New Comedy for website copy On Valentine’s Day, we suggest an early dinner at your favorite local watering hole and laughs for dessert.

As sure as Cupid’s arrow, barbs tossed from the stage of the historic Sheridan Opera House are guaranteed to hit their mark – us – when the 14th annual Telluride Comedy Fest opens for business Thursday, February 12, with Locals’ Variety Night – which also happens to be Valentine’s Day.

(The Sheridan Arts Foundation is offering Locals’ Valentine Day Special through Monday, February 11, plus two general admission tickets are also available – the Sweetheart Special – for just $50 if you use the insider’s code, LOVE2013.)

The weekend-long Comedy Fest, produced and hosted by former town clown Jeb Berrier (back from Portland for the occasion) and the Sheridan Arts Foundation, is always a great excuse for his old friends to gather and party hardy on the mountain and on stage, When those friends include the Who’s Who of the world of comedy, the sky’s the limit. Like Cole Porter said: “Anything goes.”

The big laughs in Telluride began 14 years ago, when Jeb was a Naked Baby, that is part of a comedy troupe, The Naked Babies, with friends like Rob Corddry, whom he first met touring with the National Shakespeare Company – yes, the Rob Corddry –  and Brian Huskey.  Corddry and Huskey are an alumna of the Upright Citizens Brigade, a Manhattan theater company where future comedy stars are processed like beef: in goes the raw meat – actors, writers, ex-lawyers and med students – and out come tightly wrapped, high-priced performers, ready for consumption by fat cat shows: “Saturday Night Live,” “30 Rock,” “The Daily Show,” where Corddry and Ed Helms became “correspondents” and rising stars.

When Ronnie Palamar, executive director of the Sheridan Arts Foundation/Sheridan Opera House approached Berrier in 2003 to help her man up an ongoing Comedy Festival, Berrier picked up the phone to his old friend. To his surprise, Corddry said “yes.” With Corddry on board, recruiting the rest of the actors, including Helms, was a snap. Once everyone realized they were among friends – meaning mostly Telluride’s wacky locals – Berrier’s motley comedy crew felt free to go way over the top, pounding sacred cows into cow pies. (I know, I know. Eating too much Swiss chard for bone health is affecting my metaphors.)

Comedy is little more than blowing a series of raspberries at the things that weigh us down: government, religion, relationships, money, psychology, weather and our own mortality. In a New Yorker riff, satirist Bruce McCall made a list of safe and harmless subjects for comedy routines: the British Royal family, Canada and its citizens, comb-overs, a duck walks into a bar, the farmer’s daughter, wigs, kids today and weather made the list. Guaranteed none of McCall’s safe bets will get a minute of air time this weekend, Thursday, February 14 – Sunday, February 17. Safe bets, all bets, are off.

Here is the weekend line-up:

Rob Corddry —  “Butter,” “Hot Tub Time Machine,” “Cedar Rapids,” “The Daily Show,” “Ben & Kate,”     “Children’s Hospital
Rob Huebel —”The Descendants,” “Children’s Hospital,” “I Love You, Man,” “The League,”” Reno 911″
Jason Mantzoukas — HBO’s “Enlightened,” “Dictator,” “Modern Family,” “Parks and Recreation,” “The League,” “Children’s Hospital”
Seth Morris — “Go On,” “I Love You Man,” “Step Brothers,” “No Strings Attached,” “Cedar Rapids,” “Happy Endings”
June Diane Raphael — “New Girl,” “Bride Wars,” “Going the Distance,” Year One,” “Flight of the Conchords”
Paul Scheer — “The League,” “30 Rock,” “Human Giant,” “Children’s Hospital,” “Reno 911!,”  “Upright Citizen’s Brigade”
Danielle Schneider — “Upright Citizen’s Brigade,” “Step Brothers,” “Larry Crowne,” panelist on VH1’s “Best Week Ever,” “Happy Endings”
Nick Thune — “Knocked Up,” “Unaccompanied Minors”, “Spring Breakdown” & “Happy Endings”
Morgan Walsh — “Upright Citizens Brigade,” “Second City,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,”” Children’s Hospital”
Troy Walker — Denver-based stand-up comedian with regular rotation at Comedy Works
Michaela Watkins — “Saturday Night Live,” “Enlightened,” “Wanderlust,” “Modern Family,” “New Girl”

The 2013 schedule is similar to previous years, but with a few twists, such as the aforementioned special for Valentine’s Day.

The plan for Thursday’s Variety Night is to celebrate all the things that make Telluride so special. The evening features feature Huebel, Scheer, Mantzoukas, Morris, Armstrong, Raphael, Schneider and Walsh.

Friday Night Comedy gets real with “The Realest Real Housewives Show,” starring Watkins, Raphael, Walsh, Schnider and more. Those talented ladies will bring their popular Upright Citizen’s Brigade skit to Telluride.  Long form improv in the style of the Upright Citizen’s Brigade rounds out the evening.

Saturday, Dawn of Comedy Night pays homage to the Sheridan Opera House’s 100th anniversary and the ski area’s 40th anniversary with the “Dawn of Telluride Ski Patrol Night.” It is an evening of sketch, improv and madness to celebrate our beloved ski area with the infamous Telluride Ski Patrol, starring Huebel and Scheer and returning Comedy Fest star, Corddry and the rest of this year’s lineup.

The evening wraps with a Ski Patrol Dance Party (in vintage gear) downstairs in the Gallery Room. The Dance Party is free to all ticketholders; otherwise, a nominal fee at the door.  DJ Soul Atomic is to spin the tunes. And the Opera House is partnering with Telluride Ski & Golf for the blow out, so expect some fun swag and giveaways.

Comedy Fest ends with Stand Up Comedy Sunday with everyone’s favorite genre of comedy: Stand up. The night is hosted by Corddry and opens up with Walker and features Thune. Thune has appeared in a number of mainstream comedy hits, at the Laugh Factory, and on Tonight Show eight times. He has also had his own Comedy Central special. “Thick Noon,” his debut album, was released on Comedy Central Records in 2010 and made it on Amazon.com’s “Best of 2010 Comedy Albums.”

Tickets to all events are $30 and $35  for reserved seats throughout the theater. VIP table seating at the front of the house is $500 per table.These tables offer prime cabaret seating on the main floor for four (4) individuals and includes private Meet & Greet reception with the featured comedians following Saturday night’s performance (If you enjoy being the brunt of a joke, the tables are for you.)

For a generous donation of $1,000 a supporter or business can sponsor the Sheridan Arts Foundation and receive one table of four for one night (pending availability), receive a framed Comedy Fest poster signed by all the comedians, have your name or business logo listed in two ads and a festival program (which will reach just shy of 1,000 attendees), plus an invitation for four to our closing night party on Sunday with the comedians. (interested? Contact Kathrine Warren at 728-6363 ext. 3. )

If the past few years are any indicators, we will sell out of all four nights, so now that we’ve released the lineup, please get your tickets early so you don’t miss out!

To purchase tickets click hereor call 970-728-6363, ext 3.

For a preview of the fun and frolic in store at Comedy Fest, watch this video:


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