Some of the players may have changed, but this weekend’s Four Corners Comedy Festival will have no shortage of gut-busting laughter.
Earlier this week, it was announced that festival headliner comedian Bobcat Goldthwait had to cancel his appearance Sunday night at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College. It was reported the comedian suffered minor injuries in a car crash last week and was unable to travel.
“To lose our festival headliner in our third year is devastating. We are asking the community to rally behind the 50-plus talented comics and dozens of organizers and volunteers who have been working tirelessly to bring this event to Durango,” festival director Wes Stein wrote in a statement. “We plan to move forward with the Sunday night showcase at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, however Bobcat will be replaced with a stacked lineup of the very best comedians our festival has to offer.
“We will offer full refunds to any ticket-holders for Sunday night and any VIP wristband holders, however, we ask that you help support our local scene, our festival and our passion for local comedy by holding on to your ticket and attending what will be an amazing comedy show experience despite this sudden loss.”
The festival, now in its third year, began Thursday and will run through Sunday, offering up a reception, parties and a show at El Rancho Tavern, workshops to help comedians fine-tune their material and learn the right way to be offensive onstage, and showcases featuring the comedic styling of dozens of comedians.
In Goldthwait’s place will be Austin, Texas-based comedian Jay Whitecotton, who will headline the show, now called “Best of the Fest Showcase.” Along with Whitecotton, comedians deemed most popular by attendees to the Comedy Showcase will take the stage for a full night of comedy.
Whitecotton is no slouch in the comedy department: He’s been working as a comedian for 15 years, and he’s been seen on Fox, Hulu and FusionTV; has performed at Funny or Die’s Oddball Fest, Moontower Comedy Fest, Australia’s Adelaide Fringe Festival, Las Vegas Punk Rock and Bowling and more. His debut album, “Hi, Lonesome!” reached No. 1 on iTunes.
And yet he remains relatively low-key when it comes to getting ready to get on stage.
“I don’t get psyched about things because if I do, then it’s hard to concentrate,” he said. “I just go in, I have no expectations, and that way, I’m always pleasantly surprised.”
A lot of what he’ll end up doing on any given night is up to that evening’s crowd, he said.
“I never know. I come in prepared – I want people to have a great time. It depends on the audience. My regular club set is for, you know, date night people who just don’t give a s***, who are so done talking to their spouse that they’re just like, ‘Let’s do something different tonight so we can pretend our marriage is interesting.’ So, I definitely have that material,” he said. “I also have material where – not to break anything down, but I’ve been beating myself in the head for the past year working on this set where the whole construct is ‘Happiness is kind of an illusion, it’s not a destination. Positive thinking is destroying us, it’s just being used to enslave us to a corporate mentality and we’re all gonna die.’ And somehow, people laugh at that, so it really depends – if the audience is going with me, I’ll go that direction. If they’re not, then I’m going to find a way to entertain them.”
And Stein is confident the reworked show at the Concert Hall is going to be awesome, and the community should come check out it and the rest of the festival.
“We’re trying to do this for the town; we want to provide local comedy,” Stein said. “We’re just asking the community to rally behind us. We’ve got 50-plus comics coming to town; we’ve got some amazing features and headliners. We’re just going to stack the lineup with as many quality comics as we can. It’ll be a fast-paced, really fun night of comedy. I think people will be pleasantly surprised at the level of comedy. I think it will prove to be a good thing in the end.”