Thanking Joan, free laughs in Rifle, a country dance party and music on the mountain |

Thanking Joan, free laughs in Rifle, a country dance party and music on the mountain

Steppin’ Out with April
April E. Clark

I’m a big fan of the late comic Joan Rivers. Her jokes make me laugh.

They always have.

Before her passing yesterday, following cardiac arrest during a throat procedure on Aug. 28, I’d been thinking about Joan all week.

I like a comic who’s not afraid to tell it like it is.

Joan Rivers was telling jokes at nightclubs in the 1960s when women didn’t stand behind mics at late hours of the night to tell jokes…She was real and honest, and was doing what no other funny woman had done at her time.

Not only was she one of the original female comics to pave the way for all of us stand-ups who followed in her joke-telling path, she authored a dozen best-selling memoir and humor books.

Considering I’ve been trying to write one for 10 years, that’s no small feat.

Joan Rivers was telling jokes at nightclubs in the 1960s when women didn’t stand behind mics at late hours of the night to tell jokes. She wrote for Ed Sullivan and appeared on Johnny Carson’s show. She was the first woman to host her own late-night talk show, a personal dream of mine.

Maybe someday.

She was real and honest, and was doing what no other funny woman had done in her time.

Her role in stand-up comedy is epic.

One of my favorite quotes from Joan I’ve seen in reading about her successful comedy career, from a 2012 interview with NPR, speaks volumes to me.

“I enjoy life when things are happening. I don’t care if it’s good things or bad things. That means you’re alive. Things are happening.”

Things are happening in my life and career. And things are happening at the Post Independent.

This will be my last Steppin’ Out column, an idea created to bring special attention to those valley events that might otherwise not receive coverage because of limited space. If I couldn’t attend the events in person, I wanted to give a shout-out to happenings I was missing out on, too. The tradition continues as Jessica Cabe, the PI’s new entertainment editor, will publish her picks on things to do around town next week.

There’s definitely no shortage of fun on the Western Slope.

Change is all a part of life, and embracing it is part of truly living. I imagine Joan would agree. My nearly decade-old weekly column, April in Glenwood, is moving to the new Scene section on Fridays. So I’ll still be sharing my thoughts on life and musings on the people, places and things that make me laugh.

Many thanks to Joan Rivers for that inspiration.

She will always be one-of-a-kind.


People will be laughing at people telling jokes tonight at the New Ute Theater and Events Center, 132 E. Fourth St., with free stand-up comedy for First Friday in Rifle. My female cohort in comedy, Gail Mason, who goes all the way back to our days of starting out in Aspen, will take the stage. Comics Don Chaney, former Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland, Kevin Bennett and Denver’s Tobias Livingston will also be joking around for kicks and giggles. The show starts at 7 p.m. Did I mention the show is free? I did? Perfect.


If one truth remains evident, it’s if I’m not laughing when I’m out and about, I’m likely dancing. Ask any of my friends, and they will concur. Saturday night, the boots will be scooting across the Glenwood Springs Masonic Temple dance floor at 901 Colorado Ave. The High Rockies Wild West Country Dance returns with country music, lessons for $5 at 6 p.m. and dancing for $14 per person and $25 per couple at 7 p.m. I attended one of these dances in Carbondale with my 103-year-old friend Julian Vogt, with whom I share a birthday on April 20, in the springtime. Let me just say it was a hoot, and Julian can dance. Organizers encourage the wearing of cowboy – and cowgirl – hats, boots and pants. Or skirts. There’s also an old-timey cowboy corner photo booth for optimum Facebook pic snapping. The dance party features snacks and a BYOB option, if you choose. Like the Jason Aldean country song lyrics say, that’s my kind of party.

Saturday and Sunday

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, 51000 Two Rivers Plaza Road, continues its highly popular Music on the Mountain series with Stevie Ray Vaughan covers by the Goodman Band on Saturday. The three-piece band plays country, classic rock and blues. The event is a LIFT-UP food pantry benefit, so bring a can of food after  4 p.m. for a free tram ride and show from 6-10 p.m. On Sunday, head up Iron Mountain starting at 2 p.m. for a mix of faith, rock and bluegrass tunes with musicians from The Orchard in Carbondale and the New Creation Church Worship Team from New Castle from 4-8 p.m. Learn more at

April E. Clark sends her thoughts and prayers to Joan Rivers and her family. She can be reached at

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