Governor Jack Brings Betsy Sodaro and More National Improv Stars to Denver

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Photo by Ryan Orange
Los Angeles comedian Betsy Sodaro is this month's guest for Governor Jack Watches You Sleep.
Denver's Governor Jack has been busy in 2014 -- the improv group has been performing across the U.S. this year, hitting the Detroit Improv Festival, the Omaha Improv Festival, the Del Close Marathon in New York and, most recently, the Out of Bounds Comedy festival in Austin. The troupe of funny dudes is slated to perform at the SLC Comedy Carnivale in Salt Lake at the end of the month, but not before they throw down with their own signature monthly show, Governor Jack Watches You Sleep, at Voodoo Comedy Playhouse this Friday, September 5.

This weekend's edition of the part interview-part improv event promises to be a good one, with Los Angeles-based comedic genius Betsy Sodaro coming out to Denver just for the show. Governor Jack has seen some exciting changes in the last few months, too, revamping its While You Sleep show to create a whole new comedy experience.

See also: James Clark of Governor Jack on Improv, and Making a Web Series About a Web Series

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Eugene Cordero on Drunk History, Andy Juett and the High Plains Comedy Festival

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Eugene Cordero is an improviser, actor and comedian who developed his skills in the comedy laboratory of the Upright Citizens Brigade theater. He's appeared in films like Kings of Summer and Furry Vengeance, had a recurring role on the Showtime series House of Lies, and also done bits on Comedy Central's Kroll Show and Key & Peele. Westword caught up with Cordero for a phone interview before he joins the 65 other comics descending on Denver for this weekend's High Plains Comedy Festival to discuss following the cues of soused storytellers on Drunk History and going to high school with HPCF co-owner Andy Juett.

See also: Kate Berlant on Returning to the High Plains Comedy Festival and Enjoying Confusion

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Kate Berlant on Returning to the High Plains Comedy Festival and Enjoying Confusion

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Kate Berlant's performances defy easy categorization, full of verbal non sequiturs and tonally absurd. She's crafted a truly sui generis comedic persona untethered to the traditions of the surprisingly hidebound medium of standup. An NYU alumnus, Berlant gained renown in the New York comedy scene, earning glowing (if befuddled) profiles in Playboy and the New York Times. A highlight of last year's High Plains Comedy Festival, Berlant has a groundswell of fans in Denver's comedy community who turned out to see her at one of the first Sexpot Comedy showcases. Westword caught up with Berlant before she returns to Denver for this weekend's High Plains Festival to discuss touring with musicians, finding her unique style, and her contingent of bro fans.

See also: Pete Holmes on the High Plains Comedy Festival and Silver Linings

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Playbill: Three Shows to See in Denver This Weekend

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Eric Weber
John Ashton in Sylvia at the Avenue Theater.
Whether you're looking for the element of surprise inherent in an off-the-cuff improv riff, a laugh-out-loud good time as light as a perfect summer evening or a chilling comedy about a woman who obsessively answers a dead man's phone, it's all yours this weekend. Read on for the details.

See also: Stories On Stage Writing Contest Seeking Upbeat Tales



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The ten best comedy events in Denver this August

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By the time August rolls around, summer seems to have lost some of its luster. We've sweltered through weeks of muggy heat and unexpected downpours, Hollywood has already burned through its popcorniest blockbusters, and attractions close down as schools prepare to open. It falls to comedy, then, to entertain browbeaten Denverites -- and fortunately, the area is replete with giggles this month. With two showcases in Boulder's rapidly growing comedy market, a Red Rocks birthday celebration with an increasingly less reclusive comedy icon, and a homegrown comedy festival, there are enough great shows to keep you laughing until autumn.

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

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

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Bobby Lee is a comedian and actor who gained notoriety in San Diego comedy clubs before moving on to a featured role on Mad TV for eight seasons. Lately he's been known for his numerous Chelsea Lately appearances and landing parts in films like The Dictator and the Harold and Kumar go to White Castle series. Lee is in town to headline Denver's esteemed Comedy Works Larimer Square all weekend; in advance of that run, Westword caught up with Lee to discuss Hollywood's lack of roles for Asian actors, getting sober with comedians' support, and an ambush from a naked fan in his dressing room.

See also: Andy Kindler on hack comics, his new CD and criticizing comedy from within

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Updated: The ten best comedy events in Denver in June

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Updated: Since this post was originally published, Tracy Morgan -- who performed a show in Denver June 1 -- was injured in an auto accident.

As summer approaches at its leisurely, flip-flopped gait, comedy fans have a full calendar of laugh appointments ahead. While almost nothing can compete with the natural splendor of a languid June evening spent outdoors in Denver, only a jejune goon would miss out on these fine shows. Besides, at a comedy club you're significantly less likely to accidentally drink the moth that flew into your beer. From stars of stage and screen gracing local venues to a showcase that actually encourages comments from the audience, comedy nerds will be drawn to these events like an eclipse of moths to an outdoor light bulb.

It's important to note that a lot can happen in a month, and national headliners often have to reschedule long after press time, so dates are subject to change (which happened last month with Bobcat Goldthwait). Regardless, there's plenty of live comedy in June that's guaranteed assuage your melancholy, and reduce you chances of discovering the unmistakable taste of foamy moth.

See also: The ten best geek events in Denver for June

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Andy Haynes on Midnight Run, 9/11 jokes and getting heckled during his own comedy special

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Andy Haynes is a veteran of several standup scenes, moving from Washington, D.C., to Seattle, then from New York to Los Angeles, cultivating his sharp joke-telling style and putting in strong appearances on Conan and the Comedy Central Half Hour. Haynes is also known for his Midnight Run comedy showcase, which gets comedians unreasonably stoned and then lets them sort through the weirdness onstage. A natural fit for the Sexpot Comedy brand, Haynes is in town this week to bring his Midnight Run showcase to an appreciative and equally stoned Denver audience. In advance of the April 17 date, Westword talked with Haynes about Midnight Run, 9/11 jokes and getting heckled.

See also: Chris Fairbanks on Sexpot Comedy, suicidal civil engineers and the Tosh controversy

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The ten best comedy events in Denver this April

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BET
April is a month of rejuvenation and light-hearted trickery, a season of pranks, afternoon showers and street-sweeping tickets. Only the truly foolish would miss out on the fine assortment of comedy shows in Denver this month. With everything from a visit from the reigning ice queen of late-night talk shows to a benefit for Down Syndrome, some great local showcases and an appearance by improviser, singer and all-round showman Wayne Brady, there's plenty of levity to carry local comedy fans through the month. Fortunately, many of these shows are free, which should provide at least a little relief to those unjustly ticketed for blocking street-sweeping operations.

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

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