Opera House: 21st Annual Telluride Comedy Fest, 2/13-2/16!

Opera House: 21st Annual Telluride Comedy Fest, 2/13-2/16!

The Sheridan Arts Foundation & Jeb Berrier present the 21st annual Telluride Comedy Fest, February 13-16, 2020, 8 p.m. Tickets on Thursday, Locals’ Night, 8 p.m., are $40/$50; Friday-Sunday, $45/$55/$130. (Fees apply.)

In addition to reserved theater seating, eight VIP Tables are available nightly for $520 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 here. The Sheridan Opera House opens its SHOW Bar for ticket holders one hour before each show.

Please scroll down for videos of the talent in action.

Love is no laughing matter except in Telluride, where comedy gift- wraps the Big Day, that’s February 14, for Hallmark– and the kid in diapers with the quiver of arrows. What’s more, the barbs are sure to hit their mark – that’s us – when the 21st annual Telluride Comedy Fest opens for business on Thursday, February 13, with Locals’ Night and runs through the weekend to Sunday, February 16.

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: eyebrows first, 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 you might want to book an appointment at Pearl Aesthetic.)

What’s funny?

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.

According to online sources, Charles Darwin saw humor as a “tickling of the mind.” From an evolutionary perspective, humor is a form of social play that built camaraderie and communicated emotion as early as 4 million years ago among early hominids. That idea is supported by the fact that chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, and orangutans engage in group guffaws.

Freud suggested humor is the release of tension, when sexual or emotional energy is released all at once.

“…Humor serves as brain candy, an incentive to sort through piles of input to determine which cognitions and beliefs to keep, and which to throw out,…” wrote Psychology Today.

In a New Yorker riff, satirist Bruce McCall made a list of safe and harmless subjects for comedy routines: the British Royal family (especially nowadays with Meghan-gate); Canada and its citizens (like we just said); comb-overs (wonder who comes to mind); a duck walks into a bar; the farmer’s daughter; wigs, kids today; and weather (read climate change) made the list. Guaranteed most of McCall’s safe bets will get their fair share of air time, when Berrier & Friends hit the Opera House stage, their humor so arch at time a person could drive a double decker bus through it. The evenings can be wildly slapstick or wildly referential to strain your brain.

Mostly, though, the Telluride Comedy Fest is one great big gambol with each night featuring a unique show blending stand-up, sketch, and improvisational comedy.

Many comedians who have made it big started out on the Sheridan Opera House among them Rob Corddry, who went on star in Hot Tub Time Machine and Children’s Hospital; Ed Helms from The Office and The Hangover; Aziz Ansari, from Parks and Rec, and many others.

And the Who’s Who of comedy, some of Hollywood’s best and brightest, have continued to show up year after year. In town, they party hearty, schussing down the mountain together; onstage, they skate on thin ice.

“I am always amazed at the caliber of people that say ‘yes’ to coming to Telluride. This year it’s a really nice mix of veterans of Comedy Fest like Jason Mantzoukas, Paul Scheer, Nick Kroll, Seth Morris, and Rob Huebe, a quartet that come back year after year and are by now, honorary locals. Newcomers this year include Emmy Blotnick and Anna Drezen. And having people like Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher is like winning the comedy festival lottery! It’s going to be a great year, once again!,” said Berrier.

Telluride Comedy Fest, a brief history:

The official launch of the Telluride Comedy, this year, Thursday February 12, through Sunday, February 15, was 1999. But in 2003, Sheridan Arts Foundation director Ronnie Palamar decided to approach the host with the most, thespian/director 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.

Comedy Fest, the roll out:

Thursday Night is Locals’ Night!

This is Comedy Fest’s tribute to the people who make Telluride tick, and make it what it is: weird and splendid.

The comedians, many of whom have been coming to Telluride for over 15 years, toast, roast, lampoon, and pay homage to our humble little ski town, like nobody’s business.

In person: Jason Mantzoukas, Paul Scheer, Rob Huebel, Moshe Kasher, Natasha Leggero, and Anna Drezen.

