‘Denver’s biggest comedian’ Adam Cayton-Holland will host ‘Tonight Show’ at St. Anthony Summit gala
The glitz and glamor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza will come to Summit County on Saturday night, as the Summit Medical Center Foundation will be hosting its annual gala with a “Tonight Show” theme. Denver-based comedian Adam Cayton-Holland will be hosting the event, which will feature a band, guests and a live “studio” audience.
Cayton-Holland, a national touring comic described by the Denver Post as “Denver’s biggest comedian,” said the event will feature many of the same hallmarks and tropes of a typical late night comedy talk show, including a Letterman-esque top 10 list and interviews with special guests from the hospital.
“They’re really doing a big, elaborate production,” Cayton-Holland said. “For me, it’s fun to be able to rise to the occasion and host something like this.”
Cayton-Holland said he grew up “worshipping at the altar” of David Letterman and Conan O’Brien. He has performed his stand-up on Conan’s show twice, as well as on the “Late Late Show with James Corden” and on “Comedy Central Presents,” among other TV and web performances. He was named by Esquire and Variety as one of the America’s top comics to watch. The foundation gala will be his first crack at hosting a late show format.
As far as his comedy, Cayton-Holland says that he can’t quite describe how his comedy process works, aside from observations he makes in his daily life, and it just happens to be funny to most audiences he comes across.
Cayton-Holland used this merger of experience and comic talent on the television show “Those Who Can’t,” which he writes along with fellow comics Andrew Orvedahl and Ben Roy. In the show, the three play teachers at a failing Denver public school. Cayton-Holland drew on his own experience as a substitute teacher in a DPS school from 2004-05, with the oftentimes absurd, challenging and interesting experiences fueling the content for the script.
“It’s a fertile world for ideas that I enjoy inhabiting,” he said.
Cayton-Holland has performed in mountains quite a lot, and enjoys the audiences that come to see him for the hard-partying mindset they come with to his shows.
“I always found the Breckenridge crowds get a little wild,” he said. “They’re looking for a real rock and roll vibe, and I deliver. But Saturday will be a nice, polite fundraiser.”
Alongside his comedy, Cayton-Holland wrote for Denver’s Westword magazine from 2003-08. Last month, his newly published memoir “Tragedy + Time” was released.
The book is about his life in Denver with his siblings, older sister Anna and younger sister Lydia, and Lydia’s tragic suicide and the impact it had on him and his family.
Suicide is a subject that touches many Summit residents deeply, as the suicide rate in Summit County consistently ranks as one of the highest in the nation. Cayton-Holland says he sets aside his personal tragedy from his comedy, but is deeply passionate about the subject and suicide prevention outside his comic work.
“It was serendipity, doing this gala for a medical foundation while having my book about behavioral health and suicide published last month,” he said. “Behavioral health is something I’m passionate about and believe in improving, and I believe physical and behavioral health should be treated equally important in our lives.”
Cayton-Holland said that depression, suicide and behavioral health is something that impacts every single person, directly or indirectly.
“People talk about six degrees of separation, but when it comes to depression or behavioral health, it’s one degree of separation,” he said. “Everyone knows someone depressed, mentally ill, or has contemplated or committed suicide. Writing this book, to me, it was a way to tell people that it’s part of my life, and I think it’s the normalization of these issues is what people are responding to.”
The St. Anthony Summit Medical Center Foundation gala, which is sold out, will take place Saturday night. Follow Cayton-Holland on Twitter at @CaytonHolland, or visit AdamCaytonHolland.com.
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