As the "Mom of Denver Comedy," Lori Callahan is still proudly plugged into the Mile High City's stand-up scene - Reverb

Why So Serious, Lori Callahan?

Lori Callahan, the "Mom of Denver comedy," will headline a pair of shows at the Comedy Works clubs this week. Photo courtesy of Crystal Allen.

Lori Callahan, the "Mom of Denver comedy," will headline a pair of shows at the Comedy Works clubs this week. Photo courtesy of Crystal Allen.

Denver native Lori Callahan is known around the Mile High City as the “Mom of Denver comedy,” and she lives up to the title by fiercely supporting and protecting her cubs.

But she’s also a working comedian, even if it took her a series of jobs — construction, welding, banking, surveying for the State Highway Department — to get there. In addition to booking stand-up shows in Gillette, Wyo. for the past few years, she’s performed her own stand-up around the country (“It’s taken me to every state but five,” she says) and for troops across Asia, Guam and Hawaii as part of a PACAF tour.

We caught up with Callahan via e-mail in advance of her headlining gigs at Comedy Works tonight (Thursday, Sept. 22) and Comedy Works South on Sunday, Sept. 25.

What was your first time doing stand-up like, and what made you want to come back?

The first time was on a dare, I sent a tape to KOOL 105 and I went up and I won $100. The laughter from strangers made me come back.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever felt bad laughing about?

A comic friend was on stage and this guy had a heart attack. We thought he was just fooling around. The guy died and my friend said, “I killed last night.”

What’s a joke you used to love to tell but now can’t stand?

I used to do a joke when I said, “This body is brought to you by Budweiser.”

When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?

The other night, I saw a black guy holding an advertising sign for a tanning salon.

What’s your favorite thing to do outside comedy?

Golf and play poker with my comedy buddies.

How do you think you live up to the title of “The Mom of Denver Comedy”?

I think I live up to it well. I didn’t ask for that moniker. However, I’m like a mama bear with cubs. You don’t mess with my peers in any way. I may have a sweet demeanor, but if you screw us with money or heckle you are toast.

Who are some of your favorite Denver comics?

That’s a tough one. I have so many. Ben Roy, Phil Palisoul, Hippieman, Bryan Kellen, Josh Blue, Todd Jordan, Edith Weiss, Kevin Fitzgerald, Chuck Roy, Steve McGrew, Michael Floorwax. I love them all.

What do you think about the current health of the Denver stand-up scene?

The comedy scene is so great in Denver. (Comedy Works owner) Wende Curtis has a high standard. Wit’s End is another great venue. A lot of the younger, hip comics have taken their careers very seriously. They have created and started up great rooms and I applaud them for that.

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John Wenzel is an executive editor of Reverb and an A&E reporter for The Denver Post. He is the author of “Mock Stars: Indie Comedy and the Dangerously Funny” (Speck Press/Fulcrum) and maintains a Twitter feed of random song titles and band names.