Questions with comedians: Vail Comedy Show welcomes Sam Tallent this week

Sam Tallent performs this week at the Vail Comedy Show.
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Vail Comedy Show is back Thursday, Oct. 20 at Sarah’s Lounge in the Christiania Lodge in Vail Village with headliner Sam Tallent. Tickets are available online at Doors are at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m.

Sam Tallent is a comedian and author who was born and raised in Colorado. He has performed all over the world, appeared on the “WTF Podcast” with Marc Maron and his book, “Running the Light” is being made into a movie.

Have you ever performed in Vail?

I assume I have. I’ve been doing comedy a long time and it all blurs together, especially the mountain towns. Everything on I-70 between Silverthorne and Glenwood is hard to differentiate in my mind. Breckenridge, Vail, Keystone, Aspen — they occupy the same space in my memory banks. EagleVail is a place for some reason. Pick a side, EagleVail.

Do you have a favorite Colorado mountain comedy memory?

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I was doing a week of shows in the mountains around 2008 with four of my friends. We stayed in Eagle at comedian Brett Hiker’s childhood home and his parents were and still are lovely people. They fed us on venison and taught us about the science of Bigfoot, and we stayed up very late laughing in their basement. The gigs were sparsely attended and a week of headlining paid less collectively than the upcoming single show in Vail, but at the time, the sum was life-changing, and I felt like I’d made it. We promoted the shows on a local radio program called “Choogling with the Choog” and on live local morning television, the host asked me what it was like to host the infamous Lion’s Lair open mic on East Colfax.

HER: So you host a show on East Colfax at a place called Lion’s Lair? That sounds pretty scary. I bet you have some crazy stories.

ME: Oh yeah you bet. You ever seen a dead body, Tricia?

When I said that, the other four comedians imploded with laughter, and the juxtaposition of their glee with her horror remains one of my favorite memories ever.    

What do you know about the Vail Comedy Show?

The show has a good reputation. All I know personally is that it is usually at a different venue, so this show is an experiment. And if there’s one thing I love after 15 years of stand-up comedy, it is being a test subject. 

Tell us about your book, how can folks get a copy?

I wrote a novel about a haggard and ostracized comedian called, “Running the Light” and I’m very grateful for how well it has been received. Writing a book is a difficult and lonely pursuit, and it makes me happy that comedians have praised it as the definitive fictional depiction of stand-up in any medium. You can buy a signed copy at and the audio book — read by Doug Stanhope, Bert Kreischer, Mark Maron and other luminaries — is available on all platforms. 

What is the biggest theater you have performed at this past year, tell us about it?

This year I have been fortunate. I have performed stand-up in every English-speaking country in the world, besides New Zealand, opening for a comedian named Tim Dillon. I think the biggest shows we did were 3,600 in both Toronto and Manhattan, but I’m not sure. The Chicago Theater was massive, as was Sydney, Australia. Performing for 1,000 people — in my opinion — is easier than performing for 100 people because it lacks intimacy. The people in the theaters are there because they enjoy comedy and they are familiar with the performers’ work — they are effectively fish in a huge, opulent barrel. The people at a bar show are in attendance because it was something to do. They look at it the same way they do bowling or Dave & Busters and they often aren’t as comedy literate, and if you don’t fit into their myopic understanding of what comedy is (fail to make them laugh), you are — by definition — not a good comedian. And while proving your merit to them is an invaluable and necessary skill that all comedians must learn and master, it can lead to you compromising what you think is funny to entertain the majority. I love a small room because I enjoy riffing, and to improvise in front of thousands of people would be disrespectful. In the big rooms, you play the hits and the jokes work, but it’s not as exciting as it is to try and create something brand new every night. Therefore, I prefer the intimate settings because magic can happen.      

How would you describe your comedy?


What is next for Sam Tallent?

Trying to find the time to finish my next novel and a couple screenplays while also touring every weekend. My first novel is being made into a movie and that’s a really exciting process. In December I’m doing solo shows in Europe, and next year I’m going to Japan and Australia. My wife is finishing her residency and we’re living in Ecuador all of May 2023, so I’m learning Spanish. Riding my bicycle. Reading good books. Drinking natural wine. Eating more plants. Trying to live long enough to reap what I’ve sowed.

Any final thoughts?

Thank you to Mark Masters for bringing me to Vail. From what I understand, this show has sold faster than any show he’s produced and as a Colorado native, that feels good. See you on Thursday. Go Broncos.

Vail Comedy Show has several more shows this fall. Joe Zimmerman will be at Moe’s in Eagle on Oct. 26. Steven Rogers will be at the Grand Hyatt Vail in Cascade Village on Nov. 9. Ben Bryant will be at Bridge Street Bar in Vail Village on Nov. 17. All tickets are available at

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