Winter comedy roundup: Cartoons, hometown heroes and more

· Jan. 13, 2014, 7:00 am
Aziz Ansari
Wednesday, Jan. 29, 7:00 p.m.
Pikes Peak Center, Colorado Springs
While many “edgy” comedians will draw lines in the sand and entertain only those who want to laugh at their enemies, Aziz Ansari manages to fill a room with people who love him for his Tom Haverford character on "Parks and Recreation," and then relentlessly mock that which they hold most dear: babies, smart-phones, and the institution of marriage. Never playing the role of detached villian, this hyper 30-year-old gets away with murder as he charms the audience with his wide-eyed confusion with the modern world. More than an observational comic, Ansari is a brilliantly hilarious social commentator, taking on universal issues not with a fine scalpel, but with the dismissive disgust of a garbage man. The comic visits Colorado Springs’ Pikes Peak Center on Wednesday, Jan. 29.
Cartoons and Comedy
Thursday, Jan. 30, 9:00 p.m.
Deer Pile, Denver
When newcomer comedian Christopher Baker first began taking time away from his job at Comedy Works to launch Cartoons and Comedy one year ago, it was just one of dozens of comedy shows popping up all over town. But the combination of vintage 80s and 90s Saturday morning cartoons paired with Denver’s funny finest riffing atop them (while serving the audience novelty cereals, O.J. and champagne) has made the show a huge hit, leading to the coveted golden-ticket of Sexy Pizza sponsorship. The show will move to the new Sexy Pizza in Jefferson Park this spring (there’s an invite-only Facebook page due to the open marijuana smoking which you can get in on by liking their Facebook page). But this month you can catch Adrian Mesa, Mara Wiles and Christie Buchele delivering their comedy commentary over the nostalgic projections of "G.I. Joe," "David the Gnome" and "Tiny Toons" at Deer Pile on Jan. 30.
Jeffrey Ross
Wednesday, Feb. 5, 8:00 p.m.
Boulder Theatre, Boulder 
For all those hardened cynics who believe they are impervious to being offended, just know that Jeffrey Ross is the comedy predator out there looking for that button you didn’t know existed -- and he’s more than ready to push it. Already an established insult comic with his 2008 special "No Offense," Ross eventually settled into the role of Roastmaster General for the Comedy Central series, delivering gasp-worthy moments in their last eleven roasts -- particularly in 2012 when he refused to apologize for comparing Seth Green to the Aurora Theater shooter when roasting Colorado comedy icon Roseanne Barr: “You haven’t gotten this much attention since you shot all those people in Aurora. ... I’m kidding. You are not like James Holmes. At least he did something in a movie theater that people remember!” Eager to find where your own lines are drawn? Check out Jeffrey Ross at the Boulder Theatre on Feb. 5.
T.J. Miller
Thursday, Feb. 27, 8:00 p.m.
Gothic Theatre, Englewood 
The rest of the world may know him as the Hollywood weirdo from "Get Him To The Greek" and his Comedy Central show "Mash Up." But in his hometown of Denver, T.J. Miller’s comedy cred was established in his collaborations with local humor heros The Grawlix and members of The Fine Gentleman’s Club.  A time-tested master of improv, lately Miller has been known to deadpan his way through an agonizingly long and confusing portion of his set, driving the audience nearly to boredom . . . and then whamo, he hits them with an explosion of congruent madness that ties the whole set together and leaves the crowd hyperventilating with joy. One of the most popular comics to come out of Colorado, Miller will be headlining the Gothic Theatre in Englewood -- a venue normally reserved for large-draw musicians -- on Feb. 27.
Amy Schumer
Wednesday, March 26 at 8:00 p.m.
Paramount Theatre, Denver
Louis C.K., Sarah Silverman and Bill Cosby may be on all of the year-end lists for their stand up specials. But it was Amy Schumer who owned comedy in 2013. Reversing the trend of empowered feminist comedians like Silverman and Natasha Leggero, the wildly celebrated Comedy Central series "Inside Amy Schumer" unearthed  humiliating societal (and self-applied) pressures of 21st century women, applying the perfect seasoning of wit and grace to make the bit come full circle toward liberation. Watch as Schumer keeps the self-loathing ball rolling into 2014 with the "Inside Amy Schumer's" Back Door Tour, coming to Denver 's Paramount Theatre on March 26.

Josiah Hesse is an entertainment and pop culture journalist whose work has appeared in Westword, Out Front Colorado, and comedy blogs Laugh Spin, Splitsider and The Spit Take. Follow him on twitter at @JosiahMHesse.

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