Sheridan Opera House: 18th Annual Telluride Comedy Festival

Sheridan Opera House: 18th Annual Telluride Comedy Festival

The 18th annual Telluride Comedy Fest, live at Telluride’s historic Sheridan Opera House Thursday, February 16 – Sunday, February 19. Tickets $40/$45/$125 (reserved seats); $25 for late night show starting at 11 p.m. Thursday and Saturday are sold out. Limited seats for Friday night. Sunday and late night are still open. Tickets available here (fees apply) or call 970-728-6363. 

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. Also, if you enjoy being the brunt of a joke or a potential candidate to be brought up on stage, these special seats are for you. 

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

The Sheridan Opera House will open its new SHOW Bar one hour before each show, then consider sticking around after the show to enjoy local stand-up comedy talent.

Scroll down to watch videos of Nick Kroll, plus newcomers Alice Wetterlund, and Chris Garcia in action.


Final Comedy Fest poster


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.

Blowing raspberries at every little thing that weighs heavy on us can be funny: the White House, Congress, politics in general, global warming, the guest list for your upcoming party. (Think Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon on Saturday Night Live. And if you don’t know what I am on about, Google their sketches.)

Sometimes humor is so arch a person could easily drive a double decker bus through it. (That is if you own a double decker bus.)

What’s funny can also be wildly slapstick or wildly referential to strain your brain.

Interviewed in The New York Times, Bob Odenkirk, who plays the lawyer Saul Goodman on “Breaking Bad,” defined comedy as honesty, then he added:

“There are a couple of things wrong with me; some of them I make money off of. Ultimately what we’re all doing is trying to turn our psychological problems into a paycheck.”

Steve Martin defines comedy as “not pretty.

Jeb Berrier is co-producer (with the Sheridan Arts Foundation) of the Telluride Comedy Fest. What does he think is funny?

“The truth is funny to me. If it’s true, and it smacks you in the face in an unexpected way, that’s funny. And if it’s got something in it that makes you feel a little uncomfortable, makes you squirm because you recognize the truth in it all, even better.”

Once upon a time ago, in a New Yorker riff, satirist Bruce McCall made a list of safe and harmless subjects for comedy routines: 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 over Valentines weekend, February 16 – 19, when Berrier & Friends hit the Opera House stage – well maybe the duck – where each night is a unique mix of stand up, sketch and improv comedy.

Many of the performers who have come to Comedy Fest over the years are now household names: Aziz Ansari, Rob Corddry, Ed Helms, Jack MacBrayer (30 Rock), Rob Riggle, Stephanie Weir (Mad TV), Tig Notaro, Jason Mantzoukas, and Nick Kroll, to name a few.

This year’s festival features many returning favorites as well as a few new faces whose stars are on the rise in the world of comedy.

2017 Telluride Comedy Fest guests:

Ed Helms: An old friend of Comedy Fest, Ed is happy to return to Telluride this year with a brand new stand-up show. His credits include: The Hangover, The Office, Vacation, and The Daily Show with John Stewart. 

 Ed Helms, photographed by Dale May.

Ed Helms, photographed by Dale May.

Brian Huskey: More than 125 acting credits to date earning him the status as “That Guy” in some of the most cutting edge and popular comedies today, including. ’People of Earth, Children’s Hospital, Veep, Bob’s Burgers, Neighbors, and Workaholics.

Brian Huskey

Brian Huskey

Jason Mantzoukas: This marks Jason’s 11th consecutive Telluride Comedy Festival. Credits include: Brooklyn 99, The League, Neighbors, HBO’s Enlightened, The Dictator, Comedy Bang! Bang!, Drunk History,  Baby Mama, Parks and Recreation, Transparent, Children’s Hospital, Kroll Show.

Jason Mantzoukas

Jason Mantzoukas

Nick Kroll: Nick makes his return to Telluride fresh from Broadway where he appeared with John Mulaney in ‘Oh Hello’, other credits include: Kroll Show, The League, New Girl, Parks & Recreation, Community, Children’s Hospital, Portlandia, Dinner for Schmucks, I Love You Man and Loving. 

Nick Kroll

Nick Kroll

Seth Morris: Seth appeared at the festival for the first time back in 2004, and has been coming back ever since. As a staff writer for Funny or Die and the Artistic Director of the UCB Theater, Seth has been an original voice in the comedy world for many years now. Credits include: Veep, The Good Place, Go On, I Love You Man, Step Brothers, No Strings Attached, Cedar Rapids, Happy Endings, The League, Brooklyn 99, Kroll Show, Broad City.

