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Matt Cobos, Pat Richardson and Cory Helie, hosts of the Ruckus Comedy Party at Marquis Theater on the second Sunday of every month. Photo by Andrew Bray.

How to See Standup Comedy Every Night of the Week

Denver's standup scene is as vibrant as ever—and the host of live performances happening each night prove it.

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I love standup comedy. And Denver’s scene right now, well, it’s good. But it can also feel a little insular, which is why we’re giving it some love by talking about the myriad standup shows that call Denver home. There are literally performances happening every evening in the Mile High City; below, find a curated list of open mics, showcases, and special events for every night of the week.

Disclaimer: In general, there are both spoken and unspoken rules to seeing standup. Number one, two, and three are basically don’t be a d*ck. Getting on stage is harder than you think, so please be respectful of performers by following venue rules, keeping quiet during sets, and—as always—laughing freely. Moreover, included in the below list are some open mics, which, as I mentioned above, can feel a little insider-y. Don’t fret; most comedians are happy to have a “civilian” in the audience on whom to test their jokes. In short: Go with an open mind and ready to laugh. 

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MONDAYS

Last Monday of the Month at the Monkey Bar: Monthly’n Around
Head to the Monkey Bar on the last Monday of the month for Monthly’n Around, a series hosted by Kyle Burtman. The once-a-month event brings a collection of local and visiting comics to the stage and, as its just over one-year-old, we only expect its laughs to get louder. The venue, the Monkey Bar—a delightfully cozy dive in the Art District on Santa Fe—has beer pong, flip-cup, and pickle shots, so feel free to stay late or get there early to imbibe in all of its offerings; just be sure to keep the noise to a minimum while the comics are on stage. Last Monday of the month at 8 p.m., 1112 Santa Fe Dr.; free, plus libations

Every Monday at Lion’s Lair: Open Mic
Recently, in an attempt to woo a friend into accompanying me to an open mic way past my usual bedtime on a Monday night, I sent this text: “You’ll laugh! You’ll cringe! You’ll overall mildly enjoy yourself and be glad you came. Plus: Cheap beer.” The text worked. It’s also true; attendees of Lion’s Lair’s weekly open mics must come willing to ride the great wave of open mic standup comedy. There are peaks, there are valleys, and—as in the case of most open mics—most (if not all) of the room is made up of other comedians. The Monday night open mic at the East Colfax dive is special though—it’s the Mile High City’s longest running open mic and, experience-wise, has one of the most diverse signup sheets. It also has the certain raw, gritty je ne sais quoi that encapsulates the comedy scene. Sure, there’ll be times you’re so uncomfortable that you’ll want to avoid eye contact with whoever is on stage, but if you love comedy and want to get a real, intimate portrait of the comedian’s hustle, then Lion’s Lair should be on your comedic bucket list. Every Monday night around 10:30 p.m., 2022 E. Colfax Ave.; free, plus booze

TUESDAYS

Every Tuesday at Comedy Works: New Talent Night
There may be no better place to see the Mile High City’s rising stars than Comedy Works. The downtown comedy club is an incubator for local talent, and its Tuesday evening show puts up-and-coming comics on the stage for short, open-mic-style sets. New Talent Night is so good that celebrities like Dave Chappelle and Mike Birbiglia have been known to drop in unexpectedly (at least, according to Comedy Works’ website). So keep your eyes peeled—and take note of the on-stage faces, because you might be seeing a whole lot more of them. The show is only $12, plus the club’s usual two-item minimum, which is a steal for seeing some of the best new talent in the city. Most Tuesday nights starting at 8 p.m., 1226 15th St.; see Comedy Works’ full calendar here

Every Tuesday at Black Buzzard: Open Mic Comedy Night
The opening of Black Buzzard is arguably one of the best things that happened to Denver comedy last year. The intimate, subterranean venue—an offshoot of Oskar Blues’ LoDo outpost at 16th and Market streets—has become a vivacious alcove for some of the city’s best sets. Every Tuesday night, an open mic is hosted by Janae Burris, one of 303’s picks for the 5 Funny Women You Need to Know in Denver, the New Faces Champion of Comedy Works’ annual hunt for new talent in 2016, and founding member of the now defunct-group Pussy Bros. (which was featured on NBC’s 1st Look). Every Tuesday night starting at 9:30 p.m., 1624 Market St.; free

