CEO – Comedy Works
Wende began her career with Comedy Works as a cocktail waitress, while finishing her degree in acting and directing at Colorado State University in 1986. Upon graduation, she quickly rose through the ranks to become a manager and talent coordinator. She then moved to several clubs while cutting her operational chops. After Fort Collins, she moved to Jazz Works (a Comedy Works entity), Comedy Works Tampa, and finally landed at the flagship, Comedy Works in downtown Denver. Eventually, she also consulted to help design and develop the (now defunct) club Comix in NYC’s meatpacking district.
Wende ultimately became the owner and proprietor of Comedy Works after purchasing the company in 2001. With the outstanding success of the downtown Denver club, Wende burgeoned on to open another Comedy Works location in the Denver Technology Center (DTC) in 2008. Comedy Works South was built with the idea of appealing to the customer base who had celebrated their 21st birthdays with the club downtown but who were now living in the suburbs with families and no longer wanted to spend their nights in the heart of Downtown Denver. Both clubs greet over 200,000 patrons per year.
To support and expand the up-and-coming Denver comedy community, Curtis has created various programs, but the Comedy Works weekly “New Talent” night is one of which she is most proud. It has blossomed into 350 hopeful young comedians working the program and hitting the stage.
Comedy Works and the relentless work ethic Wende embodies certainly does not go unnoticed. Among a multitude of other awards, Wende has been featured on the cover of CoBiz magazine, honored with the Denver Business Journal’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Women in Business and received outstanding business of the year from the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. But her proudest accolade is that of many comedians claiming Comedy Works to be one of their favorite comedy clubs in the country.
Wende believes in giving back and places extreme importance on charitable ventures through the clubs promoting local charities, hosting fundraisers and benefit shows, as well as giving of her own time and resources. Wende is often asked to speak, sharing her experiences of life and business, overcoming adversity, never giving up, and her incredible insight into all things comedy in Denver.
Wende loves four legged creatures. Most especially, bulldogs