Voodoo Comedy Playhouse’s resident yuksters split sides four days a week, oscillating between stand-up acts, improv shows, and celebrity impersonation revues. On Saturday nights, The Fine Gentlemen’s Club opens its stately gates for a retinue of solo joke-tellers, lobbing laugh-bombs at audiences still crooning choruses from Hit and Run’s Friday night musical improv. Chuckling companions may also rain roses on Makeshift Shakespeare’s all-male cadre of bard-minded barnstormers, who deftly fuse the rich, florid prose of Shakespeare with a soupçon of gut-busting improv. Alternatively, guests can opt for a late-night lark at the Divalicious Cabaret, which raucously parades the spitting images of such fetching celebrities as Cher, Beyoncé, and Snuffaluffagus. Suds and spirits from a full-service bar irrigate arid laugh lairs as performers tread the boards beneath Voodoo’s pristine, ultramodern theater set-up.
A Hirschfield-style line drawing of George Burns dominates the brick wall of the Loonees stage. The good-natured caricature?complete with the comedian's trademark round glasses and enormous cigar?watches over modern comics as they launch their best lines into the crowd, from Saved By the Bell alumnus Dustin Diamond to hyperactive J.J. "Dy-no-mite!" Walker from Good Times. Appetizers, sandwiches, and desserts comprise the menu, which visitors peruse before the spotlight sets the stage aglow.
Colorado Springs Comedy supports up-and-coming native comics while simultaneously busting the collective gut of the Pikes Peak region. Rather than hide tape recorders throughout a talented neighbor's home, comedy and music fans alike can descend upon Stargazers Theatre for a one-night showcase of provincial performers. A one-hour karaoke jam session kicks off the evening on a melodic note, as gifted vocalists warm up attendees with a round of well-tuned ear calisthenics. Next, a lineup of eight jesters seizes the spotlight behind headliner Troy Walker, a two-time winner of Comedy Works' New Faces contest. The multipurpose Stargazers Theatre provides a roomy, 500-person space for big shows but also shrinks itself down to a 220-person banquet hall for smaller events or Lilliputian job fairs.
Since 1993, Cirque Dreams' family-friendly variety extravaganzas have called upon a cast of acrobats, strongmen, and daredevils to wring the oohs and aahs out of audiences with tremendous feats of derring-do. During each themed production, more than 100 performers garbed in dazzling outfits twirl high in the air, contort their bodies into impossible shapes, and solve long division problems to earn uproarious applause from the crowd. At Dream Studios in Pompano Beach, Florida, hundreds of contracted artists from around the world develop their skills and prep for Cirque Dreams performances under the direction of Neil Goldberg and his team of choreographers, contortionists, and designers.
Just over three decades ago, it seemed that New York, LA, and Chicago had a stranglehold on the standup circuit. For those with guts in need of busting and knees in need of slapping, the only alternatives were treks to the Catskills or nights spent snuggling with a Bob Newhart doll. Lucky for the Denver community, Doug Olson, Edd Nichols, and George McKelvey opened Comedy Works in 1981, the city's first club to specialize only in full-time standup. Unsurprisingly, it transformed the Southwest into a prime destination for the nation's top touring comedians, even landing a spot on USA Today's list of the Top 5 Comedy Clubs in the US.
The downtown location, which still resides in the basement of the Granite Building, has played host to a who's-who of comedy throughout the decades. Roseanne Barr got her start doing open mics there, while Jerry Seinfeld, Joan Rivers, and George Lopez have all milked the mile-high elevation for maximum laughs. Now under the ace management of Wende Curtis (one of the country's few female comedy-club owners), Comedy Works has expanded to The Landmark at a second location known as Comedy Works South. The environs are decidedly posher than its predecessor's, with a 380-seat showroom, and accompanying restaurant, lounge, and ballroom. Despite the differences in atmosphere, both locations maintain the club's comedic pedigree and passion for nurturing the next generation of standups.
Comedians vie for the title of Most "Uncalled Four" in this R-rated comedy game show, but that doesn't mean the audience is there to judge. In fact, audience members are just as guilty as the comics, since they're the ones who come up with the show's questions?questions that voyage into the embarrassing, the obscene, and the just-plain-wrong. The comedians then draw on their own self-made card decks to answer these questions in the worst, and funniest, way possible. Audience members whose questions are selected for the show approach the stage to claim similarly adult-themed prizes.
In reference to the show, Westword says "The jokes tend to be dark, twisted and decidedly uncivil." while other reviewers state "Not your standard stand-up showcase, Uncalled Four is a highly entertaining and dynamic mix of game show, audience participation and stand up. Also, Prizes! "