Citizens of Denver, you have a new anthem. Comedian T.J. Miller, and what looks like nearly everyone involved in the booming Denver comedy scene, has put together a hilarious send-up and tribute to our Mile High City.
Promoting Miller's new comedy album The Extended Play E.P., which features the "Denver" song and dozens more, the video premiered at "Film on the Rocks" on Tuesday night before a screening of "Bridesmaids" to a sold out crowd and is now playing at Funny Or Die for all to enjoy.
Miller serves as MC T Dogg J in the song, rhyming "Denver" with "suspenders," "low money lenders," and several times with "tender." The comedy crew shows up practically every notable Denver spot, including an unforgettable stop by the DIA Blue Mustang -- who lends his incredible vocal talent to the song. Who knew he was so talented? It's a hysterically funny and catchy song and video -- just try to get "Denver, Denver, I'm from Denver" out of your head after just a single viewing.
The Huffington Post recently chatted with Miller, local comedy performer and producer Andy Juett, and the Nix Bros. -- Adam and Evan -- the directors of "Denver" and some of the funniest comedy videos in town about the the making of the video and why T.J. Miller is the first non-employee to ever legally dive off the cliffs at Casa Bonita.
Who are you guys?
T.J. Miller: I was the Head Boy of East High School in 1999, I represent 303 the area code not the band, Mile High until I die. I'm 31, a comedian, I juggle but I don't glove it. I think waxed mustaches run a very thin line between hipster and 1800s barkeep.
Evan Nix: Older Nix bro. Filmmaker and professional time waster. Co-director of Denver's Laugh Track Comedy Festival. Favorite mustache shape: Charpie sharp.
Adam Nix: Other brother. Video magician. Other director of Denver's Laugh Track Comedy Festival.
Andy Juett: I'm a father. Radio Executive. Producer. Performer. Writer. Lover. Scoundrel. My time is evenly divided raising my two great kids, helping run some great radio stations in Denver, going to and performing in comedy and music shows and riding this great town in my elaborate network of on call party busses that insure everyone’s safe delivery -- everywhere. I want to be known as Denver’s biggest comedy contributor, whether that’s performing, producing, writing, helping get great people to come to my and other shows or launching a new website or comedy festival. Were those last two a tease? Perhaps they were. Perhaps you’ll find out via a swarm of surly, diseased falcons, dropping scrolls of information in developed neighborhoods so the people in the bubble can burst their inhibited nonsense and get to some great comedy. T.J. Miller says I have incredible hair and that’s what keeps me going.
How did the project come together:
Miller: The Nix Bros. were doing some comedy with some guys I knew from the Denver scene -- Adam Cayton-Holland, Andrew Orvedahl and Ben Roy -- and they knew Andy Juett, who is a good friend of mine through doing comedy promotion on his radio stations. Andy pitched them for directing the "Denver" music video and I thought it would be a great way to forge a relationship and eventually, if it went well, create more content together in Denver. It did.
Juett: T.J. and I were talking about doing a video together and I had given him great feedback about what studs Evan and Adam Nix are relative to putting together videos and T.J. and I decided to hire them to do “Denver.” It made too much sense. They’re from Denver, although they lived in Nevada for a while, and basically have developed into the best directors in this town. T.J. liked their stuff and trusted that I wouldn’t suggest anyone that didn’t rule and ohhhhh child. Oooooooh teeny little honey child now. The Nix Brothers are the best in Denver. Period.
E. Nix: Andy Juett is one of the coolest, most connected people I know. He has his hands in a lot of buckets, so to speak.
How did you guys come up with the concept?
Miller: I just felt like to really make the satire effective for the "Extended Play E.P." music album I needed to also become a guy who would produce these music videos that were high production value for these nonsense songs. I love Denver. And the song is sort of a satire of how everyone reps their city now, and so few people do it for Denver, and it's a sort of love letter to the city, since it truly is my favorite.
E. Nix: T.J. contacted us about doing a music video for a song from his album. As comedy fans, we were already familiar with his album and his other music videos, so we jumped at the chance. The video is fully inspired by the song. We wanted it to be packed full of awesome secret Denver references as well as insane non sequiturs. It also had to be as crazy and wild as T.J.'s comedy. Hopefully people will want to watch it twice to make sure they caught everything.
Who wrote the song lyrics?
Juett: T.J. wrote that song with the music director from Second City in Chicago Jesse Case who’s a terrific producer. Those guys wrote that stuff together.
Miller: I just liked how "Denver" doesn't really rhyme with anything, so I thought, let's try and rhyme the daylights out of this. And we did. Oh my wowzers. I rhyme it with so many words. “Tender” mostly.
How did the shooting process go?
