Durango’s about to get a little funnier.
Next weekend, more than 30 comedians will converge for a weekend of standup during the fourth annual Four Corners Comedy Festival, which will be held in venues downtown including Durango Arts Center and Powerhouse Science Center.
This year’s festival will feature two headliners: Brittany Brave, Miami’s 2021 Comic of the Year, and Elliot Weber, who may be familiar to a lot of you – he’s is not only a former member of Durango’s comedy scene, he’s also a 2018 Fort Lewis College grad.
While he may have focused on exercise science and economics at FLC, Weber’s always been drawn to comedy, he said.
“I’ve always liked comedy and always wanted to do comedy and perform it and write it. It’s something I’ve been doing since I was like 16, on the writing side. In my notebooks, I was writing jokes instead of taking notes,” he said. “Then in college, I was 20, 21-ish, I was like, ‘How do you actually perform? How does the next phase work?’ So I just started asking around, and I found a local open mic that was friendly to comedy. Went there, met a couple more comedians, they told me about a couple more shows and open mics that exist, and then I was just immediately all-in, I was like, ‘All right, I’ll beat every one of them.’”
What: Four Corners Comedy Festival.
When: Oct. 1-3.
Where: Various locations around Durango.
Tickets: Free-$100. Available online at https://bit.ly/3o66YWK.
After performing in Durango, Weber moved to Denver in August 2019, where, with fellow FLC graduates Josh Emerson and Jacob Jonas, they began working to break into the Denver comedy scene.
“We were all doing comedy, so that made it much easier. We brought our own clique instead of waiting to fit into the other cliques,” he said. “It took longer than Durango – there are just so many more people and nobody likes a new face right away, it takes like, ‘Is this guy going to stick around or not?’ Because so many people come and go. And after they see you for six weeks, and you’re still going to open mics and supporting shows, then people will start to be like, ‘OK, you’re taking this seriously, you actually want to do this.’”
The three men, eager to kickstart their careers, then formed Deadroom Comedy.
“We didn’t really know what we were going to do, we just liked working together. And kind of out of frustration of not being an immediate success in the Denver scene like we were able to do in Durango, we started running our own shows,” he said. “And then we met with Jeff Stonic, who lives in Denver. He moved from Indiana at the same time we did. And we all started working together to produce shows and create our own opportunities, was the gist of it, that’s how it got started.”
The group entered Deadroom Comedy into the FLC alumni category of the school’s Hawk Tank Business Plan Competition and won first place, which came with a $5,000 prize. They will talk about their business during the festival.
And for Weber, while his goal is to make people laugh, he’s also looking for a deeper connection.
“Of course to be funny, that’s the main thing,” he said. “I want it to introduce me and be relatable. I want people to think, ‘I’ve gone through something similar to what he’s gone through and he made that really funny, so it’s not going to be that bad.’ Or, ‘Hey, life is OK... even if there’s hard parts or things seem really difficult at the time.’”
Your hosts for the festival include: Jill Carlson, creator of the Four Corners Comedy Festival and co-owner of Comic Uprising; David Oakley, co-owner of Comic Uprising and longtime local open mic host and Steamworks employee; Jesse Ever is from Phoenix and runs Kid Ever Productions; and Durango comedian Jason Balmforth.
Along with the headlining shows and other events, the festival is also partnering with the local drag scene through Pettyone Productions. “One Millions Ways to Drag In The West,” will be held at 9:15 p.m. Oct. 1 at the Powerhouse. There will also be a free community appreciation show at 2 p.m. Oct. 3 also at the Powerhouse. Featuring local comedians, the show is not approved for all audiences. Bring your own chairs and food. A bar will be available inside the Powerhouse.
Volunteer opportunities are also available, visit the event on its social media pages for more information.