Snowmass Live brings the laughs to Base Village
“People need to laugh,” organizer says
It should be no surprise that comedy is coming to The Collective in Snowmass Base Village this summer.
The venue used to host improv shows and had several comics on the winter calendar before COVID-19 put a damper on live performances. Collective and Plaza Manager Sarah Sanders has long had a passion for comedy; the town is gaining traction as a place for live entertainment, Sanders said. Plus, she noted, “people want to laugh — people need to laugh after the last year.”
This summer’s Snowmass Live comedy series will give people 10 opportunities to get that chuckle in, according to the lineup announced June 2. Snowmass Live also will include music and other performances throughout the season.
The Colorado Comedy Competition kicks off the series at 7 p.m. June 16. Nearly anyone can participate; the funniest contestants will win the opportunity to perform as the opening act for headliners later in the summer. A handful of yet-to-be-announced local figures will serve as a panel of judges for the competition.
A two-week hiatus will give organizers time to align competition winners to headliners based on schedules and comic styles; comedy returns July 7 and continues through Sept. 1 with two shows every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.
This summer’s slate includes valley comics like Beth Brandon and Miller Ford (the pair will bookend the lineup hosting “An Evening of Comedy” that may include other guests July 7 and Sept. 1) as well as nationally recognizable names like Ali Macofsky and Aspen Laugh alumnus Alex Edelman (July 14). A handful of performers, including Edelman and Macofsky, were rebooked from winter dates that were canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Sanders recruited Gena Buhler — the former Wheeler Opera House executive director who helmed Aspen Laugh from 2015 to 2020 — to take the lead on bookings. Sanders previously worked with Buhler developing comedy programming at the Wheeler; the relationships they developed with comedians there enabled them to bring in big names on a smaller budget at the Collective, Sanders said.
All events take place at The Collective in Base Village with two shows at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Performances are free but reservations will be required for most shows; tickets will go online later this month.
June 16: Colorado Comedy Competition hosted by Miller Ford (one show only at 7 p.m.)
July 7: An Evening of Comedy with Miller Ford and Beth Brandon
July 14: Ismael Loutfi
July 21: Alex Edelman with Hannah Einbinder
July 28: Ali Macofsky
Aug. 4: Ben Gleib
Aug. 11: Nancy Norton
Aug. 18: Colorado Comedy Night
Aug. 25: Megan Gailey
Sept 1: An Evening of Comedy With Miller Ford and Beth Brandon
To sign up for the Colorado Comedy Competition, email email@example.com with a few sentences about the act and planned content. Performances must be family-friendly.
“These are all really cool, down-to-earth comedians that not only will put on a show but will be engaged in our community, and that’s important to us,” Sanders said. “We wanted to also showcase Snowmass and have people that will talk about it on their platforms as well. … We really want to get Snowmass on the map as the place to be this summer.”
Booking performers for live shows — and rebooking, and rebooking again — isn’t the easiest feat in a pandemic, Buhler said.
“I think everyone who has been booking has gone back and forth and it was a constant cycle of postpone, reschedule, cancel, postpone, over and over and over again for a while,” Buhler said. “And I think we’re all just really starting to come out of it now.”
Having a bit more certainty that the cycle will actually end in a performance this time around “feels so good,” she said.
“There’s something about booking live entertainment in arts and culture that is so incredibly unknown because it’s live. You never really know what’s going to happen onstage, … but you’re confident in the quality that you’re putting forth and you’re confident in your relationships and that the show is going to happen,” Buhler said. “And with COVID, it really changed all of that because you lost your confidence. You lost your confidence in what was coming tomorrow, let alone three weeks or two months.”
There are still some logistical unknowns, to be sure — but Sanders says the team is ready to handle whatever changes come about throughout the season.
“We’re definitely in a better position to pivot because of all the ‘start, stop, go, cancel, no,’ this winter. We really did get put through the ringer this winter on that so I do feel a lot more confident,” Sanders said.
With confidence making a comeback, excitement is on the rise too — especially for comedians who have gone without in-person performances for more than a year, Buhler said.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to is so ready to get out there to move on, to try out new skits and sets that they had not necessarily been able to do during the pandemic and really just put this behind us as much as they can,” Buhler said.
“They understand, I think, a lot of what the role of laughter and comedy (is), and being able to laugh right now is so good for ourselves and for everything that surrounds the craziness that’s going on in life that they really are excited to be a part of that to just get out there and make it happen.”
Artist Tony Lewis will kick off the Anderson Ranch Summer Series on Thursday afternoon with a conversation about the practice of drawing.
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