Talk of the Town: Comedians reflect on the 2014 High Plains Comedy Festival
September 8, 2014 Olivia Cathcart Features, Festivals, Photos
Adam Cayton-Holland (curator of HPCF)
“Year two of the High Plains Comedy Festival couldn’t have gone better. The shows were all packed and the performances were outstanding. Most importantly for me, everyone had fun. The after-parties were insane, the comedians loved being in Denver. It’s a really simple concept, but it’s amazing what can happen when you only invite people to the festival that you have a good time with and who are drama free. I think what’s really great about this fest is that it’s really just a gathering of friends hanging out. They just happen to be some of the most talented comedians in the country. So you get those people together and give them an excited, comedy-savvy town to perform in front of and the rest writes itself. Already can’t wait for year three.”
“My experience at High Plains Comedy Festival was a dream come true full of adventures and surprises. The audiences were especially a thrilling aspect. They were so wet and juicy and so attentive, I felt like I could tell them anything! The audiences and the people of Denver were in general my favorite part of the festival. In other news, I had a great time hanging loose and having fun with handful of kick a** young and hot comedians like Chris Thayer, Kate Berlant, Beth Stelling, Matt Ingebretson, and the Walsh Brothers. A particular highlight of the weekend was when a few of us went shopping at the local shops and I found a totally kick a** old letterman jacket that totally fits me perfect. In short, the High Plains Comedy Festival was one of the greatest moments in my stupid, dumb, and ugly comedy career that is probably going nowhere. Ok I love you.”
Love you too — er, you meant us right?
I had such a great time at High Plains CF. The venues were solid, but the audience was the freakin’ best!!! Everyone was so into comedy and it feels like Andy and Adam really help build a positive, knowledgeable audience that makes me want to keep coming back. My favorite part was honestly just watching all my friends crush it and becoming a new fan a bunch of comics I haven’t been able to see before. Good times, great vibes, dope a** fest. I hope to be back every year!”
“I got the idea to make a smoothie onstage during my set. Festival honcho, Andy Juett, got comic Kristin Rand to lend me a blender. Just before show time, I dropped it and it smashed all over the floor. I figured we’d have to cancel the bit. Andy took it upon himself to find a second blender. He had to run to five places. Finally, the Hard Rock Cafe lent him one. Andy returned with the blender. I did the bit. It was not that great of a bit. I couldn’t figure out how to turn on the blender. Andy is a hero though. And I Amazon’d Kristin a new blender. Thanks High Plains CF!”
But was the smoothie good?
“High Plains was just about as much pizza, weed, beer, donuts, & jokes as any person can feasibly handle in a 3-day span. I slept until 4pm the day after the fest ended. I fell in love with Eugene Cordero after seeing his comedy for the first time at Mutiny, and lost my mind dancing to Total Ghost at the Friday after party. The green room on Saturday was outrageous and busy and full of fun and blender-dreams. No one will soon forget pizza box baseball.”
Take notes, Rockies!
Billy Wayne Davis
“Peyton, pot, and pizza; sprinkle some high quality comedy on there and you’ve got yourself a Denver. I’ve been in love with the city’s comedy scene since I worked at the Comedy Works 6-7 years ago. It was perfect then, now its perfecter. Friday afternoon, I landed with a platoon of comedians, and was stoned before we got to the hotel. Then we smoked medical weed on the way to buy recreational weed. I was literally happy the whole time. If I started feeling “not as happy,” I would see another comic I love and be happier again. All the shows seem to happening within feet of each other in cool venues filled with interesting, intelligent, and influenced people. I’m worried about Adam and Andy, because to create something so wonderful, they probably had to do some terrible sh*t. (like can’t close my eyes without seeing the baby panda’s sad eyes type sh*t) I can’t thank the whole city of Denver enough. I love being part of anything special, and High Plains has no equal. (This better get me rebooked.)”
“On Saturday, the last day of the festival, I bought fresh donuts for everyone I was hanging out with. Twice. Once during brunch in the morning, and once at around midnight at a food stand on the side of the street. As I handed out the piping hot donuts, everyone cheered on my generosity. “You’re an angel from heaven, Matt Ingebretson!” and, “Without you we would be dead and buried in the ground!” and, “I wish you were my dad!” were just a few of the praises showered upon me. “Don’t thank me,” I announced. “Thank the High Plains Comedy Festival and the city of Denver, for they are the true angels of the Lord. Hallelujah, hallelujah. Praise be to the High Plains Comedy Festival, the best comedy festival in this humble land of ours, forever and ever, amen.”
