Opera House: 19th Annual Telluride Comedy Fest, 2/15-18

The Sheridan Arts Foundation & Jeb Berrier present the 19th Annual Telluride Comedy Fest, February 15-18, 2018, 8 p.m. Tickets are $40/$50/$125  for reserved seats. (Fees apply.) Tickets for Locals’ Night are discounted to $35 reserved seats; $45 for table seats. Tickets and more info are available at the Sheridan Opera House Box Office; by phone at 970.728.6363 ext. 5; or at sheridanoperahouse.com. The Sheridan Opera House opens its SHOW Bar for ticket holders one hour before each show.

Scroll down to watch some of the talent in action and for special ticket/table/sponsorship options.

Fifteen years ago, in 2003, Sheridan Arts Foundation director Ronnie Palamar approached the host with the most, thespian/director/comedian Jeb Berrier, about co-producing a Comedy Fest in town. Jeb turned around and asked his former acting buddy Rob Corddry to join in the fun. When the then emerging star accepted Jeb’s invitation, recruiting other top tier actors was a snap.

(Note: Comedy Fest began four years prior to Jeb’s involvement, and so a run of 19 years.)

Guaranteed the barbs will hit their mark – namely us – when the 19th annual Telluride Comedy Fest opens for monkey business on Thursday, February 15, with Locals’ Night and runs through the weekend to Sunday, February 18.

The event produced and hosted by the former town clown is always a great excuse for his old friends and acquaintances to gather and party hardy on the mountain – and then later, on the stage of the historic Opera House. When those friends include the Who’s Who of the world of comedy, then all bets are off.

Anything goes.

For sure this band of merry men and women will blow playful raspberries at every little thing that weighs heavy on our minds: the parade-loving Twitterer-in-Chief; a polarized Congress; global warming; nuclear war; the cluster-bombing of democracy in general; sexual predation; Russia probe; Dow’s sine curvy behavior; Memo-gate, you know the stuff that haunts your dreams.

One of the things that makes us laugh is a subversion of logic. Case in point, the infamous Monty Python sketch about a cross-dressing lumberjack.

And the aforementioned front-page news.

At times, the humor will be so arch a person might feel he or she could drive a double decker bus through it. The evenings can also be wildly slapstick or super referential to strain your brain.

Often it will not be pretty – Steve Martin’s definition of comedy. Consider the fact the comedian Joan Rivers, who died in 2014, once said: “I started thinking about jokes while I was walking uptown on 9/11.”

Mostly, the Telluride Comedy Fest is one great big gambol with each night featuring a unique show that blends stand-up, sketch, and improvisational comedy.

As every year, the 19th annual Telluride Comedy Fest  lineup features returning favorites, as well as some new faces whose stars are on the rise in the world of comedy.

Weekend overview:

Thursday Locals Night:

As is a Comedy Fest tradition, the festival opens with an all-star lineup of comedians paying tribute to the people who live and work in Telluride, the ones who make it the special,  and especially quirky place that it is. The show is a mix of characters, sketches, stand-up and improv that celebrates (and pokes fun at) the place we call home and love. But you don’t have to be a local to attend.

Performers are Jason Mantzoukas, Emily Heller, Brian Huskey, Seth Morris, Steve Agee, Mary Holland, Lily Sullivan & Claire Mulaney.

Friday Night Improv and Sketch:

A night of sketch and improv comedy from the brilliant minds of Jason Mantzoukas, Emily Heller, Brian Huskey, Seth Morris, Steve Agee, Mary Holland, Lily Sullivan and Claire Mulaney.

Stand Up & Improv Saturday:

Featuring stand up comedy sets from Steve Agee and Emily Heller. And improv from Jason Mantzoukas, Emily Heller, Brian Huskey, Seth Morris, Steve Agee, Mary Holland, Lily Sullivan, Claire Mulaney, Jamie Denbo and John Ross Bowie.

Sketch Comedy & Improv Sunday:

The program goes out with a bang. Starting with the hit show from UCB LA, “Super Married,” featuring John Ross Bowie and Jamie Denbo. The couple met at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade and got hitched. Now, in lieu of couple’s counseling, they work out their issues on the improv stage. (Come. Watch. Judge. And most of all enjoy the dysfunction on the heels of Valentine’s Day.) Closing night culminates with an all-hands-on-deck, long-form improv set featuring all four talents. Always a weekend highlight.

*The above schedule is subject to change. But no matter what, the shows will be rad and make you laugh!

The 2018 Telluride Comedy Festival Guests:

Jason Mantzoukas — This marks Jason’s 12th consecutive Telluride Comedy Festival. Credits include: “The House with Amy Poehler and Will Ferrell”; “Brooklyn 99”; “The League”; “Baby Mama”; “Neighbors”; “HBO’s Enlightened”; “The Dictator”; “Drunk History”; “Parks and Recreation”; “Transparent”; “Children’s Hospital”; “Kroll Show”; “The Good Place”; “Big Mouth” & more.

“Jason is one of the funniest people working in comedy today. His love of Telluride and all its quirks and characters will be celebrated and roasted in high fashion on Thursday, when he hosts the opening night of the festival,” says Jeb.  

Check out Jason in action:

Brian Huskey — Brian is a series regular on TBS’s “People of Earth” and on Comedy Central’s “Another Period,” as well as repeat talent on Fox’s “Bob’s Burgers” and HBO’s “Veep.” He also most recently appeared alongside Agents Sculley and Mulder in the new “X-Files” reboot. Brian also wants everyone to know about his Adult Swim Special, “Mr. Neighbor’s House,” co-created with Jason Mantzoukas, because it is a cool show. (Keep an eye out for “Mr. Neighbor’s House Two” this year.)  In his spare time, Brian Huskey is a devoted father –  and very bald.

