New comedy festival coming to Aspen at the end of May |

New comedy festival coming to Aspen at the end of May

Special to the Daily

ASPEN ” A new comedy festival, The Rooftop Comedy Festival, is taking place May 30-31 at The Wheeler Opera House in Aspen. The festival, in partnership with RooftopComedy, will feature six public events and more than 30 comics.

“Rooftop and the Wheeler culled through the entire roster of comics associated with Rooftop’s website and came up with just over 30 that we thought could really shine in this first festival,” said Wheeler executive director Gram Slaton.

“Next came figuring out the arrangement of shows, and then which comics for which shows. It’s always a lot of work, but it’s also a labor of love for both parties. And everyone who’s coming really wants an Aspen shot, which means they’ll all be at the very top of their game.”

RooftopComedy estimates about 2,500 stand-up comics have material posted through its website. Individual stand-up sets will vary between 10 and about 22 minutes, depending on the comic.

“As in any festival situation, there’s always the chance that not all of the talent is going to appeal to every patron, but the good news is that you only have to wait a few minutes and a completely different new face will be onstage for you. But we really think we have the possibility of a festival that scores high with every player,” Slaton said.

Comedy fans can find a full variety of sample clips for each comedian performing at

Four of the shows will have Emcee duties performed by members of Aspen’s thriving stand-up comedy community. Alexa Fitzgerald, Beth Brandon and Todd Hartley have been selected to fill these slots.

“Alexa, Beth, and Todd have all performed on the Wheeler stage, so they were a perfect fit for the festival. Each will get a mini-set, and of course perform as host for the show’s run of comics,” Slaton said. “It’s part of our commitment to establishing this new festival as being as much for locals as it is for the comics and the entertainment industry.”

A limited number of “Independence Pass” lanyards, which will provide first-seating access to all six shows, will be sold for $65 each.

Tickets for individual shows ($15-$30) will be put on sale during the week of the festival, as available.

For more information, contact Wheeler Opera House executive director Gram Slaton at (970) 920-5790, or by e-mail at

– Rooftop’s best and brightest, Friday, May 30: New faces Dave Waite, Lisa Landry, Paul Varghese, Mike E. Winfield, Kevin Camia and Geoff Tate will perform in this kick-off event.

– Rooftop at Large, Friday, May 30, 8:30 p.m.: Extended sets by fast-rising stars Chris Porter, Vince Morris and Robert Hawkins.

– Rooftop after dark, Friday, May 30, 10:15 p.m.: Tyrone Hawkins, Andi Smith, Isaac Witty, Steve Wilson and Auggie Smith will take the material into a more adult-only direction.

– The Rooftop National Campus Comedy Competition Finals, Saturday, May 31, 6:45 p.m.: Event will feature four comics awarded finalist slots through online voting at Rooftop’s Web site, as well as four short films also chosen as viewer favorites.

– Rooftop’s Best and Brightest No. 2, Saturday, May 31, 8:30 p.m.: John Ramsey, Matt Braunger, Erin Foley, Robert Buscemi, Nathan Trenholm and Lamar Williams will represent a second helping of Rooftop’s cream of the crop.

– The Big Show, Saturday, May 31, 10:15 p.m.: Tig Notaro, Mike Lucas and Jimmy Dore, three fast-rising comedians that have been featured on Comedy Central, VH-1, MTV, and other top broadcast media, will perform.

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