Seth Morris

Seth Morris

Will HinesBroad City, Superstore, Brooklyn 99, Inside Amy Schumer, Community, Crazy Ex Girlfriend. Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater.

Chris Garcia: (Stand-up, Saturday Night). Chris has appeared on Comedy Central’s @Midnight and Adam Devine’s House Party, NBC’s Last Call with Carson Daly, NPR’s This American Life and The WTF Podcast with Marc Maron. Most recently, Chris was a New Face at the 2016 Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, where he was bestowed the honor of “Best of the Fest.”

Chris Garcia

Chris Garcia

Some praise for Chris: “Fearless, funny, and straight from the heart,” said Robin Williams. “Chris Garcia proves you can find humor in anything,” Marc Maron.

Alice Wetterlund: (Friday Stand-Up/Sat late night) A nationally touring comedian, Alice’s credits include: Late Night with Conan O’Brien, People of Earth, Silicon Valley, New Girl, and Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates.

Alice Wetterfund

Alice Wetterlund


Pam Murphy: Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater, 30 Rock, Happy Endings, Key & Peele, Comedy Bang! Bang!, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Matt Newell: Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, Comedy Sports, and a featured performer for Funny of Die.

Bjorn Gustaffsson: (Friday Night Stand-up/Saturday Late Night) One of the biggest names in Swedish comedy (yes there are funny people in Sweden) People of Earth, Ghost Busters, The Comedians, and former winner of the prestigious Sweden’s funniest Man Award.

Comedy Fest 2017, weekend schedule:

Thursday Locals Night:

In keeping with a long-standing Comedy Fest tradition, the festival opens with our all-star lineup of comedians paying tribute to the people who live and work here in Telluride and make it the special, quirky place that it is. This 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. For Locals Night, tickets are discounted to $35 and $45 for table seats.

Friday Night Improv and Stand-Up:

Stand-up and improv featuring Nick Kroll. Alice Wetterlund, and Bjorn Gustaffsson.

Improv from: Jason Mantzoukas, Seth Morris, Brian Huskey, Ed Helms, Will Hines, Pam Murphy and Matt Newell

Stand-Up & Improv Saturday:

Featuring:  Chris Garcia and Ed Helms

Improv from: Jason Mantzoukas, Seth Morris, Brian Huskey, Ed Helms, Will Hines, Pam Murphy and Matt Newell

Saturday Late Show:

Featuring up-and-comers Alice Wetterlund and Bjorn Gustaffsson, 11 p.m.

Sketch Comedy and Improv Sunday:

The 17th annual Telluride Comedy Festival ends with a sketch and improv finale, starting with the hit sketch comedy show from UCB LA, “A Soundly Defeated Man” starring Will Hines, Pam Murphy, and Matt Newell. The evening culminates with an all hands on deck, long-form improv set from all the performers.

More about Comedy Fest co-producer Jeb Berrier:

Jeb, Anne & William

Jeb, Anne & William

About 13  years ago, former Telluride local, actor, comedian/talking head Jeb Berrier was, well, a Naked Baby. No, not literally. He was part of a comedy troupe with friends Rob Corddry, whom he first met touring with the National Shakespeare Company – yes, the Rob Corddry –  and Brian Huskey. Corddry and Huskey are alumnae 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, long-time  executive director of the Sheridan Arts Foundation/Sheridan Opera House approached Berrier in 2003 to help her ramp 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.

In 2004, when Jeb Berrier became a co-producer, Comedy Fest was just two nights and six comedians. The weekend still retains its small, unique feel –  while growing into a world class event.

While living in Telluride, Jeb worked as an actor and director with the Telluride Rep (now Telluride Theatre), and with the Sheridan Opera House. He also worked as a host for Telluride TV.

Jeb currently lives in Portland, OR with his wife, Anne and their son, William, age 7, where he acts in local theater, film, and television. In 2016, Jeb appeared in a string of TV commercials as “the angry man stuck in traffic,” “man attacked by his lawn trimmer” and “man who gets hit is face with tennis ball.”

Is being a victim Jeb’s niche?

Jeb’s most recent cameo was in the soon -to-be-released “I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore” starring Elijah Wood and Melanie Lynsky, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

(Jeb appears for 30 seconds, but hey!)

More about the Sheridan Arts Foundation:

The Sheridan Arts Foundation was founded in 1991 as a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization to preserve the historic Sheridan Opera House as an arts and cultural resource for the Telluride community, to bring quality arts and cultural events to Telluride and to provide local and national youth with access and exposure to the arts through education.

The Sheridan Arts Foundation is sponsored in part by grants from the Telluride Foundation, CCAASE, El Pomar, and CCI.

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