WEDNESDAYS

First Wednesday of the Month at Infinite Monkey Theorem: Uncorked
If you love wine and laughing, boy is this event for you. Head to Infinite Monkey’s RiNo taproom for this monthly showcase, hosted by Meghan DePonceau. The local performer cofounded That’s My Jam, the umbrella for a collection of projects, including a podcast called Hot Buns and Shanty Town, a “traveling house party comedy show.” The first Wednesday of every month starting at 8 p.m., 3200 Larimer St.; free

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Second Wednesday of the Month at Call to Arms Brewing: The Kickback Comedy Show
Head to the Berkeley brewery for this monthly show, hosted by Katie Bowman, an open mic regular who has performed at Denver’s High Plains Comedy Festival and the Longmont Laugh Fest. Kickback’s lineup varies each time, and includes a hodgepodge of local and out-of-town humorists to keep things fresh. If you enjoy this event, consider going to its sister show, Study Hall, where you’ll likely see the “before” product: seasoned entertainers testing out new material. Study Hall happens on the last Wednesday of the month. The second Wednesday of every month, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., 4526 Tennyson St.; free

Every Wednesday at LoDo’s: Comedy Buffet
Load up on as much comedy and tacos as you can at this weekly “buffet.” The downtown sports bar may feel like an unlikely choice for comedy, but LoDo’s has been hosting this laugh-out-loud showcase for some time. Get reeled in with free tacos (starting around 7 p.m.), then hooked by the offbeat humor of local funny man and host Ben Kronberg. Every Wednesday starting at 8:30 p.m., 1946 Market St.; free

THURSDAYS

Every Thursday at Sushi Hai: Highlands Comedy Show
Branded the “The Best Sushi Comedy Show in the World,” this weekly showcase is hosted by local performer Jon Wilkins, who puts together a lineup of local and national acts who you may recognize from the stages of Comedy Works, the Denver Improv in Stapleton, and Loonees Comedy Corner in Colorado Springs. Every Thursday starting at 7 p.m., 3600 W. 32nd Ave.; $10 cover (reservation recommended)

First Thursdays at Mutiny Cafe: Queen City Companion
This hour-long show does things a little differently. Hosted by Jen Kolic and Brian Flynn, Queen City Companion invites local writers and performers to tell fictitious stories on stage. The imaginative storytelling is a welcomed twist on traditional standup, and a treat for the mind. Plus, if you haven’t been to Mutiny, a relic of South Broadway, a visit to the cafe/comic book store is an experience in itself. First Thursday of every month at 8 p.m., 2 S. Broadway; free

Second Thursdays  at Grandma’s House Brewery: Grandma’s Comedy
Dad jokes are taken to another level at this South Broadway brewery, where you’ll enjoy laughs courtesy of host Jon Spurgfin and his curated lineup, all in the comfort of a space that is as comfortable as your grandma’s living room. Second Thursday of every month at 8 p.m., 1710 S Broadway; free, plus beer

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FRIDAYS

Every Friday at Dean Ween’s Honey Pot Lounge: the Devil’s Lettuce
Head to one of Denver’s only social-consumption licensed businesses, which doubles as the city’s first cannabis-friendly concert venue, for a night of strange and definitely stoned humor. The South Broadway lounge (which used to be Vape and Play before it was taken over by new management earlier this year) feels a bit like a bar, except there’s no booze—only bongs and other consumption devices. It’s BYOW, so feel free to bring your own vape pen or flower, and grab a comfy seat up front. The show is hosted by comedic couple and local open mic regulars Alison Rose and Zeke Herrera. Every Friday starting around 8 p.m., 1753 S. Broadway; $7.50 for members, ask about nonmember pricing at the door

