Steamboat Comedy bringing more laughs to the ‘Boat
February 5, 2019
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When they get together, it's hard to tell what is a joke and what is serious business, but then again, for Steamboat Comedy, jokes are serious business.
The group got its start earlier this year, as members saw an opportunity to build a community around stand-up comedy in Steamboat Springs.
If you go
What: Steamboat Comedy's Comedy Hour
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6
Where: Steamboat Brauhaus, 2500 Village Drive
What: Steamboat Comedy's Desperation Day Show
When: 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13
Where: Old Town Pub, 600 Lincoln Ave.
Steamboat Comedy shows are free and recommended for audiences 21 and older.
As a fan, founder Dom Marzouca was obsessed with comedy, but he never thought he'd be on stage cracking the jokes. He just wanted to enjoy a stand-up show without driving to the Front Range.
He said it felt like a pressure to create a group like this was building in the community. The talent is already here. All it took was one guy creating a Facebook group to "open Pandora's box," as comedian and co-conspirator Miles Sanchez put it. About 50 people expressed interest in the group, with about 20 of them interested in performing.
Marzouca and soon-to-be host Brittany Kohler met up at a local bar with a professional comedian from Fort Collins, who happened to be in town, and Steamboat Comedy began.
Their first open mic show in January at Steamboat BrauHaus packed the restaurant. Management even called in more servers, comic Andrhey Martinez said.
The group aims to host one show a week at local bars and restaurants. Steamboat Comedy is seeking more venues to perform in, though you probably won't catch them on a proper stage in a theater.
"We want to support the local businesses that support us," Kohler said. "To me, comedy isn't on a big stage. It's when you're there with the people."
Performing in bars allows for more audience interaction and creates a more intimate relationship between the comic and those watching, comic Kendra Ruth added.
In the spring, Kohler said the group hopes to start bringing in professional comics from the Front Range to headline shows.
Steamboat Comedy also wants to expand into other mountain towns. They're not aware of any similar organization in the Colorado Rockies. Many of their acts focus on the culture of mountain towns, ski bums and the funnier facets of the service industry — jokes that Kohler believes will ring true in other mountain towns.
Beyond saving locals gas money and about three hours of driving to Front Range comedy shows, the Steamboat Comedy is something special for those starting out in the world of stand-up.
In larger cities, comics frequently have to reach out directly to a club, try to get on a setlist, get lucky to be selected for the list and then, perform, comic Kyle Ruff said.
It's what Sanchez called "lone-wolf comedy." There are no lone wolves in Steamboat Comedy.
Members of the Steamboat Comedy get together once or twice a week to make plans and laugh together. Anyone interested in performing, or just hanging out, is invited to reach out to meet up with members of the group. New performers are also welcome at any Steamboat Comedy open mic, even if it's just to deliver your best one-liner, Kohler said.
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Kohler opens the shows with a bit of banter about Steamboat Comedy and the talent. Then, she invites them on stage to perform. After all of the planned acts deliver their jokes, anyone else who wants to perform is invited on stage. Some curse words nearly always slip out, so Steamboat Comedy shows are recommended for those 21 and older.
The format of the group, and the fact that so many members are new to the game, makes it easier for new people to get on stage. Of the group's six core members, only Ruff and Martinez had performed stand-up before the show two weeks ago.
"Who are we to say 'Oh no you can't perform with us,'" Sanchez said of first-time stand-ups. "It makes it so new people can come to the table."
His only prior comedy experience was writing for a couple of episodes of a comedy show that never got off the ground about Steamboat's service industry.
"I would never have done it," said Ruth. "Hanging out with people doing the same thing pushed me to do it."
The group has a few pieces of advice for anyone who wants to get on stage:
- Just do it.
- Go to the bathroom before you get on stage.
Marzouca said someone will hand you a bucket if you need to puke.