But I guarantee that if it does fit into your universe, you're probably going to come back week after week.
From the outside, the neon lights of The Squire Lounge glow with the type of empty promises that only a dive bar can offer. Upon entering, music wanes from the jukebox, and the bartenders quickly work to catch the customers up to whatever level they're looking to hit.
The open mic started somewhere in the vicinity of 11:00pm. The timing definitely isn't for the faint of heart, and neither is the comedy. It boasts an eclectic mix of comedians, ranging from seasoned comics to first-timers willing to take on the brutally unforgiving scene of the Squire. Talk about cojones, my friends.
Greg Baumhauer hosted this past Tuesday with the effect of a parent watching over his many children, applauding and extending the good ones and occasionally playing the role of CJ Parker, running to the stage and rescuing a struggling swimmer, maybe with a slightly sardonic edge. His between-act commentary set the newbies up for a hopefully un-heckled first try and the vets for a crowd with wide-open ears. In explaining his set-up of the act, he talked of creating a structure that gave everyone a chance, balancing the best with the rest and hoping that the good ones were on their game to carry everyone through the rough patches.
And his artful lineup is effective. The night carried itself in a way that the three hours rarely felt long, and the sheer volume of comedians--I counted thirteen and there were definitely more than that-- would dictate that you'd feel alot more of that "Is this over yet?" feeling that came in extremely small doses and more towards the end of the show. Sad and lonely is the comedian who has to follow local favorite Adam Cayton-Holland in this group. He skillfully brought the crowd to a state of alertness that I didn't know could exist in the midst of a boozed-up slurge of miscreants. After he berated a heckler in perfect --and apparently funny-- spanish, I hung up my mental hat and thought "What can't this kid do?"
The crowd did cartwheels over the next few acts, and finally someone re-commanded the attention of the audience and brought the few semi-coherent attendees back to the comedic reality that existed on stage.
A few shots of comedy and some shout-outs to the ones that I loved:
- The Mayans were not that smart, they didn't even speak english.-Chris Charpentier, blowing off the 2012 conspiracy
- Kyle Bufkin sees a kid in a Wolverine t-shirt, then shows the crowd his Wolverine tattoo. Who should be more embarrassed? Kyle, methinks.
- Steel Stover, 1st timer, blew trees down with his nerdy list of how to please a woman. Awesomely nerdy.
- Prakash Hosalli killed it. Plain and simple.
- Sam Tallent self-deprecated his way to the crowd's heart and did it wearing a plaid t-shirt with sparkly strands woven into the mix.
- Nathan Lund wrapped up the show with a crowd-commanding act that even the passed-out dude on the floor would laugh at occasionally. In his frickin' sleep.
And that's that, my friends. Cheap drinks, good comedy, and the people-watching bar of the century. Well worth attending even though I got less than four hours of sleep before having to wake up for the day job.
Like I said, it's not for everyone; however, it looks like my Tuesday nights are booked from now on. If you're brave enough to dive into the mix, get there early to get on the list with Baumhauer and prepare yourself for something that you can't really prepare for.
And until then, dont forget to subscribe to the Denver Comedy Examiner column by clicking the little thing at the top of the article. And Nicole's twitter is in desperate need of more followers. If you have any tips, info, or corrections for the DCE, catch up with Nicole at email@example.com.