Colorado Comedy Competition keeps the laughs local
Amateur comics at Snowmass event will vie for opening act slots
What: Snowmass Live Colorado Comedy Competition
Where: The Collective Hall, Snowmass Base Village
When: June 16 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
How much: Free. Seats available on a first-come, first-served basis.
More info: Visit thecollectivesnowmass.com/event/colorado-comedy-competition for additional information.
Even before he was a comic, Aspen humorist Miller Ford identified with a Mel Brooks quote that goes: “Humor is just another defense against the universe.”
It’s especially fitting these days, he said, after a year-plus of mandates and restrictions that limited social gatherings and in-person comedy performances during the pandemic.
“What better time than now for that? Because we’re basically all hanging out with training wheels on again,” Ford said in an interview this week. “Day by day we’re finding out the residuals of what just happened to us.”
Now, it’s time for local folks with a funny bone to kick off the training wheels and test the material that’s been percolating throughout the pandemic, Ford said. He’ll host the Colorado Comedy Competition at The Collective in Snowmass Base Village on June 16, where amateur comics will vie for the chance to open for big-name comedians later this summer during the Snowmass Live performance series.
“After the year and a half we’ve all been through, being able to host the first (local) comedy competition (back after the restrictions) is just like, it’s beautiful, you know what I mean?” Ford said. “It’s just like getting comedy back to the people, getting people involved who might have been thinking throughout the lockdown, ‘Oh man, I never tried that out.’ Giving them this possibility so early after the lockdown, after all the restrictions have been lifted, is nothing but a privilege.”
A panel of judges will be on the lookout for a handful local comics to open for headliners throughout the summer lineup, according to Snowmass Live comedy programmer Gena Buhler.
“The goal is that there is a little bit of local flavor to every show, whether it’s a fully local show or local and a headliner as well,” Buhler said.
Buhler is part of that panel; she’ll be joined by Snowmass Tourism Director Rose Abello, Susan Dampier of Limelight Hotel Snowmass, Straightline Studio Owner Kelley Peters, Lululemon Aspen manager Rachael Manning and East West Partners Snowmass managing partner Andy Gunion.
Keeping the competition focused on Colorado comics helps to ensure winners either live in the area or can easily return later in the summer for their opening gigs.
But even those who don’t win a spot as an opener this summer can find a future in comedy, according to Ford. All it takes is showing up and showing a commitment to the craft.
“Every person had to start at some point. … Once you get in the group, once you get in the scene around here, the opportunities start to unfold,” Ford said.
Participants could make connections that open doors to paying gigs down the road, or they could just make a few new friends along the way, according to Ford. Both have value in the small comedy community in the Roaring Fork Valley, he said.
“The competition is great because we get to see each other. There’s not a ton of us out here, and if you find it appealing then you kind of have an unlimited source to play around, because it’s not like we have a huge pool to pick from,” Ford said. “So it’s really cool, whoever comes and actually enjoys it, whether they place or not — they’ll have a room for movement.”
Then, too, there’s the added benefit of comedy as “a defense against all this universal strife that we’ve all gone through,” Ford said.
“If you can write a joke about it, you can take away the power that it has over you,” Ford said. “That’s exactly what comedy is at the core. If you can laugh at it, the power has now ceased to exist.”
The deadline to register for the competition is Saturday. To sign up, email your name, contact information and a brief description of your three- to five-minute set (keep it PG-13) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comics will be assigned a slot between 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
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