Opera House: 20th Annual Telluride Comedy Fest, 2/14 – 2/17

Opera House: 20th Annual Telluride Comedy Fest, 2/14 – 2/17

The Sheridan Arts Foundation & Jeb Berrier present the 20th Annual Telluride Comedy Fest, February 14-17, 2019, 8 p.m. Tickets on Thursday, Locals’ Night are $35/$45; Friday-Sunday, $40/$50/$125. (Fees apply.)

In addition to reserved theater seating, eight VIP Tables are available nightly for $500 per table Friday – Sunday. These tables offer prime cabaret seating on the main floor for four individuals plus wine or champagne. In addition, if you enjoy being the brunt of a joke or relish the thought of being brought up on stage, these tables are for you.

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.

Please scroll down for a sampler of the talent in action.

Laughter is a full body, respiratory response over which we have very little control. Amusement in the form of a joke or gag initiates the coordinated action of 15 facial muscles: the eyebrows and then a series of muscles in the eyes and cheeks contract before recruiting skeletal muscles, heart, and diaphragm. (Too much of a good thing and some may find themselves rushing out of the theater to speed-dial Dr. Kay Hamrick for a Botox fix.)

Comedy is little more than blowing a series of raspberries at the things that weigh us down: government, religion, relationships, money, psychology, 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 his hit list. Guaranteed none of McCall’s safe bets will get a minute of air time over Valentine’s weekend, February 14 – 17, when Berrier & Friends hit the Opera House stage. (Well, maybe the duck).

The official launch of the Telluride Comedy Fest was 1999, but in 2003, Sheridan Arts Foundation director Ronnie Palamar approached the host with the most, thespian/director and former Telluride local Jeb Berrier, about putting the show together and taking the action to a whole other level.

Berrier turned around and asked his former acting buddy Rob Corddry (then of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”) to come to town. With the burgeoning superstar on the program, recruiting other top tier performers was a snap. Once everyone realized they were among friends – meaning Telluride’s wild and woolly locals – Berrier’s motley comedy crew felt free to go way over the top, pounding sacred cows into cow pies. (Apologies to my vegan friends for the meaty metaphor.)

In fact many of the comedians who wound up becoming household names got a big boost on the Sheridan Opera House stage, among them Corddry, who went on star in “Time Machine,” “Children’s Hospital” and “Warm Bodies;” Ed Helms from The Office and The Hangover; Aziz Ansari, from Parks and Rec; and many others.

The good news is that the Who’s Who of comedy, some of Hollywood’s best and brightest, have continued to show up year after year for two decades now. This year we’ll see several Telluride Comedy Fest stalwarts, as well as newbies to the world of comedy and our box canyon.

In town, everyone is expected to do what they have done annually: schuss down the mountain together, party hearty and, onstage, skate on very thin ice.

2019 Telluride Comedy Festival Guests:

Nick Kroll. Kroll is the co-creator, writer and producer of the Netflix animated series, BIG MOUTH for which he voices numerous roles, including the lead. Season 2 premiered on Netflix on October 5th and got 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Additionally, on behalf of the series, Kroll has been nominated for a 2018 Gotham Award for “Breakthrough Series – Long Form.”

Kroll recently starred in Chris Weitz’s “Operation Finale” opposite Oscar Isaac and Ben Kingsley for MGM and Jeff Nichols’ “Loving” opposite Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga for Focus Features.

Kroll made his Broadway debut with the successful and critically acclaimed show, “Oh Hello, On Broadway.”  The play was filmed and premiered on Netflix in 2017.

Kroll’s other film credits include “Uncle Drew” opposite NBA star Kyrie Irving; “Sausage Party” with Seth Rogen; and “Sing” with Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson and Matthew McConaughey.

On television, Kroll had his own Comedy Central sketch show, “Kroll Show” and starred as Ruxin on FX’s “The League.”

Jason Mantzoukas. This marks Mantzoukas’ 13th consecutive Telluride Comedy Festival. Credits include “The Long Dumb Road.” which premiered at Sundance; “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,” the upcoming “John Wick 3” and more.

Matt Braunger. Braunger has performed his stand-up act on on TV programs such as the “Late Show with David Letterman,” The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien,” John Oliver’s “New York Stand Up Show” and “Live at Gotham”on Comedy Central, as well as his own “Comedy Central Presents” special.

Brian Huskey. Huskey is an actor, writer, producer, and improvisor, performing for more than 20 years of at the UCB Theater. With over 170 film and television credits, Huskey is proudly classified as a “That Guy” known for bringing his excellent comedic and improv skills to whatever role he takes on.

