Eagle Valley grads soar in Denver comedy scene
September 4, 2013
DENVER — When comics Brett Heicher and Jordan Doll met as kids, the two were from opposite worlds. Or so it seemed.
Doll had a Scottish accent. Heicher didn't.
Doll and his friends liked to hunt for ghosts. Heicher didn't.
"I knew we were destined to be fast friends," Doll said.
Heicher recalls always being the funny kid in class until Doll moved to Colorado from Scotland.
"Shortly after meeting him, I realized if I'm ever going to step out of his shadow, I need to slowly poison him to death over the next 25 years," Heicher joked. "Probably another two or three to go."
Never in true fear for his life, Doll said humor became a defense mechanism while making new friends in the Rocky Mountains.
"I was definitely a funny kid, but I think my weirdness outshone my humor. I had a lot of imagination and was quick to try and be everyone's friend. I quickly learned this was not the American way," he said. "I was always more of an indoor kid. While everyone else was out playing with sports helmets and tether balls, I was watching 'The Simpsons' or getting in to stuff like 'Mystery Science Theater' and 'Mr. Show.'"
Brothers in comedy
Flash forward, past 2001, after Doll and Heicher graduated from Eagle Valley High School. Both went on to college to study theater and film arts. Then five years ago, they started careers in stand-up comedy. Heicher is best known on stage as Brett Hiker to help with pronunciation.
Doll goes by Jordan Doll.
"Jordan and I have completely opposite styles of comedy. I would describe mine as 'funny,' and Jordan's comedy actually has a unique fantasy/sci-fi flair I haven't really seen anywhere else," Heicher said. "I used to scream at him, 'You're never going to make it with all that 'wizard-talk' kid!' But now he's blowing up, and I've since added a lot more talk of wizards to my set."
Today, Heicher works as a grip on movie sets, most recently in New York City, and does stand-up on the road, including at Indiana's Limestone Comedy Festival. Doll lives in Denver, where he acts in commercials, runs an open mic at Kinga's on Colfax and is a Comedy Works regular. Last week, as they prepped for late-night sets for Denver's highly attended High Plains Comedy Festival, The Denver Post named Doll one of 10 comics to watch at the inaugural two-day event.
He gave credit to his old friend who once teased him while he hunted for ghosts.
"My jokes are definitely a lot more outlandish than Brett's. He has a great way of helping people to see the absurdity happening all around them, while I have a great way of generating absurdity and thrusting it on audiences," he said. "It's a system we have. I make the world weirder, Brett helps people to survive in it."
Joking for a living
Doll said Denver is home to his most memorable comedy milestones, such as appearing at Comedy Works, playing the High Plains comedy fest and opening for comics Matt Braunger, Kyle Kinane, James Adomian, and Garfunkle and Oates.
"It took becoming a stand-up comic to actually get me into stand-up culture, and now I can't get enough. I want to get to a point where my job is being funny, whatever form it ends up taking," Doll said. "Ten years down the road, if I get to write or podcast or tell jokes or act for a living, I will be ecstatic. I hope I get to do it in Denver, though."
Heicher has somewhat lofty aspirations as he earns his ranks in the comedy world.
"My ultimate goal as a comic is to slowly rise to power and become a dictator of some small comedic Eastern European country," he said. "Actually, I really don't know where my future is headed. So many little things have come at me in the last year that my plan is to more or less roll with the punches and see where that takes me."
Heicher's advice to new comics is simple.
"Just to go out and do it. The last seven days in Denver, I did 13 different shows," he said. "Like anything, you get better the more time you put into it. Being a great comedian takes thousands of hours of practice. I'm still working on it."
Doll advised to always listen to advice, but also keep one thought in mind when starting out in comedy.
"Know that in the end, everyone has to figure out comedy on their own. Otherwise it won't be your voice," Doll said. "Don't expect to be handed anything, and don't try to compete with other comics. "Do it for yourself."
Doll said, most importantly, appreciate the friendships that come with telling jokes.
"Having friends who believe in what you do is more important than being better than someone you're competing with," he said. "It's not about them, it's about being funny."