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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Pete Holmes on the High Plains Comedy Festival and Silver Linings

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Pete Holmes is a comedian whose irrepressible spirit has endeared him to audiences nationwide. His last special, Nice Try, the Devil, aired last year on Comedy Central to widespread acclaim; we named it one of the best comedy specials of 2013. Until a couple of months ago, Holmes also hosted the Conan O'Brien-produced talk show The Pete Holmes Show on TBS; his podcast, You Made It Weird, continues to feature in-depth interviews. Holmes is In town this week to co-headline the locally produced High Plains Comedy Festival with his friends and early colleagues Kumail Nanjiani and T.J. Miller. Westword caught up with Holmes to discuss doing festivals with his friends, the silver linings in the aftermath of his show's cancellation, and Adam Cayton-Holland's ridiculous name.

See also: The ten best comedy events in Denver this August

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Adam Sank on Last Comic Standing and performing at nudist retreats

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Michael Martin

This show has been postponed until September 24: Adam Sank is a nationally renowned comedian who has appeared on Last Comic Standing and VH1's Best Week Ever. In June, he debuted his one-man cabaret show Mama, I Want to Sing Showtunes: A One 'Mo Show to sell-out crowds. Sank is coming to the Denver Improv on Wednesday, July 30 in September. Westword caught up with Sank to talk about everything from transcending an audience's labels to performing at nudist retreats.

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

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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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The Great Flood director Bill Morrison on collaborating with Bill Frisell

Categories: Interviews

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Clayton James Cubitt
Bill Morrison.
New York-based filmmaker Bill Morrison had already made two short films using Bill Frisell's pre-recorded music, but Morrison wanted to work with the well-known jazz guitarist on a longer project. That effort would become The Great Flood, a documentary that they started collaborating on a few years ago and released on DVD last year. Using film footage from the Fox Movietone News Collection and the National Archives of the Mississippi River Flood of 1927 (the most destructive flood in American history), Morrison assembled the eighty-minute film. There's not a word in the movie -- much less dialogue or narration -- just Frisell's score to accompany the visuals of the catastrophe.

In advance of a screening Saturday, July 19 at the Boulder Theater, we spoke with Morrison about what inspired him to make the film.

See also: Bill Frisell on working with Dale Bruning

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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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Peter Sagal talks about fleeting radio fame, Elvis Costello and John Tesh

Categories: Interviews

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Andrew Collings/NPR

When National Public Radio's weekly news quiz, "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!," began, way back in 1998, host Peter Sagal and his sidekick, radio veteran Carl Kassell, weren't even in the same room, let alone in front of a studio audience. The call-in show was recorded remotely from different studios.

Now the pop-culture-laced, headline-driven exam is a live, interactive experience that brings hosts, panelists and players together on stage -- and tonight, for the first time, that stage will be at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

See also: Shotgun Willie's strip joint gets shout out on NPR's Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me!

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Ken Schroeppel's DenverInfill blog keeps a close eye on the city's growth and development

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Ryan Dravitz for DenverInFill.
A city in transition: Ryan Dravitz of the DenverInfill team takes many of the site's recent shots.
Ever wonder what the plans are for a construction site that has popped up at the end of your block? Have you been curious about a new face being put on an old building downtown? For close to a decade, Ken Schroeppel has been answering these questions, documenting Denver's development progress through his blog DenverInfill and its companion, DenverUrbanism.

By day, he's an urban planner and professor of architecture and planning at the University of Colorado Denver -- but in his free time, Schroeppel and his team of contributors connect with developers, architects and an array of folks in the construction field to create a detailed database of the city's current and upcoming construction projects.

Westword spoke with Schroeppel about his long-running DenverInfill blog, how he collects his information on new buildings and the role of preservation within the development of Denver.

See also: The Denver Eye's Tom Lundin talks mid-century modern and Lakeside's Masonic roots

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Basket Case director Frank Henenlotter on the film's history and impact

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Basket Case
This Saturday, Channel Z is bringing one of the strangest buddy comedies of all time to the Alamo Drafthouse. Frank Henenlotter's horror comedy Basket Case is the tale of a country bumpkin named Duane and his horrifically deformed "twin," Belial. After his little, creepy conjoined buddy is forcibly removed, Duane sticks him in a basket and heads to the big city to seek a little revenge, creating an unforgettably strange movie along the way. Shot for almost nothing with an amateurish cast and crew, somehow this weird tale became a cult favorite, spawning two sequels that charmed/disgusted multiple generations of fans.

We spoke to Henenlotter to get his thoughts on the films enduring popularity, its equally strange sequels and how the movie helped launch a new business model for horror films.

See also: From Basket Case to Raiders, the undying cult of genre film

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