Ten years ago Dan McGowan jumped into the Denver comedy scene, where he worked in clubs and at corporate events. He wanted to be funny. He didn’t want to be raunchy.
“I worked clean,” McGowan said of his wholesome jokes and comedic sets. “It was a great exercise for me to write material that didn’t rely on filth to be funny.”
When he became the worship director at Moorpark Presbyterian Church three years ago, he decided to bring his clean comedy to the city.
“I enjoy helping people feel lightened and uplifted, and comedy is a great way to do that,” McGowan said.
And so the church’s “Clean Comedy Cavalcade of Stars!” was born in 2016. The now-annual show brings together more than a dozen comedians from across the country who perform sets the whole family can enjoy.
“We’ve almost packed the place out because people want to laugh,” McGowan said. “They need humor, especially nowadays.”
The third annual comedy night on Aug. 4 will feature about 15 local and national comics. Standouts include Leslie Norris Townsend, Joby Saad and Gene Perrett, as well as the show’s headliner, actor and writer Thor Ramsey, who’s performed in comedy clubs and churches throughout the country. Ramsey also appeared in four of the “Thou Shalt Laugh” comedy movies.
“These people really know what they’re doing,” said McGowan, who also emcees the event. “What’s really cool is that the church is now coming to expect it. They’re looking forward to this event.”
The comedians’ sets are expected to range from observational humor about marriage and family to zany jokes that bring to mind actor and comedian Steve Martin.
“The topics tend to be as wide-ranging as the comics themselves,” McGowan said. “I would say that there will be something for everyone.”
Church leaders hope the night allows people to let go and be free from the stresses of life.
“There’s just so much anger and hate in life right now and to have a break from that is wonderful,” McGowan said.
The evening is also a way for the church to open its doors to the community and welcome people into its sanctuary.
“It’s a great event to invite people to,” McGowan said. “Come to the church and see what we’re about in a very non-threatening way. We’re just telling jokes.”
“Clean Comedy Cavalcade of Stars!” will take place at 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sat., Aug. 4 at Moorpark Presbyterian Church, 13950 Peach Hill Road. Admission is free.