• Seth Morris — Seth is an improviser, actor, writer and producer, who first appeared at the Teluride Comedy Fest in 2004. As a staff writer for “Funny or Die” and artistic director of the Upright Citizen’s Brigade (UCB) Theater, Seth has been an original voice in the comedy world for many years. Credits include: “The Good Place”; “Veep”; “Love”; “Broad City”; “Go On”; “I Love You Man”; “Step Brothers”; “No Strings Attached”; “Cedar Rapids”; “Happy Endings”; “The League”; “Brooklyn 99”; “Kroll Show”; “Broad City.” Writing credits include “The Kroll Show”; “The Eric Andre Show”; “Bajillion Dollar Properties”; “Do You Want To See A Dead Body,” as well as specials for Comedy Central and HBO.

Steve Agee — Steve is best known for his roles as Steve Myron on the “Sarah Silverman Program,” Outside Dave on Fox’s “New Girl,” and Gef, in “Guardians of the Galaxy 2.” Steve was also a writer for “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and has done voices for animated shows like “Bob’s Burgers” (FOX) and “Adventure Time” (Cartoon Network).

John Ross Bowie — John is known to TV audiences as Jimmy Dimeo on ABC’s “Speechless” and as Barry Kripke on “The Big Bang Theory.” He has also appeared on “Veep,”; “Love”; “Fresh Off The Boat”; “Chasing Life”; “The Wrong Mans’ Episodes”; “House of Lies”; “Curb Your Enthusiasm”; two of the CSIs; and as Sven the Singing Seahorse on “Sofia the First.” Film work includes “Between Us”; “Pet”; “The Heat”; “iSteve”; “He’s Just Not That Into You”; “Sex Drive”; and “Road Trip.”

Jamie Denbo — Jamie is the creator of the upcoming Lifetime series “American Princess,” executive produced by Jenji Kohan (“Orange is the New Black”). She is also one-half of the successful comedy podcast duo, Ronna & Beverly, which originated at the UCB Theater. Jamie appeared has appeared in featured films too, including “The Heat” and “Daddy’s Home.” Her TV credits include “Speechless”; “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”; “The Good Place”; “Veep”; “Orange is the New Black”; “Curb Your Enthusiasm”; and “Parks & Recreation,” among many others.

“Sunday’s show should be very, very funny, with smart comedy and a heavy dose of domestic dysfunction. John Bowie and Jamie Denbo are both brilliant actors and improvisors. We are very excited to see them perform together in ‘Super Married,'” adds Jeb.

Emily Heller — Emily is a comedian and writer who likes you very much. If you watch TV, you may have seen her tell jokes on her own half-hour special for Comedy Central; “Late Night with Seth Meyers”;”Conan”; “The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail”; John Oliver’s “New York Stand Up Show”; “Maron”;”Inside Amy Schumer”; “@midnight”; “Chelsea Lately”; or as a series regular on the TBS show “Ground Floor.” Emily was named a “New Face” at the 2012 Montreal Just For Laughs Festival and a “Comic to Watch” by both Variety and Comedy Central. She has served as a writer on TV shows for Fox, NBC, HBO and TBS, and most recently the 2018 Bill Hader series “Barry.”

“Emily has never seen a kid on a leash who didn’t need a leash,” says Jeb.

Mary Holland — Mary is an actor and improviser in Los Angeles. She’s a regular performer at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre in LA, where she is a cast member on teams “Soundtrack”; “JV”; “Wild Horses”; and “Asssscat.” Film and TV credits include “Veep”; “Silicon Valley”; “The Good Place”; “Shrink”; “Mr. Neighbor’s House”; “The Mindy Project”; “Comedy Bang! Bang!”; “Blunt Talk”; “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates”; and “Unicorn Store.” She is THRILLED to be in Telluride.

Claire Mulaney — Claire is a former writer for “Saturday Night Live” who currently lives in LA, where she does standup and improv with “Fanny and Vacation Ladies.”

Lily Sullivan — Lily is Telluride’s own rising star and she returns to the festival and venue that first inspired her comedy career. Lily performed for the Second City Touring Company in Chicago before moving to LA in 2015. She was apart of Just for Laughs New Faces Characters showcase in Montreal in 2016. Now Lily writes and performs her own web series for “Project Runway” called “Project Sammy’s Way.” Lily has appeared on Jake and Amir’s web series “Lonely and Horny”; “SHRINK” on NBC.com; and “GLOW” on Netflix. Her biggest fan is her mom. Hi, Mom.

Please note: In addition to reserved theater seating, eight (8) VIP Tables will be available nightly for $500 per table. These tables offer prime cabaret seating on the main floor for four (4) individuals, plus wine or champagne. If you enjoy being the brunt of a joke or a potential candidate to be brought up on stage, these seats are for you.

For a generous donation of $2,500, a supporter or business can sponsor the Sheridan Arts Foundation and receive two tables of 4  for one night (pending availability); receive one framed Comedy Fest poster signed by all the comedians; have your name or business logo listed in program; and on-stage thank yous. Those interested, please contact Ronnie Palamar at 970-728-6363 ext. 1.

 

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Susan Viebrock

Susan Viebrock

Susan is Telluride Inside… and Out’s founder and editor-in-chief, the visionary on the team, in charge of content, concept and development. For 19+ years, Susan has covered Telluride’s cultural economy, which includes non-profits and special events. Much of her writing features high-profile individuals in the arts, entertainment, business, and politics. She is a former Citibank executive specializing in strategic planning and new business development, and a certified Viniyoga instructor.

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