Denver comedian Ben Roy headlines February virtual Vail Comedy Show
Like many of us during the pandemic, comedian Ben Roy has been leaning on two of his closest friends for support. They just happen to also be comedians, beloved in the Denver comedy scene and beyond.
Roy makes up one-third of comedy group The Grawlix, and he follows in Grawlix member Adam Cayton-Holland’s footsteps this month with a headlining performance for the virtual Vail Comedy Show. Streaming free starting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18, Roy’s dark humor will join the likes of Andre D Thompson, Xazmin Garza, Shanel Hughes, Charles McBee, Kendra Cunningham and MC Mark Masters.
When the Vail Daily spoke with Cayton-Holland ahead of the September 2020 show, Grawlix was working hard on their podcast, The Grawlix Saves the World. Now, just over a year after the project picked up steam, Roy has dedicated fully to a new comedy medium he previously hadn’t worked with.
“I mean, honestly, that has gotten me through this pandemic and the quarantines. It’s going great, we’re starting to really grow a much wider audience,” Roy said. “This has been a way to feel like I’m still able to reach out and work with my friends.”
In other Grawlix news, the group’s TV show started streaming Dec. 1 on HBO Max. “Those Who Can’t” ran on truTV for three seasons starring the three comedians as teachers at an offbeat Denver high school. One episode even included Blink-182 bassist Mark Hoppus as a guest star.
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“That made this year also feel like there was a little bit of a silver lining in some respects,” Roy said. “That’s the coolest thing that’s happened this year, work wise.”
One thing that Roy hopes that fans can take away from Grawlix content — whether they watch the show, listen to the podcast or otherwise — is that first and foremost, he, Cayton-Holland and Andrew Orvedahl are close friends.
“I think people can hear it when we do our podcasts, that’s not an act. I think that’s ultimately the main thing. Having people you know really well there to remind you of what’s important and who you are — that’s rare in an industry that sometimes can be void of humanity,” Roy said.
Part of Grawlix’s bond comes from the fact that all three of them, Roy said, learned to process pain through writing from a young age. That bond, plus a shared love of music (Roy’s in a Denver “vacation rock” band called SPELLS), means that the three of them are able to bring laughs to people and to themselves.
And as comedy increasingly becomes a source of refuge for many Americans during the pandemic, Roy also wants audiences to know that comedians are struggling alongside everyone else.
“We just get on stage and air it out. We mine it for laughs,” he said. “The person that scares everybody the most is ourselves. I mean, truthfully, if I can laugh at some of the ways I feel … I think it was a famous philosopher that said that in a happy laughter of an audience, there’s no greater gauge of what one group of people is feeling at any one time.”
And Roy hopes to share that feeling, and an extra commitment to mental health, with everyone who tunes into the Vail Comedy Show.
RSVP for the show
To access the free stream on Thursday at 5:30 p.m., RSVP at vailcomedyshow.com. Participants will receive an access link before showtime, and on-your-own-time viewing access and merchandise are available for purchase at registration.