Laugh Your Aspen Off " again |

Laugh Your Aspen Off " again

John Stroud
Carbondale correspondent
Michael James Robinson was introduced as the “headliner,” although he didn’t seem to do a longer set than anybody else. Maybe that’s because some of the other comicsblatantly ignored “the light,” which signals the comic on stage that time’s up. (Jane Bachrach photo)

Aspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE ” The chuckles from last year’s debut of Laugh Your Aspen Off just keep coming.

After the stand-up comedy troupe’s debut at The Eagles Club in Aspen, it regrouped last month for a performance at Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale. Now, an encore of the valley-centric yucks comes to Carbondale’s Thunder River Theatre on Saturday, Jan. 6.

The group of 10 comedians, led by troupe founder, producer and show emcee Cliff Fewel, takes the stage at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance at Sounds Easy in Carbondale, Glenwood Music in Glenwood Springs and Great Divide Music in Aspen. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and beer and wine will be for sale in the lobby during the intermission.

“It’s a good way to serve all of the people that got turned away last time,” Fewel said, referring to the Dec. 9 date at Steve’s Guitars, which packed the house, and then some.

The Thunder River Theatre, with seating for 200, plus standing room, will offer a bigger stage for the comedians, and some additional elbow room for the audience. But don’t expect that to keep comedy lovers from getting poked in the ribs.

Fresh from the previous Carbondale appearance, and two standing-room-only performances at The Eagles Club in Aspen, Laugh Your Aspen Off features local comics who aren’t afraid to make fun of the valley scene.

The stand-up comedy show features 10 area residents, each with a humorous point of view about life in the Roaring Fork Valley.

In addition to Fewel, Saturday’s show will feature regulars Beth Brandon, Don Chaney, Arthur Piubeni, Mark Thomas, Michael Yoder, Kevin “Karbon” Herzing and Michael James Robinson.

Filling in for Frankie Safferwich and Mike Milota, who had prior engagements before this weekend’s show was booked, are Alexa Fitzpatrick and Kevin Jordan.

“Both have had L.A. experience and are incredibly funny,” said Fewel. There are a lot of closet comics in the valley, he added.

“When I first held auditions to start the troupe, I was told I’d never find enough people who could do stand-up,” he said. “Not only did I find the 10 original comics, now, every time we have a vacancy, there’s another high-quality comic to fill the spot. There are a lot of people who live and work here who had no idea they’d have an outlet for their comic spirit.”

Sponsoring the troupe’s Thunder River appearance is Aspen-based DCD Home Magazine.

“Originally, DCD was designed as a high-end, upscale, responsible, targeted publication for the gay community, called ‘Design Condom Decor,'” Fewel explained. “But, after focus group testing, they changed it to Design Construction Decor.”

That’s a joke.

Seriously, DCD does stand for Design Construction Decor, and publisher Rick French has been looking to get some name awareness out there for area builders and crafters.

“We do have complete license to goof on our sponsors,” Fewel said.

Fewel got the idea to start a local stand-up troupe last March while working at the HBO Comedy Festival in Aspen.

“I heard Dave Chappelle describe Aspen as ‘your little Smurf village’ one evening while I was selling tickets at the tent,” Fewel said. “And it made me curious as to what an insider’s perspective about life in this area might be.”

As a stand-up comic with 10 years under his belt, Fewel wondered if there was enough local talent to stage a show about “life in Aspen and below.” Auditions were held in September, and 10 locals with varying degrees of experience were chosen by a panel consisting of Fewel, KDNK “Celtic Thunder” program host Deirdre McLoughlin, actor Pat Holloran (“Tevye” in Aspen Community Theatre’s recent production of “Fiddler on the Roof”), and Crystal Palace Theater general manager/actress Nina Gabianelli, also a “Fiddler” alum (she played the matchmaker).

“The judges were blown away by the talent,” Fewel said. “It was a funny, funny audition that only got better when we staged the first two shows at The Eagles Club.”

Fewel said a highlight DVD has been sent to HBO with hopes of being accepted as a part of the 2007 Comedy Fest in Aspen, which takes place from Feb. 28 through March 4.