Klanderud kills at Comedy Fest

Charles AgarAspen, CO Colorado
Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

ASPEN What do you do if Kevin Costner won’t get off your lawn? If Jack Nicholson turns up passed out in a bus station? If a member of the Eagles builds without a permit?

Call Aspen Mayor Helen Klanderud, comedian Dave Hill said Saturday night during the “Dave Hill Explosion” at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.The 30-minute performance was like watching a self-important teenager strut around his bedroom, a fantasy world of his own fame complete with nunchucks and all that is “totally sweet” – but that was the whole point, and Hill’s performance is funny because it is so disquieting. (For some Saturday it was maybe just disturbing, but they missed the boat.)Hill walked on stage to images of nuclear explosions on TV screens, pumping theme music and clouds of smoke, only to stand awkwardly at the microphone, adjust his hair, shake a bit like he had a nervous disorder. Then, in a deadpan voice, he said, “Welcome to the Dave Hill Explosion,” before apologizing in advance for “totally blowing your mind.”Between bashful slurps from a straw in a can of Coke and awkward glances at the audience, Hill read a journal entry full of observation, graphic detail and naive insights all about a chimpanzee that attacked its owner.Hill then launched into a half-naked theme dance to the tune of “Urgent” – complete with strobe light and a foam sprayer – followed by a premiere of his new show before he introduced the Aspen mayor.

“I only get nervous when there’s a script,” Klanderud said later. She said that while they didn’t rehearse, she knew what she was getting into.Klanderud was at ease onstage as Hill delivered a litany of her accomplishments, her long list of affiliations, then he stopped and asked: “How do you find time to keep this town’s nose clean? Does Costner ever act up?” Hill asked.”What happens in Aspen stays in Aspen,” Klanderud said, to shouts from the audience.”What is it about this town that makes you fell so … alive?” Hill asked.

“It’s a magical place,” Klanderud said. “We love Aspen!” she hooted to crowd’s approval and catcalls.Hill ended with a tribute song to the mayor, asking what to do when things are in trouble. Who do you call?”Helen Klanderud,” Hill trilled in a falsetto.Charles Agar’s e-mail address is