This weekend’s High Plains Comedy Festival will plant dozens of the best local and national comics onto Mile High City stages, from biggies like Ken Jeong and Joel McHale to curated local luminaries and already-sold-out showcases such as Dyketopia.
It will also, by nature, invite jokes about our fair city. That’s nothing new, said festival founder Adam Cayton-Holland, a proud Denverite who set his truTV sitcom “Those Who Can’t” here, along with co-creators Ben Roy and Andrew Orvedahl (also performing at the festival).
But even when Cayton-Holland was a newbie comic, he tried to subvert the tropes.
“I used to have an opener about the Denver weather, how it was so inconsistent, and it could change so suddenly,” he said. “Then I would say, “Well, you know what they say about Denver weather: if you don’t like the weather in Denver, why don’t you go back where you came from you Texas, transplant asshole.’ Hacky as could be, but it crushed every time.”
Pandering to locals with skiing, Broncos and legal-weed jokes is old hat, but a dozen-plus touring comics have in recent years chosen to record albums and specials here, in some ways documenting our sense of humor as much as theirs (see River Butcher, Nikki Glaser, Amy Schumer, Tom Seguro, etc.).
So what are comics saying about us? Before the Thursday, Sept. 8-Saturday, Sept. 10, High Plains Comedy Fest, we tracked down a few of the best and arguably worst jokes about Denver — and Colorado in general. We won’t try to tell you which is which, and a couple of them may stretch the definition of a joke, but hey: they made us laugh. (Note: longer bits, of which there are many, were excluded in favor of short quotes.)
“I didn’t know what a 14’er was until I moved here and found it that it’s something a man climbs over instead of going to therapy.” — Andie Main
“(It’s) pretty fun to be in Denver over Halloween. Everybody’s Halloween costume just looks like CBD-infused.” — River Butcher
“Thank you, it is great to be here in downtown Southeast Boulder!” — David Rodriguez (performing in Denver)
“Denver and Boulder are good record-buying cities. I don’t know why.” — Mike D (Beastie Boys)
“40% of the tickets for Bill Cosby’s Denver shows were returned for refunds. See, consuming pot doesn’t make you stupid.” — Warren Holstein
“Colorado, a.k.a. Potsylvania.” — Stephen Colbert
“… the divided world of Aspen, where locals with a sense of entitlement were pitted against developers with a sense of condominiums.” — Steve Martin
“Each year, millions of skiers come to Colorado to experience its superb emergency medical facilities.” — Dave Barry
“Does the song ‘Rocky Mountain High’ make John Denver our generation’s Nostradamus?” — Adam Wolf
“You don’t need missionaries in Colorado; you got Colorado.” — Trey Parker
If you go
The 9th High Plains Comedy Festival. Stand-up fest with Ken Jeong, Joel McHale, Kyle Kinane, Steph Tolev, Nick Thune, Josh Blue, Nancy Norton, Shane Torres, Pink Foxx, Amy Miller, David Gborie, Christie Buchele and more. Thursday, Sept. 8-Saturday, Sept. 10 at the Hi-Dive, HQ, Skylark, Chaos Bloom, Mutiny and Bellco Theatre. Most tickets are $10-$20 per show, with $125 festival passes. highplainscomedyfestival.com
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