Denver Bar Association
December 2008
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Good Food, Good Drink and Great Laughs!

The Docket Committee Reviews Wynkoop and The Impulse Theatre

Q: What do you get when a group of lawyers goes out to a comedy night?

A: A sigh of relief! In the case of The Docket Committee, believe it or not, a ton of fun!

We’d been toying with the idea for a while, to do a bar review at The Wynkoop Brewing Co. in LoDo near Union Station. The main goal would be to head downstairs to the basement for a show at The Impulse Theater.

Then, we heard about Denver attorney Mark Grueskin’s reason for doing improvisational comedy. Apparently, beyond of his career at Issacson Rosenbaum, he’s been known to get on stage.

"Improv is great training to be a lawyer," says Grueskin. "It teaches you that talking is not nearly as important as listening. When you do speak, you can’t be tied to a script. You always need to be ready to throw yourself into the fray with self-confidence and with your own way of saying things."

Grueskin’s testimony sealed the deal.

Nine of us met upstairs at The Wynkoop Thursday, Oct. 30, near the pool tables, for our quarterly bar review and Docket Committee meeting. From the comfort of a pod of cozy dark leather couches, we ordered a nice round of microbrews and other libations from the pleasantly busy server.

As our stomachs began to growl, she obliged our request to relocate to a giant arc-shaped wooden table for a quick dinner and another round.

Laughs from Docket Committee members and guests echoed through the theatre. Those in attendance included, from left, DBA President Mark Fogg, Pat Fogg, Rob Wood, Christine Nierenz, James Rufus Garts, Mariya Barmak, Tara Miller and Chair Becky Bye.

They say if you work to excel at something you love to do, and do it for at least 10 years, that’s when you make it. Well, Impulse Theater has been working at improv for more than 25 years in Denver. They sure made our night, or for some of us, our entire month! We laughed almost the entire 90-minute show.

Typically, the show features 10 to 12 short scenes, all made up by the actors on the spot. Each type of scene follows its own form and rules, like a game would. Think Second City or The Groundlings. (If you haven’t seen either of these, don’t worry, neither have we! That’s just what it says on

The unpredictably fun part of each scene is the audience participation. Now, most of us are the sort who really don’t want to get on stage. Really. Which turned out to be no problem, because Impulse leaves the stage to only the professionals. We were, however, happy to yell out out suggestions from the comfort of our chairs. When we finally figured out they weren’t going to do any lawyer jokes, we started getting really clever.

Our favorite scene, hands-down, was the one called, "Trial of the Century." It’s hard to describe how we were rolling on the floor, but we can repeat one Docketeer’s exclaimation, "Oh man, this is just like court!" when the prosecutors were practically on their knees, begging the person on the stand to answer the question. The impromptu costumes were so bad they were fantastic, from old wigs and Viking hats, to silver fabric shreds and ‘70s garb.

Our second favorite scene was "Fast-Forward, Reverse." As with most comedy, it defies explanation; if you weren’t there you missed it. But try to imagine if the stage manager at the live show had a magic tv remote control to make the actors do a scene, pushing buttons over and over. Fast-forward. Reverse. Fast-forward. Reverse. Hilarious.

But how did they memorize 10 lines in 60 seconds? These men and women on stage are whipsmart.

Unlike a stand-up comedy club or cabaret, The Impulse does not permit hecklers. And there’s no super-risqué adult content. The Impulse says it rates itself as PG-13, with some adult subject matter shown in a tasteful, intelligent manner. They do have occasional all-ages shows. Of course, there’s no vulgar language or offensive material, though we doubt you’d be interested in that anyway, right gentle Docket reader?


To get tickets for a great night out at The Impulse Theater, 1634 18th St., call (303) 297-2111. Tickets cost $18, or group discounts are available. The crew and theater are available for private corporate events, workshops and practical jokes. We see it as a cheap way to get everyone to lighten up around the office.

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