Aspen comedy cornucopia celebrates 10 hilarious years |

Aspen comedy cornucopia celebrates 10 hilarious years

Stewart Oksenhorn
Aspen Times Staff Writer

For decades, Aspen has been known for skiing, classical music, fine arts, wealth and celebrities.

And for one decade, Aspen has been a mecca of comedy.

The U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, a production of HBO, first rolled into town in 1995. The idea was to provide a forum for television, theater and film producers to locate new talent and emerging comedy forms.

But from the beginning, the USCAF has also made itself a high-profile event by presenting events featuring the biggest names in comedy. Filmmaker and actor Albert Brooks appeared at the first festival; subsequent years have seen the likes of George Carlin, Rodney Dangerfield, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, Jack Black and the Monty Python comedy troupe perform and receive awards at the festival.

This year’s 10th anniversary USCAF, which opens today and runs through Sunday, is a well-rounded five days of comedy. There are big names: Diane Keaton will receive the AFI Star Award, and David Zucker, Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams, who co-directed “Airplane!” will receive the AFI Filmmaker Award.

The cast and creators of the HBO programs “Sex and the City” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” will be featured in separate events. Drew Carey, Barry Levinson, Jack Black and Chris Rock are to be featured, among others, in this year’s event.

There are also plenty of emerging comedians, performing in one-person and alternative shows, sketch pieces, stand-up and more.

And for the past five years, the USCAF has had a strong film component. The festival’s Film Discovery Program, which has screened such films as “Bringing Down the House” and “Bend It Like Beckham,” features eight world premieres. Included are films from England, France, Denmark and Germany, short-film programs and the Opening Night presentation, “Napoleon Dynamite.”

For complete event information, go to


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