Miller: We started throwing around as many ideas as possible that were Denver related, and there are so many funny distinctly Denver locations, that we decided to make the video about the locations. So that was why it took several days and many hours. One hilarious story was that we were all together, and then someone, I forget who, said "Isn't that an arch? I think that's the St. Louis Arch." Well, I look over, and I realize, we're so wasted to hell on ether and "bennies" that we ended up in St. Louis! We had to fly back, because the song isn't called "St. Louis!" That was a very expensive night of partying. What a funny story though.
E. Nix: We had an intensely condensed shooting schedule, shooting over 10 locations in four days all around Denver and the front range including the Blue Horse at DIA, Casa Bonita, Copper Mountain, Colfax Avenue, Civic Center, and more. We shot a ton of footage, giving us a whole lot to cut out in editing. This video is 50 percent music video, 50 percent documentary about our crazy intense Denver weekend. Also, fun fact: T.J. Miller is the first non-employee to legally dive off the cliffs in Casa Bonita's 38 year history.
A. Nix: We sat down early on and collectively put together a list of all of our best/craziest ideas. Andy worked hard to secure locations, beagles, etc. By the time we were done shooting we had enough footage to make like 16 music videos.
Juett: The most poignant moment of the shoot was at Pete’s Kitchen. We’d rented this incredibly heavy iron bathtub to shoot in front of Pete’s and filled it with caramel colored Big K sodas to produce the illusion of beer in some fashion and not pay as much to fill a bathub with beer. We ran back and forth to fill the thing with hot water from the kitchen in buckets as it was cold and we ran out of soda. While I was away for a minute getting props next door in the Satire Lounge, somebody comes down Colfax bumping the song “T.J. Miller” which is a song from The Extended Play E.P., and he just lit up and was so happy! He was in the bathub at the time and couldn’t believe it as the record had just come out and that hadn’t happened to him before. Everyone thought I’d planned it and had someone drive by because I was gone and it seems like something I’d do, but it was really a fan pumping his Denver pride from his vehicle and T.J.’s reaction and joy was priceless. Being able to shoot at Pete’s Kitchen was great to begin with. Having someone drive by blasting the album we were shooting was a pleasant surprise.
How did you guys get to shoot at the DIA "Blue Mustang?"
Juett: I reached out to DIA and the marketing people there including Jeff Green who was so easy to work with. We also got help from Matt Chasansky from the Art and Culture Department at DIA to let the Jimenez Estate let them know we wanted to shoot at “Blue Mustang.” It’s such a specific piece of Denver art that we felt it would be amazing if we could get it done. When T.J. and I rolled up in caravan (me in my car, he in his dad’s anthracite grey Mercedes) to DIA and I could see white vehicles with sirens on the hill and people and cameras, it was pretty surreal. 'That's our shoot!" I thought. I had a huge smile. We had just come from getting T.J.’s hair braided on Colfax early in the morning after a late night and it was hard not to get really excited about shooting there that morning. It was literally zero degrees that day even though you see it’s sunny in the shots. We were dying of cold as the wind was howling and racing in and out of vehicles between shots to keep our act together. T.J. was out in the middle of it the whole time and a total trooper.
E. Nix: I never expected we'd actually get to shoot at the feet of 'Blucifer,' let alone wake him from his thousand year hibernation and get him to sing a line for the camera. Producer Andy Juett was able to do amazing things and pull some serious strings to get us into every iconic Denver location we asked of him. I attribute his success rate to his dreamy bedroom eyes.
Miller: Andy Juett is a genius, and I have a relationship with the Denver Film Commission, who helped also. They've been great and are very interested in growing Denver talent and projects being shot in Denver.
The Denver comedy scene just keeps blowing up bigger, what do you guys attribute to this?
E. Nix: The scene here is expanding and maturing. Many of the mainstays in town are finding national level success, and the new ones in town all have this bright, beaming potential. There are shows and open mic's left and right, and some of them are these really cool, fresh shows like Kevin O'Brien's monthly comedy debate show "Arguments and Grievances" or Abbey Jordan's show "The Finger". Standup shows like "Too Much Fun" and "The Grawlix" are killing it, selling out seats on the regular. There's something really funny in the water here, I suspect.
Juett: It’s pretty amazing in market 19 (Denver) to have three viable 'bigger' consistent comedy venues like ComedyWorks Downtown and Landmark and great people like Wende Curtis, Susan Colyer and Mike Raftery and the Denver Improv which has been an urban room but has morphed itself a bit into a more complete club under the stewardship of Al Canal and Todd Leinenbach. It never stops in Denver. There are so many great comics and you can see them all the time. It’s glorious and sometimes the only settings I feel like a normal human in a given day are at these shows.
Miller: I think it has something to do with the water being magical unicorn urine.
Watch the video above, vote at Funny Or Die and let us know what you think in the comments below.
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