Aspen report: Day 1

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blog_comedy_icon.jpgAspen, Colorado, is gorgeous; it's snowing nonstop. Which is why the 13th annual U.S. Comedy Arts Festival got off to a rocky start yesterday: No one could get here on Tuesday, and Wednesday's travel was brutal at best. Fortunately, all of the talent got in before their respective curtains (a truck was hired to pick up Steven Wright in Denver), and stories of seven-hour bus rides gave the rest of us something to commiserate over last night. One assumes, as the fest continues, we'll start talking about the talent instead.

Big-ticket shows this year include "The Person of the Year Award," Stephen Colbert, appearances by Don Rickles and John Landis at a screening of Landis's upcoming documentary The Rickles Project, and special sets from George Carlin and Steven Wright. The lineup also features an abundance of pro stand-ups: Nick Swardson, Fred Armisen, Marc Maron, Mary-Lynn Rajskub and Katt Williams are all slated to perform.

As for the newcomers—the showcasing of whom is ostensibly why this festival exists—assessment to follow. What I caught last night was pretty hit-and-miss, although L.A. sketch group Summer of Tears at least provided nice conceptual work with solid acting. Then again, I've only been here one day, so...TBD.

The highlight of last night? Watching a bunch of white kings of the comedy industry dance to hip-hop at VH1's Best Week Ever party, their black credentials necklaces swaying in unison to the beat. On and off Aspen's stages, there is humor everywhere.

Now I'm off to eat overpriced but delicious food at the St. Regis. Star-watching aids in digestion.

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