WHEELER OPERA HOUSE PRESENTS ASPEN LAUGH FESTIVAL 2024
Aspen, CO (February 13, 2023) Get ready to laugh at the Wheeler Opera House with Aspen Laugh Festival February 21st through 24th! From sidesplitting anecdotes to clever wit, this festival promises an unforgettable experience that transcends boundaries and speaks to a diverse audience. At the Wheeler, we believe in the power of laughter as the best medicine, a testament to the joyous tradition of comedy that has graced our historic venue since its opening in April 1889 with a hilarious production of “A King’s Fool.”
While humor reverberates through our halls year-round, February holds a special place in our hearts as we present the Aspen Laugh Festival. Featuring the comedic brilliance of Patton Oswalt, Beth Stelling, Patti Harrison, and Reggie Watts, this lineup is guaranteed to tickle your funny bone and leave you laughing in the aisles. That’s not all, opening acts Orlando Leyba, Janae Burris and Chris Turner round out the line-up this year.
The affordability of Wheeler Opera House tickets is made possible through the support of the City of Aspen Real Estate Transfer Tax, ensuring accessible entertainment for all.
Patton Oswalt | Wednesday, February 21 | 7:30 PM
Prepare for a comedic feast as the Aspen Laugh Festival 2024 kicks off with the one and only Patton Oswalt. With an illustrious career spanning across comedy specials, television, and film, Oswalt continues to leave an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. His recent Netflix special, “We All Scream,” not only marked his directorial debut but also earned him a Grammy® nomination, adding to his impressive accolades. Oswalt’s versatile talent extends to the big screen, with standout performances in films like “Young Adult,” for which he received a Critics Choice Award nomination, and “Big Fan,” earning him critical acclaim and a Gotham Award nomination.
In the realm of television, Oswalt has graced audiences with memorable roles on iconic shows such as “Parks and Recreation,” earning him a TV Critics Choice Award, and “The King of Queens,” where he played ‘Spence’ for nine seasons. His voice work in animations, including ‘Remy’ in Pixar’s Oscar® winner “Ratatouille” and ‘Max’ in “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” has solidified him as a sought-after talent in the industry. Oswalt’s comedic prowess has not gone unnoticed, with multiple Grammy and Emmy® nominations, including a win for ‘Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special’ for his sixth comedy special, “Talking for Clapping.”
Opening Act: Orlando Leyba
Orlando Leyba is a Dominican American actor and stand-up comedian who connects with all audiences through his unique life experience and perspective and undeniable likability. Orlando has become a regular at comedy festivals and touring nationwide at clubs throughout the U.S and Canada. Most recently, Orlando was featured in NBC’s “Bring the Funny”. His HBO stand-up special “Orlando Leyba: Adorable”, premiered on HBO Latino and is now on HBO Max. In addition to touring nationwide, Orlando recurs in truTV’s “Laff Mob Laff Tracks”, both performing stand-up and acting in his re-enactment stories. He has made appearances on NBC’s “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon” and was featured on HBO’s “Entre Nos: Part 3”. Orlando voices the role of “Wabo” alongside Will Forte and Lea Thompson in the animated feature “Luis & the Aliens”.
Beth Stelling | Thursday, February 22 | 7:30 PM
Embark on a laughter-filled journey with Beth Stelling, a standout comedian, and force to be reckoned with in the comedy world. With her one-hour stand-up special, “If You Didn’t Want Me Then,” currently streaming on Netflix, Beth showcases her comedic prowess and storytelling finesse. Originating from Chicago, Beth quickly rose to prominence, earning the title of “Best Stand-up Comedian in Chicago” by The Chicago Reader in 2010. A mere three years into her comedy career, she became a New Face of Comedy at Montreal’s renowned Just for Laughs Festival.
In 2011, Beth made a mark in Los Angeles where she seamlessly transitioned from making her late-night TV debut on “Conan” to releasing her debut album, “Sweet Beth.” Her comedic talent caught the eye of Jimmy Kimmel, leading to a performance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” after he witnessed her stand-up at the Upright Citizens Brigade in Los Angeles. Beth’s journey continued with her Comedy Central half-hour special in Boston, recognized as one of the “Best Stand-up Specials of 2015” by Vulture. Her Netflix special, part of “The Standups” series, received critical acclaim, prompting HBO Max to feature her first-hour stand-up special, “Girl Daddy,” produced by Conan O’Brien and Team Coco, earning praise from The New York Times as “The Best Debut Special of the year.”
Beyond the stage, Beth has showcased her versatility as a writer on various projects, including “I Love You, America” with Sarah Silverman and HBO’s “Crashing.” Her podcast, “We Called Your Mom,” co-hosted with her mom Diane, has gained popularity on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. As a go-to hire for punch-ups on feature films, Beth’s comedic genius extends to the big screen, highlighted by her role as Ms. Fish on Peacock’s comedy “Rutherford Falls.”
