Cedric the Entertainer.
Denver’s reputation as a stand-up mecca took a hit when some of its biggest names — including most of the Grawlix troupe, which is currently starring on the truTV sitcom “Those Who Can’t” — relocated to places like Los Angeles, New York City and Las Vegas over the last couple years.
But their scene-building legacy lives on in many of the stand-up showcases along the Front Range, and anyway, comedy fans hungry for national names are in no danger of a programming shortage, given the excellent reputation the Mile High City has among top touring comics.
Here are just a few of the biggest, most noteworthy comedy shows coming to the metro area and beyond in the next few months.
W. Kamau Bell, May 11, Boulder Theater
Now the face of CNN’s “United Shades of America,” this Bay Area comic, author and former “Totally Biased” host is among the precious few political stand-ups moving the conversation forward during this fraught time in America. Tickets: $25-$53,—bouldertheater.com.
Crom Comedy Festival, May 19-20, various venues
Billed as the final Denver installment of this Omaha-bred festival, Ian Douglas Terry’s Crom Comedy Festival will feature alt-comedy headliners Solomon Georgio, Allen Strickland Williams, the Puterbaugh Sisters and more at Ratio Beerworks (which hosts the free, early shows) and Crossroads Theater (which has the late, headlining shows). $15. cromcomedyfest.com.
Lucha Libre & Laughs, May 26, Oriental Theater
As one of the most consistently entertaining stage shows in Denver, the “Laughmania IV” installment of this stand-up/wrestling hybrid will feature wrestlers Lonnie Valdez, Danger Dean, Martin Casaus and more alongside comics John Novosad, Christie Buchele, Aaron Urist and commentators Nathan Lund and Sam Tallent. $10. theorientaltheater.com.
Guy Branum, May 25-28, Comedy Works at Larimer Square
One of the best things truTV has done, besides hiring Denver’s Grawlix troupe to write and star in its first-ever scripted series, was greenlight the inventive “Talk Show The Game Show” from Branum, a former regular on “Chelsea Lately” who brings a refreshingly personal, openly gay wit to the club scene. $14-$22. comedyworks.com.
7, Pikes Peak Center
Two of America’s sturdiest comedy brands return for a co-headlining show in Colorado Springs, a city that should provide an interesting (read: stereotypically white, conservative) backdrop to Lopez and Cedric’s frequently profane, race-based stand-up. $49.50-$99.50. axs.com.
Brian Regan, June 23-24, Paramount Theatre
Like Kathleen Madigan, Regan is a touring juggernaut with a rock-solid base who has thrived largely outside the realm of sitcoms and film roles. He’ll record the first of two specials he owes Netflix over three shows at the Paramount — where he also recorded his 2008 Comedy Central special “The Epitome of Hyperbole.” $49.50-$59.50. altitudetickets.com.
Dave Chappelle, July 15, Red Rocks Amphitheatre
His recent, unexpectedly galvanizing Netflix specials aside, Chappelle has shown a lot of love to Colorado in recent years, with frequent pop-ins at downtown’s Comedy Works. He’s just at home on huge stages, although his 2014 shows at this outdoor, western version of Carnegie Hall were hit-or-miss in tone and execution. $59.50-$99.50. axs.com.
Steve Martin & Martin Short, July 22, Bellco Theatre
Don’t expect Martin to return to his stand-up roots at this show, which looks to be more of an old-school variety act with film clips, live music (from Martin’s bluegrass collaborators Steep Canyon Rangers), conversation and, yes, stand-up. Martin and the always effervescent, eager-to-please Short go way back, so watching their camaraderie and top-notch professionalism will be its own reward. $65-$179.50. axs.com.
Nikki Glaser, July 28-29, Comedy Works South at the Landmark
Denver favorite Glaser is best known for her Comedy Central series “Not Safe with Nikki Glaser,” the title of which hints at the freewheeling, sex-focused subject matter, as well as her appearances on top late-night talk and sketch shows in recent years. $28. comdeyworks.com.
Jim Gaffigan, July 29, FirstBank Center
Cultivating observational humor to new levels of gentle self-deprecation, Gaffigan wraps his sharp consumer critiques in relatable bits that indict himself as much as the anxious society that creates them. Live, he never disappoints. $59.50-$69.50. altitudetickets.com.
Tim and Eric, Aug. 1, Paramount Theatre
Widely influential in their nightmare-cable-TV aesthetic, yet still a cult act for a certain sarcasm-worshipping, “Mr. Show”-influenced generation of sketch fans, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim will return to celebrate a decade since the debut of their Adult Swim series “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” with a tour that includes more of the absurd, surreal awkwardness that has endeared them to fans. $42.50. altitudetickets.com.
Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy, Aug. 19, Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre
Ostensibly apolitical but constantly throwing red meat to their base, these Blue Collar comics will play up their redneck personas with the “Backyard BBQ Tour” theme, which includes music from copacetic musicians Eddie Money and Foghat. $25-$75, axs.com.
High Plains Comedy Festival, Aug. 24-26, various venues
As in past years, the 5-year-old High Plains Comedy Festival will run its smaller shows at a handful of venues along South Broadway, with dozens of the best local and national comics, while holding big shows at the Paramount Theatre, such as the festival-opening “My Favorite Murder” with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, and the closing event from Denver native T.J. Miller — whose first HBO special (the June 17-debuting “Meticulously Ridiculous”) was recorded at the Paramount last year. $5-$90. highplainscomedyfestival.com.
Rita Rudner, Aug. 25-26, Comedy Works South at the Landmark
One of the few female headliners coming to town this (or any) summer, Rudner is a first-wave comedy boom legend, writer and producer who has lately thrived in Las Vegas, where she’s billed as having the longest running solo comedy show in the city’s history, with 2,000-plus sets over 12 years. $39. comedyworks.com.
Trailer Park Boys, Aug. 30, Red Rocks Amphitheatre
If you haven’t gotten into Canada’s Trailer Park Boys, as many have recently thanks to Netflix, the substance-abusing, greaseball humor of Ricky, Julian and Bubbles may fly a bit over your head. But beyond the trailer-park stereotypes, there’s a maniacal glee and implicit class commentary in their comedy that has earned them a rabid fanbase since debuting nearly two decades ago. The show is inexplicably all-ages, so prepare to cover your kids’ ears frequently.—$45-$69.75. axs.com.
Howie Mandel, Sept. 9, Bellco Theatre
“America’s Got Talent” judge, general game-show guy and longtime stand-up Mandel returns to benefit the Zarlengo Foundation, a nonprofit for learning-disabled children. Dan Naturman opens the night. $39-$69. axs.com.
Jim Breuer, Sept. 14, Boulder Theater
Peddler of goofy impressions and folksy wisdom, this former “Saturday Night Live” cast member has found a place in podcasting in recent years, and even released the recent album metal album “Songs from the Garage.” Note: this date is rescheduled from March 31. $29.50-$35.00. bouldertheater.com.