As a series regular, Huskey most recently played Richard Schultz, the alien paranoid divorcee, on the TBS series “People of Earth.” During that time, Huskey also created, wrote and starred in specials for Adult Swim’s “Mr. Neighbor’s House” and “Mr. Neighbor’s House 2.” Best described as a darkly hilarious David Lynch-style children’s show, “Mr. Neighbor’s House” was voted as a New York Times “Best of” for 2016.

In 2014, Huskey played the lead as well as co-wrote with costar and director, Matt Walsh, in “A Better You,” about a self-help hypnotist whose own life is falling apart. He can be seen in such hit films as “Stepbrothers”, “This is the End,” “Neighbors,” “Neighbors 2,” “The Disaster Artist” and, most recently, in Marvel’s “Ant Man and the Wasp.”

Huskey lends his talents as a recurring character to see of the most celebrated shows on television. He voices two characters of “Regular Sized Rudy,” and numerous voices on Fox’s “Bob’s Burgers.”

On the Adult Swim series, “Children’s Hospital” he played Chet, the kind (but maybe a serial killer) EMT worker. He will soon play Chet again in the upcoming Netflix series, “Medical Police.”

Most recently Huskey wrapped his seventh season as Leon West, the cruel and snide Washington Post reporter on HBO’s “Veep,” with his character taking a new position in her campaign team as speech writer.

Huskey has also been described as a bald Jason Lee –  but thinks it’s more like Jason Lee is the grossly hairy Brian Huskey.

Brian Huskey lives in Los Angeles with his daughter and four dogs.

Seth Morris. Morris is an actor and writer. He has had recurring roles on “Veep,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Parks And Rec,” “The Good Place,” and “The League.” He has also appeared on “Modern Family,” “Broad City” and “Kroll Show” among others.

Writing credits include “Funny Or Die,” “Children’s Hospital,” “Kroll Show,” “The Eric Andre Show” and The MTV “Movie Awards.”

Rebecca Kohler. When not writing for CBS’s hit comedy series “Happy Together,” Canadian Comedy Award winner Rebecca Kohler demolishes stand-up stages in both Canada and the US by balancing an innate benevolence with a tongue like an acid attack.

With 15 years honing her craft under her belt, Toronto’s Best Female Comic (NOW Magazine) has had her own half hour special for the Comedy Network, multiple televised appearances at the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival, her own one-hour show at Toronto’s JFL42, several TV tapings at the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, Halifax Comedy Festival, Moncton Comedy Festival and several other Canadian comedy festivals you may or may not have heard of.

Kohler also tours nationally as a headliner. In 2018, Kohler was nominated for the Juno Award for Best Comedy Album, which is the Canadian Grammy.

Kohler should be famous by now but, whatever.

Post Telluride?

Lily Sullivan. Sullivan is a comedian/actor/writer who grew up in Telluride and Chicago. Sullivan performed for the Second City and iO Theater in Chicago before moving to LA in 2015. She was apart of JFL New Faces Characters showcase in Montreal in 2016 and wrote and starred in her own web series for Project Runway called “Project Sammy’s Way.”

Sullivan’s credits include “Comedy Bang Bang!,” “Jake and Amir’s Lonely and Horny,” “SHRINK,” and the upcoming Netflix sketch show “I Think You Should Leave.”

Sullivan also recently made a blurry appearance in  the background of a UPS commercial.

Tim Baltz. Baltz is an actor and producer, known for “Bajillion Dollar Propertie$,” (2016); “Shrink” (2017; and “The Second City Project” (2015).

Hosted by Jeb Berrier, former Telluride thespian now based in Portland, comedian, former Shakespeare in the Park director and Sheridan Opera House Second Stage Theater director and actor.

2019 Comedy Fest rundown:

Thursday Locals’ Night:

Always one of the highlights of the festival.  The Valentine’s Day event pays tribute to the hard-working and not-so-hard-working people of Telluride. Jason Mantzoukas and Brian Huskey lead a mega-watt crew with a send-up of all things Telluride.

Featuring Jason Mantzoukas, Brian Huskey, Seth Morris, Lily Sullivan, Tim Baltz, Rebecca Kohler, and Matt Braunger.

Stand Up & Sketch Friday:

Stand up comedy with Matt Braunger and Rebecca Kohler and an improv set from some of the very best in the business.

Featuring Jason Mantzoukas, Brian Huskey, Nick Kroll, Lily Sullivan and Tim Baltz.

Sketch & Improv Saturday:

Featuring Nick Kroll, Jason Mantzoukas, Brian Huskey, Matt Braunger, Seth Morris, Lily Sullivan, Tim Baltz and Rebecca Kohler.

Whatever happens is guaranteed to be hilarious with the best of the best.

Stand Up & Improv Sunday:

Stand up comedy with Nick Kroll, followed by a grand finale, long-form improv set to end the weekend featuring Nick Kroll, Jason Mantzoukas, Brian Huskey, Seth Morris and Rebecca Kohler.

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 and CCI.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.