Funny business: Laugh Your Aspen Off back in Bonedale |

Funny business: Laugh Your Aspen Off back in Bonedale

John StroudCarbondale CorrespondentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE, Colo. – While the visual arts are taking a First Fridays hiatus for January, an encore show by the new stand-up comedy troupe Laugh Your Aspen Off puts the performing arts in the forefront this weekend.The group of 10 comedians, led by troupe founder, producer and show emcee Cliff Fewel, takes the stage at Carbondale’s Thunder River Theatre, starting at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and beer and wine will be for sale in the lobby during the intermission. Tickets are $10 in advance at Sounds Easy in Carbondale, Glenwood Music in Glenwood Springs, and Great Divide Music in Aspen.”It’s a good way to serve all of the people that got turned away last time,” Fewel said, referring to the Dec. 9 Carbondale debut performance at Steve’s Guitars that packed the house, and then some.The Thunder River Theatre, with seating for 200, plus standing room, will offer a bigger stage for the comedians, and some additional elbow room for the audience. But don’t expect that to keep comedy lovers from getting poked in the ribs.

Fresh from the previous Carbondale appearance, and two standing-room-only performances at the Eagles Club in Aspen prior to that, Laugh Your Aspen Off features comics not afraid to make fun of the valley scene. The troupe includes Mark Thomas, of Glenwood Springs, who is making his stand-up comedy debut – and enjoying the challenge.”I’d been thinking about it for 20 years and I figured I wasn’t getting any younger,” Thomas said. “Humor – I think it’s one of the trickiest performance arts. It’s a blast when it works, but it’s terrifying when it doesn’t. But it’s an adventure each time and I’m glad it’s being as well received as it is here. People are dying to laugh, especially after the holidays.”The stand-up comedy show spotlights 10 locals, each with a humorous point of view about life in the Roaring Fork Valley. In addition to Fewel, Saturday’s show will feature regulars Thomas, Beth Brandon, Don Chaney, Arthur Piubeni, Michael Yoder, Kevin “Karbon” Herzing and Michael James Robinson.Filling in for Frankie Safferwich and Mike Milota, who had prior engagements before this weekend’s show was booked, are Alexa Fitzpatrick and Kevin Jordan.”Both have had L.A. experience and are incredibly funny,” said Fewel, who added that there are a lot of closet comics in the valley.

“When I first held auditions to start the troupe I was told I’d never find enough people who could do stand-up,” he said. “Not only did I find the 10 original comics, now, every time we have a vacancy, there’s another high-quality comic to fill the spot. There are a lot of people who live and work here who had no idea they’d have an outlet for their comic spirit.”Sponsoring the troupe’s TRTC appearance is Aspen-based DCD Home Magazine.”Originally, DCD was designed as a high-end, upscale, responsible, targeted publication for the gay community, called ‘Design Condom Decor,'” Fewel said. “But, after focus group testing, they changed it to Design Construction Decor.”That’s a joke.

Seriously, DCD does stand for Design Construction Decor, and publisher Rick French has been looking to get some name awareness out there for area builders and crafters.”We do have complete license to goof on our sponsors,” Fewel said.As a stand-up comic with 10 years under his belt, Fewel wondered if there was enough local talent to stage a show about “life in Aspen and below.” Auditions were held in September, and 10 locals with varying degrees of experience were chosen by a panel consisting of Fewel, KDNK “Celtic Thunder” program host Deirdre McLoughlin, actor Pat Holloran (“Tevye” in ACT’s recent “Fiddler on the Roof”), and Crystal Palace Theater general manager and actress Nina Gabianelli, also a “Fiddler” alum as The Matchmaker.”The judges were blown away by the talent,” Fewel said. “It was a funny, funny audition that only got better when we staged the first two shows at The Eagles Club.”Fewel said a highlight DVD has been sent to HBO with hopes of being accepted as a part of the 2007 Festival in Aspen, which takes place from Feb. 28 through March 4.

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