Get your stand-up fix downtown.
For almost two years, comedians Cesar Cervantes and Dan Raney have turned the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College into the place for a few laughs. Their Happy Hour Stand-Up brings national headliners and local and regional talent to the Music Room stage on the first Fridays of most months.
Mitch Fatel, a longtime comic who lives in Denver, will headline Friday's show.
"The city (Denver) is exploding, and so is the stand-up scene," said Cervantes, co-producer of Happy Hour Stand-Up. He's also an adjunct faculty member in the CC Department of Theatre and Dance and the senior assistant dean of students. "In terms of selecting comics, we think about the Fine Arts Center audience. While it might not be a squeaky clean show, we're looking for smart comics. We're not the typical nightclub that might get dirty or raunchy. Our audience tends to be little older and may have had a drink or two, but they're not drunk."
Fatel, who often can be heard on satellite radio, also has some juicy credits to his name. He appeared many times on "Late Show with David Letterman" and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," was dubbed best comedian at the HBO's 2006 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, and saw his first Comedy Central special in 2007 ranked No. 6 by viewers in the "Stand-Up Showdown."
The Happy Hour Stand-Up format differs from nightclub shows, which usually feature a host, feature act and headliner. Cervantes likes to include more performers. Five or six comedians will get on stage throughout the night.
Cervantes himself is no stranger to the spotlight. He still performs about three times a year at Loonees Comedy Corner. The former full-time comic got his start in college at open mic nights. Within a year, he was making money. And by the time he was a senior, he was doing military tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. After moving to Los Angeles and doing comedy, indie films and other work, he met his wife and gave up the freewheeling lifestyle. He went back to school for higher education and now teaches stand-up at CC during the year and for the FAC's theater department during the summer. Students in his summer class will perform during the Happy Hour Stand-Up show in August.
"I fell in love with teaching people how to do it," he said, "and provide guidance to doing it that I never really had and had to figure out. It's really vicious and cutthroat. Other comics are very competitive and critical, and it turns a lot of people off who would otherwise be really great comics."
JENNIFER MULSON, THE GAZETTE, 636-0270, JEN.MULSON@GAZETTE.COM