Andrew Orvedahl plays Breck
Summit County hasn’t had its usual number of stellar powder days this season, but it has snowed enough to screw up some entertainment bookings.Last month, High Country Comedy scheduled Andrew Orvedahl at Park Avenue Pub, but weather prevented him from showing, so he’s shooting for this Wednesday. Along with Chuck Roy, Nancy Norton will help warm up the crowd before Orvedahl takes the stage.”Nancy is a good friend of Chuck Roy, and she recently returned to Colorado so we are glad to host a ‘reunion’ show for them in the High Country,” said High Country Comedy Night founder JonScott McClung. “Should be a fun night!”
Norton is a nationally touring headliner who has appeared on A&E’s”An Evening at the Improv” and starred in her one-woman show, “The Yellowish-Green Girl.”Most people wouldn’t necessarily think it’s funny to be the fourth of three children – in other words, unplanned. But that’s actually what spurred Norton to be a comedian.”My younger sister and I were kind of starved for attention, so I started entertaining to get attention,” Norton said. “I wanted to do standup since I was about 5.”But upon maturation, she forgot all about that and went to nursing school. She started working with patients who had end-stage illnesses and discovered that people who lived their dreams accepted their impending death better than those who hadn’t been satisfied with their lives.”I asked myself, ‘What if I were about to die and what do I wish I had done?’ ‘Standup comedy’ came through loud and clear,” she said.As fate would have it, that same day, she heard about a local open mic contest, entered, and set her expectations low.”I was hoping to get one laugh, and it turned out that I killed (it) that night; it was a shock for my first time on stage, and it was magical sharing a laugh with that many people. I got hooked right then,” she said.Six weeks later, she became the house emcee, but her beginner’s luck didn’t quite stick.”I got more laughs that first time on stage than the next two years combined,” she said. “Those were a rough two years, but finally I found my sense of silly on stage and have been having fun ever since.”Her style: silly, physical, high energy and “sort of smart” in a rich-life experiences kind of way (as opposed to a book-learned hyper-intelligence).”Secretly, I want to do consciousness raising in a very light way,” she said. “My main goal is for people to love themselves deeply, and maybe I can help them do that by showing them how fun it is to laugh at ourselves. I turn my life inside-out and share my pain in a ridiculous and funny way.”In fact, she claims she has at least “one good audience-alienating moment per show” where she needs to find the humor in it, in order to dig herself out of the hole.Nevertheless, she’s made a name for herself for more than 15 years doing standup on A&E and creating her one-woman show, “The Yellowish-Green Girl” on PBS. The latter revolves around living one’s passion. It explores the idea of confronting societal and parental expectations of who you should be and instead, inventing your own life. For Norton, it meant leaving her nursing career to pursue standup and leaving her marriage to pursue her love for women.”The show applies to any of the choices in life that confront what others tell you, who you are or ought to be,” she said.
It took two years of constant peer pressure for Orvedahl to try his hand at making an audience laugh. But in less than three years of doing stand-up, he secured a spot in Denver’s Comedy Work’s regular rotation. He has performed nationwide, including Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and Red Rocks Amphitheatre. He also has opened for acts like Dave Chappelle, Bob Saget and Josh Blue. And then there was his stint on “Last Comic Standing,” which he wouldn’t repeat, saying it’s more of a reality TV show – where directors put words into the comics’ mouths – than a comedy competition.Orvedahl recently returned to Denver, where he grew up, after living in Los Angeles and learning from plenty of talented comics. When he and his wife had a baby, they decided Denver was a better place to raise a child, partially due to expenses. Plus, Orvedahl loves ski-town crowds, because, as he points out, they’re either wealthy or on vacation, so, generally, they’re pretty darn happy.His laid-back observational style of comedy explores everyday absurdities and things people take for granted. He’s been described as a “smart” comic, but he doesn’t relate much to that adjective.Though he enjoys studying English and history, he said, “I don’t consider myself ‘smart’ – apparently the bar must be set really low. I promise, no one will learn anything. You don’t need anything more than a second-grade education (to get my jokes).”His no-gimmick (no running around on stage or yelling) approach comes from his desire to be “as authentic as possible.” He prefers his stage presence to be similar to sitting down at the bar and conversing with people.Still, Lori Callahan, who has worked with Orvedahl plenty, maintains he’s “smart, clever and edgy.””He’s one of the best writers I’ve worked with and seen in Denver,” Callahan said.
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