Matt Besser, Preacher Lawson, Jokechella and more Colorado comedy you need to know in July

Comedian Matt Besser brings his cannabis-themed “Pot Humor” show to Colorado July 5-8 at venues in Fort Collins, Denver, Colorado Springs and Boulder. (Provided by Matt Besser.)

Despite a seemingly never-ending stream of concerts and summer festivals in Colorado, July is relatively light on attention-grabbing stand-up — perhaps due to the disproportionate amount of the comedy world that will be focused on Denver Aug. 23-25 for the sixth annual High Plains Comedy Festival.

Still, a surprisingly funny “America’s Got Talent” contestant, a modern sketch and improv legend, a marathon northern Colorado showcase, and a familiar face from “Animal Planet” await hungry Denver stand-up fans in July.

Here’s the best of the best in the metro area this month.

Matt Besser
Unlike the other co-founders of the Upright Citizens Brigade troupe (and training-centers/theaters in New York and Los Angeles), Matt Besser hasn’t had a consistent, high-profile role on a hit sitcom, preferring to focus on “pure comedy” and the business of being a modern-day improv torchbearer. Of course, he’s still popped up on shows such as “Parks and Recreation” (with friend and fellow UCB alum Amy Poehler) and “Modern Family,” but the stage is where Besser shines. At least outside of Colorado: “I especially look forward to coming to Denver because it’s where I did my first legitimate stand-up set in the summer of 1989 at the Comedy Works. It was a packed audience and the worst bomb of my career,” he wrote in an email to The Denver Post. “Unfortunately I have not played in Denver since. I hope to redeem myself!” We have a hunch that will happen when Besser brings his new, cannabis-themed “Pot Humor” show to Colorado July 5-8 at various venues in Fort Collins, Denver, Colorado Springs and Boulder.

July 5 at the Lyric Theater in Fort Collins; July 6 at the Oriental Theater in Denver; July 7 at Open Faith Temple in Colorado Springs; and July 8 at the Boulder Comedy Show at Bohemian Biergarten. Tickets: $5-$20, depending on the venue;

Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald
You know who’s led an interesting life? Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald. The real-life veterinarian, who gained fame on 10 seasons of the “Animal Planet” series “Emergency Vets,” is also a committed stand-up with a long, storied career in show business. Did we mention he was a former bouncer for The Who and The Rolling Stones? Or that he’s opened for everyone from Bob Hope and Diana Ross to the Neville Brothers? (He was, and he has.) If you haven’t seen him yet, this one-off headlining show is an ideal chance to sample his appealing humor.

7:30 p.m. July 5 at Comedy Works South, 5345 Landmark Place in Greenwood Village. Tickets: $14,

Fort Comedy’s Jokechella
Colorado stand-ups David Rodriguez and Kyle Pogue host this “90-minute comedy festival,” featuring an exhaustive (or exhausting?) 40-plus names from across the state, including comics with various sitcom, late-night TV and Comedy Central credits. Denver’s own Adam Cayton-Holland (The Grawlix and truTV’s “Those Who Can’t) will headline, with Cody Hunter, Jessica Schwartz, Thomas Loehr, JL Westra, Sammy Pisciotta, Lizz Wolfson, Brittany Body, Celine Wolff, Brigid Jennifer Dunn, Chris Muñoz, Demetrius Parker, Jeff Albright and many more.

7 p.m. July 11 at the Aggie Theatre, 204 S. College Ave. in Fort Collins. 16-and-up. Tickets: $10 advance, $15 at the door;

Preacher Lawson
If you mourn NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” there’s a lesser version always happening on “America’s Got Talent,” which features its fair share of stand-up. Of course, the variety-show format means deep stand-up dives are less frequent, but the ones who make it through tend to have the same broad appeal and professionalism as “Last Comic Standing” champs like Denver’s Josh Blue (who’s headlining Comedy Works South July 6-7). Lawson, a finalist on the most recent season of “America’s Got Talent,” is one such performer: a nimble, upbeat stand-up whose stage presence belies his barbed asides and rapid-fire references. We dare you not to like him.

Various times July 12-14 at Comedy Works South, 5345 Landmark Place in Greenwood Village. Tickets: $21-$26,

Guest List
Like Jokechella, Guest List is another breathless showcase where comics record multiple albums and EPs of head-spinningly short bits and sketch comedy in a single night. The show will celebrate its 2-year anniversary on July 25 with a lineup of 25-plus comics (to be determined), plus free pizza and drinks, thanks to the show’s sponsors at Sexy Pizza (parent company of Denver’s Sexpot Comedy company).

8 p.m. July 25, The Bakery, 2123 Market St. Tickets: $10,

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