Durango’s summer just got a little funnier with the addition of Next Best Comedy Showcase at the Henry Strater Theatre.
Presented by Comedy Showcase Durango and DGO magazine, the shows will start Friday and will run through July.
Each show is broken down into two parts. The first is a standup comic competition featuring 12 comedians from around the Four Corners who are competing for the chance to headline a show during the upcoming Four Corners Comedy Festival. The second half is a performance by a special guest comedian who also judges the comedy contest.
Audience members have the option of buying tickets for the early show, late show or both.
This week’s special guest will be Denver-based comedian Nathan Lund, who despite being in love with comedy from an early age, and despite the facts his friends all said he was funny, didn’t try standup until after he graduated from college.
“I didn’t think of it as a career option for a long time,” he said. “It’s a weird thing to get into, just trying to tell your thoughts to a bunch of strangers in a room. You want everybody to like you. You want them all to have a really good time and have a good night, so you’re taking that responsibility.”
Lund said that when it comes to judging the standup contest, comedians need to grab his attention.
“I definitely like to see people that are unique and are trying to stand out a little bit,” he said. “Anybody that is their authentic self, I like that, too. I also like good wordplay, anything that’s clever.”
Lund, who has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, said going to see a comedian is more than just paying to hear a few jokes.
“Sometimes, it feels very not important, just kind of silly. It is important for people to be able to have an escape from the day-to-day and from any of the big, crushing realities of life,” he said. “Sometimes things can get heavy, and we have to be able to deal with that stuff and acknowledge it – you can’t always escape. But it is nice to be able to have a night out where you get to laugh and maybe not think about your problems or anything too big and scary.
“I like being able to provide that for people: “Hey, let’s have a good time tonight and worry about all the stuff we have to worry about in the morning,’”Lund said.