Photo illustration by Jay Vollmar
People would laugh until they cried when Lori Callahan took the stage at Comedy Works South. And on April 13, both laughter and tears poured out as friends, family members and Callahan's fellow comics gathered in the room where the redheaded comic had slung jokes for years, taking their turn at the microphone as they honored the woman whom many called the "den mother of Denver comedy."

This city's comics fight every week to stand before a Comedy Works microphone, telling their stories to the crowd. But on this day, they were all telling Lori stories. How she had taken them on road trips around the country to tiny venues in one-horse towns. How she had gotten them gigs they never would have come near otherwise. How she would take them in her arms and tell them that they did great, that they killed, that they would make it one day.

See also: Denver comics remember Lori Callahan

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Allen Strickland Williams on one-liners, sketch comedy and #YesAllWomen

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Kelly Rose
Allen Strickland Williams is a Los Angeles-based writer, comedian and former NBC page who somehow absorbed that office's buttoned-down aesthetic. Today Williams, along with fellow standups Jake Weisman, Dave Ross and Pat Bishop, comprise the sketch-comedy group Women, whose widely circulated videos are nibbles of absurdity dolloped by grim punchlines. Women will descend on the Oriental Theater this Saturday, June 21st for the monthly Sexpot Comedy showcase. The show, hosted as always by Jordan Doll, features standup from each member, as well as videos and live sketches. It's also a Sexpot show, with all the dab dabbling that implies. In advance of the gig, Westword caught up with Williams to discuss what makes Women's sketches different, his fondness for one-liners, and his essay about the #YesAllWomen hashtag.

See also: Dave Ross on tour mishaps, Drunk History, Deer Pile and his sketch group, Women

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Paul Reiser on his Sundance film and returning to standup after twenty years

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To anyone who grew up watching too much basic cable in the '80s and '90s, the sight of Paul Reiser cracking wise is comfortingly familiar. Whether on contemporary classics like Aliens and Diner or the long-running and widely syndicated sitcom Mad About You, chances are good that Reiser's face is on a television somewhere at this exact moment.

Not one to rest on his considerable laurels, however, Reiser is currently in the midst of a mid-career renaissance, appearing in several upcoming movies and honing his standup act in clubs across the country. In town this weekend to headline Comedy Works' South club, Reiser talked with Westword about his role in the Sundance Film Festival smash Whiplash, the lasting influence of Aliens, and his experience returning to the stage after a twenty-year hiatus from standup.

See also: Bobby Lee on Hollywood's lack of Asian roles, sobriety and an ambush from a naked fan

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