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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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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The Ten Best Comedy Events in Denver in November -- and a Bonus

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As the holiday season approaches, the entertainment calendar for November has plenty of comic delights for giggle gobblers. Sidling up to a table richly dressed with top-notch performers, local comedy fans will be heartily stuffed and belly-sore by the month's end. With options including a Denver comedy institution celebrating its fourth anniversary, two of The Daily Show's most accomplished correspondents dropping in for grand theater shows, club sets from movie stars and comic heroes alike, as well as a truly exceptional month of programming from both Comedy Works locations, it's a moveable feast of funny all November long. Keep reading for our top ten comedy events, in chronological order, with a rescheduled bonus at the end.

See also: Five Best Horror Franchises to Marathon-Watch This Halloween

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Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Taylor Gonda

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Taylor Gonda, at the mic talking pop culture for These Things Matter.
#52: Taylor Gonda

When it comes to popular culture, Taylor Gonda talks a great game. As co-host of the local podcast These Things Matter, she chats about music, movies and other obsessions with celebrities both local and sometimes national. But there's more to Gonda than These Things Matter: A regular contributor to Denver's storytelling spotlight The Narrators and the woman behind the man for Adam Cayton-Holland's My Dining Room Table podcast, she also spent more than six years as a director and behind-the-scenes ensemble member of the defunct and sorely missed Paragon Theatre company. We invited Gonda to talk up what rocks her rapidly spinning world; find out more from her 100CC questionnaire, which follows.

See also: Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Kevin O'Brien


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Brock Wilbur on Recording His New Album, Burning Material and Performing Before Mom

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Spitfire Creative
Screenwriter, actor, podcaster and comedian Brock Wilbur has outsized ambition that matches his mountainous physique. He records at least an hour of standup every year, then starts fresh with new material; he also writes and produces films, and tours the country. He'll be bringing a cornucopia of comedy to Denver this weekend, where he will record his set and also the podcast he co-hosts with Rob Ondarza and Joe Starr. This is the third live album for the industrious Wilbur, which will be recording his free shows Saturday, September 20 at Voodoo Comedy Playhouse. Wilbur is also featured on Friday, September 19 at the Sexpot Comedy Aerial Menagerie showcase with locals Jay Gillespie and Haley Driscoll, along with co-headliners David Hunstberger and Dan St. Germain.
Westword caught up with Wilbur before his trip to town to discuss his slash- and-burn work ethic, balancing screenwriting with comedy, and the motherly guest of honor at his taping.

See also: Tim Heidecker on Bedtime Stories and Touring with Dr. Steve Brule


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

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Ryan Brackin
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. Indeed, several great podcasts have blossomed from Denver's own 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.

After he successfully navigated the High Plains Comedy Festival through its second year, it would be understandable for Adam Cayton-Holland to indulge in a bit of glad-handing and laurel-resting before moving forward. Instead, he's been busier than ever. He'll be appearing on the series premiere of The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail and competing once more on @Midnight, so tune into Comedy Central on September 17 for a "double-dose of ACH." In preparation for an upcoming show at L.A.'s taste-making alt-comedy venue, Holland will be debuting his hour on Saturday, September 13 at the Syntax Physic Opera. With all these developments in the running, the time has never been better to check out My Dining Room Table, an interview podcast featuring national headlining comedians, Denver luminaries and plenty of discussion about Holland's dog, Annabel.

See also: Podcast Profiles: Werewolf Radar Gets Weird

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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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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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