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A whale of comedy

Kimberly Nicoletti
summit daily news
Special to the Daily
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The Whale’s Tail is bringing four smart, young Denver comedians to Breckenridge: Brett Hiker, Jordan Doll, Kevin O’Brien and Jim Hickox. Their demographic: “Young, smart people work best, but we’re all comic chameleons,” Doll said.

Comic chameleons toned toward the geeky side, that is.

“All of our stuff gets geeky to different degrees … robots, pop culture … it’s nerd-geek rock,” he said.

Even O’Brien can’t always keep up with the level of arcane references Doll comes up with.

“I’m pretty savvy in pop culture, but I’m left in the dust (oftentimes),” O’Brien said.

Then there’s, Hickox, who does a three-minute bit about Andrew Jackson, or opens his act with a speech from “Independence Day.”

“He’s very off-the-cuff and smart and observational,” Doll said. “It’s a different show all the time; he’s very in the moment.”

Hickox is one of a group of comedians (formerly known as “Risky Productions”) who cut his teeth “on how much everyone hated us” at a couple of Denver’s hardest rooms to work: Lion’s Lair and The Squire Lounge.

“It was like the first tour at Iwo Jima,” Hickox said. “Everything else is a cake walk.”

He employs technology, in the form of videos, “to bolster my admittedly strange act,” mostly, because he wants to stand out among all the other young white male comedians. He describes his act as “not very offensive at all. I curse a lot.” and says, “It’s a living diorama of the 21-century tween-ager angst.”

Speaking of growing pains, O’Brien revolves much of his act around trying to “figure out what the hell I’m doing – being 24 and having no idea.” He worked for his college’s newspaper and radio, but when he couldn’t find any jobs in the media field, he got tired of not having an answer to the question, “What do you do,” so he took to the stage – at the Squire, as well.

“I needed an outlet to feel stimulated and creative,” O’Brien said, adding how he sucked at stand up for the first year, partially because he came off as a snarky, young, pseudo-intellectual guy, which audiences often don’t appreciate.

“Everybody thinks they’re funny … but it’s a lot harder (than it seems),” he said, explaining that becoming a successful comedian involves 75 percent failure and 25 percent attention to how good comedians pull it off. “We’re pretty much f-ups. That’s why we started as comedians.”

Hiker and Doll are part of the “I Stole Your Baby” Internet sketch comedy troupe. Both began in Albuquerque – Doll more out of spite than anything else because friends kept telling him he’d never do it. Hiker earned a name as one of the 12 finalists in the Southwest Laugh Off, a contest rewarding the funniest comic in the Southwest. Most recently, he appeared at the 2010 Laugh Track and Aspen Rooftop Comedy festivals, as well as the 2011 Great American Comedy Festival in Nebraska.

O’Brien has opened for some of the biggest names in comedy, “even though they can’t remember his name,” he said. He’s a contributing writer for PunchDrunkComedy.com, garnered second in the St. Patrick Parish Chili cook-off in 1999, and is still trying to figure out what to do with his life.

And Hickox?

“Jim’s actually a pretty famous comic and kind of the star of our tour,” Hiker said.

“I’m not much one to gloat, but I’ve accumulated quite a bit of press this past year, which culminated recently in a Denver Post article,” Hickox said. “Here are some snippets of my success: ‘… and Jim Hickox’ – The Denver Post; ‘… Jim Hickox’ – Rocky Mountain News; ‘Jim Hickox also performed’ – Westword; ‘… and Jim Hickox [not pictured]’ – (Boulder) Daily Camera. Watch out world, here I come.”

Indeed.

“The last comedy show these guys played in Breckenridge was to a standing-room-only crowd, so get there early,” Hiker said.


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