Comedian T.J. Miller plays to home-state crowd at Belly Up Aspen after sexual assault allegation |

Comedian T.J. Miller plays to home-state crowd at Belly Up Aspen after sexual assault allegation

Comedian T.J. Miller, seen in this file photo, played an Aspen show on Monday night at the Belly Up, one of his first since allegations of sexual assault were made in December. The Denver native also played a show recently in Beaver Creek.
AAron Ontiveroz / The Denver Post | THE DENVER POST

Actor and comedian T.J. Miller headlined a sold-out Belly Up on Monday night in one of the Denver native’s first returns to stand-up since allegations of sexual assault were made against him in December.

Miller didn’t directly address the allegations in his Belly Up set, which ran just over 90 minutes and stuck largely to local material that played well to a receptive Aspen crowd.

He discussed his recent turmoil only obliquely. During a bit about how falling asleep is the best part of any day, he quipped: “Have you ever had a nightmare that’s better than your real life? That happened to me recently for like a month.”

Performing in a camouflage onesie ski suit with a bow tie beneath and wearing Sorels, the 36-year-old comedian made a handful of jokes about how much money he’s lost recently. Sipping from a paper cup throughout the evening, at one point he asked a bartender to refill it, saying: “Can someone bring me another gin in a paper cup? I like to look homeless while I become homeless.”

Miller also played the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek over the weekend.

He mentioned leaving Mike Judge’s HBO series “Silicon Valley” just once Monday night. During an extended bit about nitrous oxide — using a handheld oxygen canister as a prop — Miller joked that he wished he could put HBO’s money toward starting a recreational nitrous legalization campaign: “God damn it, sometimes I think about not having left ‘Silicon Valley’ just to have the money to run a public ad campaign that’s like: ‘Nitrous oxide! Sometimes you just need to feel better for 15 seconds! Legalize it!’”

Miller left “Silicon Valley,” on which he played fan favorite Erlich Bachman, when the most recent season concluded last summer.

In December, as the #MeToo movement brought to light abusive behavior by men in Hollywood and beyond, an anonymous woman alleged in a report published by The Daily Beast that Miller violently sexually assaulted her in 2001 while they were students at George Washington University.

Miller and his wife, Kate Gorney, issued a joint statement that denied the claims, writing that the alleged victim had previously made these accusations in an attempt to split them up.

“Sadly, she is now using the current climate to bandwagon and launch these false accusations again,” they wrote in December. “It is unfortunate that she is choosing this route as it undermines the important movement to make women feel safe coming forward about legitimate claims against real known predators.”

Following the assault allegations, Miller also was accused of sending a transphobic email to a transgender film critic.

In the wake of these allegations, Comedy Central canceled Miller’s “The Gorburger Show” and Mucinex this month dropped him as the voice of its animated phlegm character in its commercials. His podcast, “Cashing in with T.J. Miller,” has been moved off the Nerdist network.

But Miller still has several high-profile films set for release in coming months, including roles in Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One,” in the Kristen Stewart vehicle “Underwater” and in a sequel to “Deadpool.” The fact that he was not cut out of those movies made news this winter.

If the home-state crowd at the Aspen club is any indication, Miller still has a fan base. The audience Monday night didn’t show any trepidation about supporting the comic during the performance, about half of which was devoted to material about Aspen and Colorado (Miller also juggled and played the slide trombone). Miller expressed gratitude for the enthusiastic response.

“I had no idea what this was going to be like, just because I’ve never played this venue and I haven’t really played places (in Colorado) that are outside of Denver,” he told the audience.

Before closing his set with a mime routine, he added: “Thank you, Aspen. I think I’ve had as many good memories here and in Telluride as I’ve had anywhere in the world in my entire life. It’s amazing to perform not only in Aspen but at the Belly Up.”

Through a publicist, Miller declined interview requests before and after the Aspen performance.