Opening Act: Janae Burris
Janae Burris, a comedian, actor, and event host based in Denver, Colorado, boasts an eclectic background that includes stints as a house sitter, nanny, and dog walker, all while honing her craft with numerous Zoom comedy performances from her well-lit bathroom during the tumultuous year of 2020. A native of South Los Angeles and an alumna of the California Institute of the Arts, Janae seamlessly blends her upbringing in a notorious L.A. neighborhood with avant-garde theater training, resulting in a comedy style reminiscent of a one-woman show. Notable highlights of her career include headlining roles at various comedy festivals, such as Portland’s Bridgetown Comedy Festival, Limestone Comedy Festival in Bloomington, Indiana, Telluride Blues Fest, and High Plains Comedy Festival in Denver. Janae has also graced the stage at esteemed venues like Comedy Works in Denver, where she is a “Pro” regular, and has opened for acclaimed comedians such as Michael Che, Roy Wood Jr., and Beth Stelling. Additionally, she is a founding member of Pussy Bros, a stand-up comedy trio whose television debut on NBC’s “First Look” showcased their unique brand of humor.
Patti Harrison | Friday, February 23 | 7:30 PM
Patti Harrison, the comedic force hailing from rural Ohio and making waves in the NYC comedy scene, is lighting up screens everywhere with her unparalleled talent. Catch her in the Sundance sensation “Theater Camp,” released in 2023 by Searchlight Pictures, and named one of the top 10 independent films of 2023 by the National Board of Review. Also in 2023, Patti dazzled audiences in the Paramount blockbuster “The Lost City” and earned a nod for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead in Nikole Beckwith’s “Together Together,” alongside Ed Helms.
Her rise to fame began with her breakout role in 2017’s “A Simple Favor,” followed by scene-stealing performances as the sociopathic “Ruthie” on Hulu’s “Shrill” and memorable appearances on “I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson,” “High Maintenance,” “Search Party,” and “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.” Patti’s comedic genius extends beyond acting; she’s lent her wit to writing for hit series like two seasons of “Big Mouth” on Netflix and even voiced the role of “Tail Chief” in Disney’s ensemble “Raya and the Last Dragon.”
Currently gracing screens in HBO Max’s acclaimed series “Made for Love” and the upcoming “She Hulk” on Disney+, Patti is unstoppable. Last summer, she wowed audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and a sold-out residency at London’s iconic Soho Theatre. And she’s not slowing down any time soon, with exciting projects on the horizon including Netflix’s “Electric State,” helmed by the Russo Brothers, alongside Millie Bobby-Brown and Stanley Tucci, as well as the independent gem “Turn Me On,” directed by Michael Tyburski. Keep your eyes peeled for this rising star as she continues to dominate both the comedy and entertainment worlds with her unmatched charm and comedic prowess.
Reggie Watts | Saturday, February 24 | 7:30 PM
Prepare to be blown away as Reggie Watts, the multifaceted Musician/Comedian/Writer/Actor extraordinaire, takes the stage to close out the Aspen Laugh Festival 2024 with a mind-bending finale. Known worldwide for his role as the bandleader on CBS’s “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” Watts effortlessly blurs the boundaries between music and comedy, delivering 100% improvised performances that leave audiences spellbound.
Fresh off his electrifying turn as the DJ at the 2021 Emmy Awards, Watts continues to defy expectations and push artistic boundaries. His groundbreaking Netflix special, “Spatial,” garnered widespread acclaim, with The New York Times describing it as “a giddy rush of escapist nonsense” and dubbing Watts “the most influential absurdist in comedy today.” As a solo performer, Watts captivates audiences with his unparalleled blend of music and comedy, headlining sold-out tours across the U.S. and Europe and gracing the stages of renowned festivals like Bonnaroo, SXSW, and Just For Laughs.
In 2020, Watts embarked on a new venture with the launch of his content app, WattsApp, offering fans a techno-savvy glimpse into his world. The app features original content, including the innovative show “Droneversations,” where Watts conducts interviews filmed by drones. Watts’ comedic journey began with his debut special, “Why Shit So Crazy?” on Comedy Central Records, followed by the critically acclaimed “Reggie Watts: A Live At Central Park.” Adding yet another layer to his multifaceted career, Watts penned his memoir, “Great Falls, MT,” published by Penguin’s Tiny Reparations imprint. Get ready to experience Reggie Watts like never before as he brings his unparalleled creativity and boundless imagination to the forefront, leaving audiences in awe and craving more.
Born in Germany, raised in Montana, and currently residing in Los Angeles, Reggie Watts promises a finale that transcends the ordinary—a fitting end to the laughter-filled celebration at the Aspen Laugh Festival.
Opening Act: Chris Turner
Chris Turner is a British comedian and freestyle rapper, with over 40 million views on YouTube thanks to his jaw-dropping improvisational talent. Chris is the first comedian to ever have performed with Cirque Du Soleil in Las Vegas, while his appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert earned him a rapturous standing ovation. A regular headline act at New York’s world famous Comedy Cellar, Chris’ shows combine freestyle rap, musical comedy, and stand-up for a unique and unmissable live experience that must be seen to be believed.
“The UK’s finest freestyle rapper” – Fox Sports
“A virtuoso…a hip-hop machine” – Guardian
“Very funny, uniquely appealing…nobody on a Vegas stage does what Chris Turner does” – Las Vegas Review-Journal