TELLURIDE - “It’s a joyous occasion,” said Telluride Comedy Fest Promoter Jeb Berrier, of the four-night Presidents Weekend festival, now in its 14th year at the Sheridan Opera House, with a host of regulars including Rob Corddry, Jason Mantzoukas, Seth Morris, Scot Armstrong, Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer.
“It’s kind of nice to see these guys,” said Berrier, as well as the rest of this year’s lineup, including June Diane Raphael, Danielle Schneider, Nick Thune, Morgan Walsh, Troy Walker, and Michaela Watkins.
Increasingly Comedy Fest performers are making a habit of coming to Telluride over Presidents’ Weekend with their families, and doing a little work at night.
“The fact that that they do love coming back is actually a nice compliment for the town,” said Berrier, now in his tenth year of organizing the 14-year-old festival.
This year, 30 Rock’s Paul Scheer makes the festival a family affair; his wife, June Diane Raphael, is one of four women in this year’s lineup.
“It’s the most women we’ve ever had,” said Berrier, although there’s been “no affirmative action, on my part” to bring women performers to the mix, he confessed.
“We’ve always thought it was a pretty male-heavy lineup,” he added, “but that’s just the way it’s been.
“But it so happens that June has this show that’s been really popular in L.A., and we thought it would be fun to try it in Telluride.”
When it comes inviting performers, Berrier explained that “all the people who come are typically helpful about recommending things and giving me a heads up about shows that might play well in Telluride.”
This weekend marks Berrier’s third trip back to Telluride from Portland, where he and his family moved in August.
“What’s going on that’s exciting?” he asked, fishing for Telluride fodder for the visiting talent.
“I just starting watching The Queen of Versailles,” he said of the documentary about Jackie and David Siegel, owners of Westgate Resorts, and their family, in the midst of building the largest and most expensive single-family home in America, as their business stumbles.
“It reminds me of some of the houses” in the Telluride region, Berrier said.
“I did ask for jokes one year,” he said, about Telluride real-estate prices. “Paul Scheer texted me a joke from the chair lift – something about a house that used to be $7.2 millions was now down to $7.1 million.”
But, Berrier complained, the Telluride material “hasn’t really been great since Stickers the porcupine was relocated.”
Maybe that’s because Stickers was a relatively safe topic, amidst reports that Rodney Dangerfield is alive and well and at the helm of Bushwood Country Club, er, Telluride Ski and Golf Co.
The festival kicks off with Thursday Variety Night, featuring Huebel, Scheer, Mantzoukas, Morris, Armstrong, Raphael, Schneider and Walsh.
Friday Night Comedy brings The Realest Real Housewives Show, staring Watkins, Raphael, Walsh, Schneider and others. Saturday is “Dawn of Telluride Comedy Night,” starring Huebel and Scheer, and featuring sketches and improv about the Telluride Ski Area that opened 40 years ago. The night will be hosted by Huebel and Scheer’s now-infamous “Telluride Ski Patrol,” along with returning Comedy Fest star Rob Corddry and the rest of this year’s lineup. Sunday brings Stand-Up Comedy, hosted by Corddry and featuring Walker and Thune.
For ticket information (prices range from $30-35 to $500 for a VIP table seating eight), call 970/728-6363 or visit SheridanOperaHouse.com.