Telluride Comedy Fest Brings Weekend of Laughter Feb. 13-16
TELLURIDE – What has become the gem of Telluride’s winter festivals, a weekend full of stand-up comedy, sketch comedy and improv from some of the country’s best comedians is once again coming to Telluride Feb. 13-16, when the Sheridan Arts Foundation and Jeb Berrier present the 15th annual Telluride Comedy Fest.
From Thursday’s ever-popular locals’ night to Sunday’s evening of stand-up comedy, each night will feature a unique show blending stand-up, sketch and improvisational comedy from a host of talent, featuring everything from up-and-coming comedians to those who are household names in TV and film.
For Berrier, who returns to Telluride from Portland, Ore., to helm the four-day festival, the weekend has become a comedic tradition – for visitors, locals and the comedians themselves.
“For the guys and gals that come every year, Telluride is a commitment,” Berrier says. “They know they want to do it, and they make it happen in their schedule. Telluride is always on their calendar.”
Slated to attend this weekend’s festival are Rob Corddry, Rob Huebel, Brian Huskey, Jason Mantzoukas, Seth Morris, Paul Scheer, Nick Kroll, Joe Wengert, Jamie Denbo, Jessica Chaffin, Cameron Esposito, Amy Heidt and maybe a few more.
Kicking off the laughter Thursday is Locals Night, with comedians paying tribute to the people who live and work in the region, making it the special, quirky place that it is. This show is a mix of characters, sketches, stand-up and improv celebrating everything and everyone that makes Telluride Telluride. Locals Night talent includes Corddry, Huskey, Mantzoukas, Scheer, Huebel, Denbo, and Chaffin.
Locals Night in 2006 featured “that first Ski Patrol skit” pioneered by Huebel and Scheer, which remains, Berrier said, “one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.
“It was so damn funny. ‘Do Drop, your name is Badass Cancer,” he said, of the bunny-shooting duo’s on-the-spot decision to rename a ski run as they mimed riding the chairlift.
Friday night’s for lovers, when the fest celebrates Valentine’s Day, complete with its version of “The Dating Show, and what Berrier said will be “a great set of improv” from Scheer, Heubel, Morris, Corddry, Huskey and Mantzoukas. Upright Citizen’s Brigade comedian, director and actor Heidt will perform her one-woman show A Problem Like Maria, just another community inspired by The Sound of Music.
Saturday night will deliver sketch comedy and improv, featuring Huebel and Scheer, to whom the stage will be turned over for an hour in which “anything will go,” said Berrier. Up next will be “Naked Babies Improv,” featuring Corddry, Huskey, Mantzoukas, Morris and special guests.
“These shows, in a way, have a different quality to them than, say, a show they would do in L. A. or New York,” Berrier says. “They get to have a little more fun.”
Sunday is standup comedy Sunday, hosted by Corddry, and featuring up-and-comers Esposito, Wengert and Kroll (the star of Comedy Central’s Kroll Show), and Ruxin from The League.
This year celebrating its 15th year at the Sheridan Opera House, the current incarnation of the Comedy Fest dates back to Presidents Weekend 2004, when Berrier recruited old friends from his acting days in New York and L.A. to play a couple of shows at the Sheridan Opera House. The first to sign up was The Daily Show’s Rob Corddry; next up was Ed Helms.
Now, a decade into Berrier’s tenure, performers come from all over, and the two-night festival has expanded to four. “We’ve had a lot of people in the past who are now pretty famous,” Berrier said. That notwithstanding, he said, “in a lot of ways it hasn’t changed much, by design, because we like the size and scale of it.”
That said, “in some ways it has changed,” he acknowledged, “because every year we try some things that are new and different.”
Showtimes is 8 p.m. each night. Reserved seats are $35/$40 and can be purchased at http://sheridanoperahouse.com/. In addition to reserved theater seating, eight VIP Tables are available nightly for $500 per table.