Friday Night is Cupid’s night:

For the first time this year, Comedy Fest is happy to welcome the very funny – and very married – comedians Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher to the Opera House Stage.

Kasher and Leggaro will proffe love advice like the experts they are. After all they’ve been married for like three long years.

Opening for them will be Saturday Night Live writer, the very funny and insightful, Anna Drezen.

“This will be a Valentine’s Day/Night to remember,” promised Berrier.

Saturday Night is the Crash Test:

This is an evening of high energy sketch, stand up, and improv, hosted by Telluride favorites, Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer aka “The Telluride Ski Patrol.”

Huebel and Scheer strut their stuff like nobody else, with in-your-face comedy and special guests galore.

Featuring Huebel and Scheer, wEmmy Blotnick, Nick Kroll, Jason Mantzoukas, Seth Morris, Anna Drezen, Natasha Leggero, and Moshe Kasher.

Sunday Night, stand up with Emmy Blotnick and Nick Kroll.

Kroll and Blotnick toured together for part of 2019.

“We are thrilled to have them here on Sunday night to wrap up the fest, “ added Berrier.

The closer on closing night is an improv set featuring Kroll, Mantzoukas, Huebel, Scheer, and Morris.

More on this year’s guests:

Nick Kroll:

Nick Kroll is a comedian, writer, actor, and producer. He co-created, wrote, produced, and performed over 30 voices on the hit Netflix animated series “Big Mouth,” which is based on his childhood. The show was heralded by The Hollywood Reporter as “sweet, progressive and breathtakingly filthy.” It was also nominated for a 2019 Emmy for “Outstanding Animated Program.”

Kroll is also known for creating and starring in the Comedy Central series “Kroll Show,” “The Oh, Hello Show,” the FX comedy series “The League.”

Kroll has also acted or voice-acted in films such as “Adult Beginners,” “Sausage Party,” “Loving,” “Sing,” “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie,” “The House,” “Uncle Drew,” “Operation Finale,” and “The Secret Life of Pets 2.”

His show “Oh Hello,” with John Mulaney, ran on Broadway for six months to rave reviews.

Kroll can currently be heard as “Sergei’ in Secret Life of Pets 2” and as ‘”Uncle Fester’ in MGM’s “The Addams Family.” He also can be seen in MGM’s “Operation Finale” opposite Oscar Isaac and Ben Kingley, and in Lionsgate’s “Uncle Drew.”

In 2017, Kroll completed his Broadway debut with the critical and box-office hit “Oh, Hello on Broadway.”

Recent film credits include Jeff Nichols’ critically acclaimed “Loving”; Seth Rogen’s “Sausage Party”; and Illumination’s “Sing.”

Paul Scheer:

Paul Scheer is a SAG Award-winning actor, writer, and director who has established himself as one of today’s go-to comedic artists in film and television. He can be seen opposite Don Cheadle in Showtime’s “Black Monday.”

Other recent and upcoming screen credits include HBO’s “Veep”; NBC’s “The Good Place”; HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”; ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat”; Hulu’s “Future Ma”; FX’s “The League”; and Facebook Watch’s “Human Discoveries.”

Screen credits include Lionsgate’s “Long Shot”; the A24 feature “Slice”; and the SXSW coming-of-age drama “Summer 03.”

Additionally, Scheer co-hosts two of iTunes’s most popular podcasts, “How Did This Get Made” and “Unspooled.”

Natasha Leggero:

Natasha and husband Moshe.

Natasha Leggero is an accomplished actress, writer, and stand-up comedian.

Stemming from her breakout appearance on the Comedy Central Roast of James Franco, Leggero was lauded as the stand-out roaster on the Comedy Central “Roast of Justin Bieber.” The actress has also appeared in an episode of NBC’s “Marry Me” and on the hit show “Modern Family.”

On the big screen, Leggero starred in two comedy films including “Neighbors” alongside Seth Rogen, as well as “Let’s Be Cops” opposite Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans, Jr. She also had a role in the 2009 romantic comedy “He’s Just Not That Into You.”

