Cortez City Council member Jill Carlson has organized the Four Corners Comedy Festival to benefit 4 Corners 4 Life, a suicide prevention nonprofit. Thirteen professional and semi-professional comedians will perform at the Sunflower Theatre from 7-10 p.m. both nights, and several smaller events are scheduled around the main performances. All shows are for ages 21 and older.
Carlson, who has dabbled in stand-up comedy for several years, said she decided to organize the event after hearing about a group of Arizona comedians who wanted to come back to Cortez after performing there earlier this year. She said several comedians who performed in town had commented to her recently about how enthusiastic the Cortez audience was, so she decided to see if she could drum up enough interest for a whole festival.
The festival is being sponsored by numerous local businesses and organizations, including the city of Cortez, Blondie’s Trophy Room, KSJD Radio and Onward! A Legacy Foundation. Carlson hopes to cover all expenses with sponsorships, so that the proceeds from ticket sales can go to 4 Corners 4 Life. Among other things, the nonprofit hosts the annual Skate 4 Life competition in Parque de Vida, so much of the funds raised at the Comedy Festival will go toward that event.
“The community support has been phenomenal,” she said. “The Baymont (Inn) donated the rooms for the comics who are traveling over two hours, Blondie’s is providing some meals, and all the other sponsors have just given lots of donations.”
Comedians who will be performing include Jason Harvey, Natashia Mower and Melissa Merlot of Utah; Chris Sisneros of New Mexico; Kristofer Royer, Jas Clay, Jennifer Capati, Aaron Kyle Miles and Jorge Ruiz of Arizona; and Stephen Harman and Allie Wolfe of Colorado. Carlson will act as one of the hosts, along with Durango comedian Wesley Stein and Joshua Fournier of New Mexico. While all 11 comics will perform both nights, Carlson said they’ve prepared different sets for each performance.
The festival will also include a preparty at Stonefish Sushi at 5:30 p.m. Friday and one at WildEdge Brewing Collective on Saturday. There will be a “Roast of Cortez” comedy event at Blondie’s Trophy Room after Friday’s performance and an official “after party” on Saturday at the Sunflower.
If the Comedy Festival goes well, Carlson hopes to make it an annual event.
“To my knowledge, it’s the first time anything’s been done like this,” she said. “I’m very excited.”
As of Wednesday night, she said tickets were still available, but she expected a full house at the Sunflower.