Second Fridays at the Lake House at Cherry Creek: Float Your Boat
A unique and stately venue, this sit-down joint at the Marina at Cherry Creek State Park touts itself as “Denver’s only beachside venue.” The view is actually quite lovely, and certainly a welcomed change of scenery for hard-hustling comics who are likely used to performing in dungeon-like rooms. The comedians, who come from near and far, are coordinated by Terri Barton Gregg of Hold Please Productions. Second Friday of every month at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.), 4800 S. Dayton St., Greenwood Village; $15 ($4 goes to Colorado Parks & Wildlife)

Second Fridays at Chain Reaction Brewing Company: Comedy Night
The showcase is hosted by local comedian and improviser Steve Vanderploeg, who has performed at comedy festivals across the country, including High Plains Comedy Festival in Denver and the Bay Area’s SF Sketchfest. Every month the lineup changes, but you can expect to see familiar faces, as well as performers from Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. The show was voted best comedy night in Westword’s reader’s choice awards earlier this year. Second Friday of every month, starting at 8 p.m., 902 S. Lipan St.; free, plus beer

Third Friday of the Month at Diebolt Brewing Company: Blank Slate
As you might have noticed, local breweries are hospitable and gracious hosts of local comedy productions big and small. Head to this intimate Sunnyside brewery for a showcase of local and traveling talent organized by Kira MagCalen of OdDmosis. Food trucks are usually onsite; you can find their schedule on Diebolt’s Facebook page. Third Friday of every month starting at 8 p.m., 3855 Mariposa St.; free, plus beer

Last Friday of the Month at Denver’s Dangerous Theatre: We Still Like You
Hosted by the aforementioned Kira MagCalen and Alison Rose (host of the Devil’s Lettuce), this storytelling showcase carefully selects performers to come on stage and share their most embarrassing, cringeworthy, and shameful moments. The tales are followed by “We still like you” shouts from the audience, which is a beautiful and intentional exercise of collective unconditional love and acceptance. You might cry, but you’ll definitely laugh at this lively celebration of humanity. Last Friday of every month starting at 11 p.m., 2620 W. 2nd Ave., #1; $10

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Once-a-Month Fridays at the Oriental Theater: Lucha Libre & Laughs
Watch local heavy hitters take it to the streets at this amateur-wrestling-meets-professional-comedy extravaganza. While the wrestlers duke it out, comic hosts provide epic commentary to take the show’s entertainment factor up even a few more notches. The raucous six-year-old show doesn’t stay in the bounds of the ropes of the stage, so be prepared for some, er, crowd work. Note: For unknown (to us) reasons, the May event is diverting from usual scheduling and will take place on Wednesday, May 14 at Ratio Beerworks (7 p.m., free). The June event will resume per usual at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 7

SATURDAYS

Saturdays at Voodoo Comedy Playhouse: LMAO Stand Up Comedy Showcase
If Voodoo isn’t already on your radar, it should be. The Five Points comedy club is a stalwart member of Denver’s comedy scene, including being one of the biggest teachers of aspiring funny people, with several ongoing and one-off classes, including a new standup course taught by Christie Buchele. Its Friday night showcase features ever-changing lineups, including Colorado comics as well nationally touring comedians. Every Friday at 8 p.m., 1260 22nd St.; $16–$18 at the door

SUNDAY

Second Sundays at Marquis Theater: The Ruckus Comedy Party
Hosted by Matt Cobos, Pat Richardson and Cory Helie (pictured above), this energetic Sunday night show has it all—comedy, music, even professional headliners. The Ruckus Comedy Party has seen the likes of Adam Cayton-Holland, who cofounded the Grawlix and writes for TruTV’s Those Who Can’t, and Sam Tallent, a big fish in Denver’s comedy pond, whose crowd-work will have you doubled over. Second Sunday of the month at 7 p.m., 2009 Larimer St.; $10–$12


Did I miss one of your favorite or newly started standup events in Denver? Email me at digital@5280.com

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