Leggero built her body of work with numerous roles on prominent television series including NBC’s “Community”; FX’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”; “Arrested Development,” Showtime’s “Dice”; Comedy Central’s “Reno 911” and “Drunk History”; ABC’s “Suburgatory”; the sketch comedy “Key and Peele”; “Comedy Bang! Bang!”; “Chelsea Lately”; and “The Tonight Show,” among many others.

Moshe Kasher:

Kashar has written for several films, series, and specials including “Betty” for HBO; “Little America” for Apple;” Wet Hot American Summer” for Netflix; “Another Period”, the Comedy Central Roasts for Comedy Central; and “Zoolander 2.”

Last year, Kashar and his wife Natasha Leggero released a three-part comedy special for Netflix, “The Honeymoon Stand-Up Special,”  which is based on their wildly successful podcast titled “The Endless Honeymoon.”

Rob Huebel:

HOLLYWOOD, CA – MAY 28: Actor Rob Huebel attends the “The Kings Of Summer” Los Angeles premiere held at the ArcLight Hollywood on May 28, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)

Actor, writer, and comedian Rob Huebel has made a name for himself in the television and film worlds. He is known for his role as Dr. Owen Maestro on Adult Swim’s award-winning series, “Childrens’ Hospital,” for which he earned an Emmy nomination. He can currently be seen in the spinoff series, “Medical Police,” which debuted in January on Netflix.

Huebel starred as Len Novak on Jill Soloway’s critically acclaimed and award-winning Amazon series, “Transparent” and is a regular on FOX’s hit animated series, “Bob’s Burgers.”

He will also be starring in Comedy Central’s upcoming pilot “Chasers,” as well as in HBO’s “I Know This Much Is True,” opposite Mark Ruffalo.

Huebel created and starred in his YouTube Red series, “Do You Want to See a Dead Body”?

Anna Drezen:

Anna Drezen is a comedian, writer, and actor living in Brooklyn, NY.

Drezen is currently a writer for “Saturday Night Live” and regularly performs standup and sketch comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, the People’s Improv Theater, Union Hall, the Annoyance, and other clubs across the country.

She is the editor-at-large of Reductress, a satirical women’s magazine (Forbes, “ Best Websites for Women”), and coauthor of Reductress’ debut humor book, “How to Win at Feminism” (HarperOne).

Drezen co-wrote the viral Tumblr-turned-book “How May We Hate You?” (Potter Style) about her experiences working as a concierge in Times Square.

Here is a great interview with Drezen.

Seth Morris:

Seth 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.”

Morris also appeared on “Modern Family,” “Broad City,” and “Kroll Show” among others.

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

Emmy Blotnick:

Emmy Blotnick is a stand-up comedian and writer, who has appeared on CBS’ “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert, “CONAN,” and in her own half-hour special on Comedy Central. Previously, she was staff writer on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

Blotnick was highlighted as one of Comedy Central’s “Comics to Watch” and a “New Face” at “Just For Laughs” in Montreal.

Jason Mantzoukas:

In 2019, Jason Mantzoukas was featured as Tick Tock Man in JOHN WICK 3 for Lion’s Gate. In 2018, he starred in “The Long Dumb Road,” an American road trip comedy that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. It was directed by Hannah Fidell and costars Tony Revolori, Casey Wilson, and Ron Livingston.

He will next be seen opposite Mark Wahlberg in Antoine Fuqua’s new film, “Infinite,” for Paramount.

Mantzoukas can also be seen as Frank in “The House”; Nadal in The Dictator”; and in films like “Sleeping With Other People” and “Neighbors.”

On television, Mantzoukas is best known for roles like Jay on Netflix’s “Big Mouth”; Rafi on FXX’s “The League”; and Derek on NBC’s “The Good Place,” as well as “Kroll Show”: “Modern Family”; “Transparent” and more.

Mantzoukas co-hosts the wildly popular comedy podcast “How Did This Get Made?” alongside June Diane Raphael and Paul Scheer. They analyze bad movies.


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