Well that should definitely get you rebooked. Angel.
“I had such a great time at the festival this year. My favorite moment was when I walked into the greenroom at 3 Kings and ran into a wall of pure butt stink. Ben Kronberg had a huge smile on his face and Nick Thune candidly let me know that Ben K. had just ripped a fart. I was like, ‘How natural of you.'”
“I’ll never forget the hours after my set at Hi Dive where I beat myself up for not taking more chances on stage and forgetting some jokes and deciding to close on a joke I haven’t done in a year. Then, I thought about how stand-up is ruining my life. But, there was a magical nice lady in the green room giving massages and I asked her to rub my back, she did and it felt real nice. She found a tag on my shirt from Ross Dress For Less and told me she was gonna rip it off. I said ok.”
“Thursday night, I was on the Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction, Bryan Cook’s show/podcast for Nerdist. I had actually been on tour for a couple weeks before I even got to Denver so I didn’t have access to a printer. Instead, I took my laptop to Sir Speedy and emailed my story, Storage Whores, to Debbie; who looked like a 70 year old librarian. Somewhere, in Denver an elderly woman has my sexually graphic short story on her hard drive.”
“On Friday, Ben Kronberg organized an event on The Canni-bus, which is a converted school bus that drives around to various Denver dispensaries. Ben also grabbed some Sexy Pizza, a PA system and he, Nick Thune and myself did a low key show. Ben even recruited some people off the street to hop on the bus and hang out. Surreal, hilarious. My favorite part of any festival are the volunteers. Time is our most precious resource and if you use yours helping others, that’s the best way to win life. They were amazing.”
The Walsh Brothers
“… The weird German band ‘Total Ghost’ late night at Mutiny Cafe. Everybody was losing their minds. It was like Burning Man if there with way less hippies.”
“Not sure if you know this, but Chris Charpentier and Nathan Lund of the Fine Gentlemen’s Club (and ‘Too Much Fun’) are Leisure Olympic Gold Medal winners. The Leisure Olympics are low impact, recreational, fat man games like Lawn Darts, Foosball, Beer Pong, Spot the Banker, etc. On Saturday, we took a trip with the FGC and the Nix Bros. and friends, to a lake close to the mountains. Whilst there, we played Ladder Ball and BEAT the Chris & Nathan at their own Gold Medal-winning game (and we spotted a prairie dog).”
“The High Plains Comedy Festival was a feast for the senses for the audience as well as the performers. Great, well-attended shows, great after-parties, and great burritos that would hit the green rooms around 2am. It had everything a festival could want, and also marijuana.”
What?! There was pot?
“I remember none of it and all of it– like a dream: The Uber Sausage party at Deer Pile and what a great show that was, my show was mile high hilarity, great beer, great weather, Andy Juett comic genius, a very raw podcast with Adam Cayton-Holland in my parents back patio talking about death and all that comes before it, sexy pizza and ugly farmers– I will forever be a Denverite, and if they’ll have me, I’ll be back in the 303 around this time next year. Stay CO, Colorado.”
“Denver’s got great audiences – there are tons of folks really keyed into alternative comedy & comedy podcasts and man do they laugh their heads off. And the fest is a rad opportunity to hang with fellow stand-up pals. I give it two joints up! (I don’t know that you heard this at every show but marijuana is legal in Colorado. So many weed jokes!)”
Might have heard about that…
“There are a few things that I really enjoyed and appreciated, outside of the great show that I was lucky to be part of, about the High Plains Comedy Festival this year. First, it was great to see all of my Denver comedy buddies sharing stages with some of the best and most well-known, comics from around the country. As a Denver comic, I know how great the talent in our scene is, but High Plains very much condensed it and put it on display at once and reminded me of how exceptional what we have going here is. Second, I liked seeing how much the fest has grown since last year. I’ve done a lot of festivals, and while last year was great, the fest really came into its own this year. Great stages, bigger crowds, the absolutely amazing finale venue, wild after parties, it all just came together so well. I remember walking to the final show in Civic Center Park, with another comic, looking at the spectacular scenery that surrounds the venue, and thinking, ‘Damn, Adam and Andy are really making a statement this weekend.'”
The second High Plains fest seems like a blast. Thank you to Andy Juett, and photographers Carlos Madrid and Ryan Brackin. Check out the rest of their photos from this year’s fest, and start saving your money for wristbands to HPCF 3!
Photos by: Ryan Brackin and Carlos Madrid
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