Sweat, slapstick and spandex – for the past decade, Lucha Libre & Laughs, otherwise known as Triple L, has been promoting their unique event of live wrestling and stand-up comedy hybrid, the fever dream of founder Nick Gossert who expected this to be a one and done type of situation that exploded into its own grassroots niche. On June 2nd and 3rd, they threw their Best Wishes Warmest Regards anniversary show at The Oriental Theatre and unleashed an incredible line-up of talent, from the wrestlers and the comedians.
“It’s one of those things where it’s like ‘man maybe I should have pulled the plug, because how do you top that?” Gossert said. “Somehow every match was the best match, but the next match was somehow better. It was this constant paradoxical stack of matches and everybody delivered on it.”
The premise is simple. Comedians commentate on a couple of wrestling rounds, roasting them and their techniques, outfits and blows. Every couple of matches another comedian takes the stage to perform their own set before moving on to the next few showdowns. Repeat for 10 years. It’s non-stop engagement with the audience and has become popular since its premiere.
The first show managed to pull in 90 people — a roaring success for a self-described first-time, goofy thing ten years ago. After some time passed, and once people understood the concept, they saw it as a successful show and business model, and that Gossert was more than a “carny goofball out of nowhere”, more eyes began to focus on Triple L.
Several things had to go right for Triple L to succeed as much as it has. Gossert mentions that in the beginning, he felt like anybody outside of his brain didn’t really understand what it actually was, pitching to local wrestling talent and comedians saying that either it’ll work, or it won’t, a challenge made even more difficult given Gossert’s lack of a wrestling background at the time.
Several of the wrestlers who started with them, even ones who have made names for themselves at this point, have a soft spot for the company, like Royce Isaacs, who’s currently involved with New Japan Pro Wrestling and previously with NWA. He wasn’t even a wrestler to begin with — he was just a fan who ended up seeing their third show and wanted in.
“I had a friend who found the advertising for Triple L and showed up at my door and after the show, I ended up talking to Nick. I just wanted to be involved in wrestling and I thought it was a really cool show,” Isaacs said. “So I found out where to train and literally the next week started, and Lucha Libre & Laughs ended up being one of the first places to book me when I was fully trained and ready to start wrestling and I’ve kind of become a mainstay ever since.”
One of the other major factors of their success also has to do with the idea that this is more than just a wrestling or comedy night, rather it is a unique experience in Denver. While it’s not uncommon for wrestling superfans to attend and see some of the big names that show up making guest appearances — like three-time Princess of Princess Champion Miyu Yamashita who attended the first night.
The first night opened up with comedians Nathan Lund and Sam Tallent, hosts of the podcast Chubby Behemoth and longtime friends of Gossert, riling up the crowd and not holding back any punches when it came to roasting them, the theatre, or Gossert himself.
Not even the photographers were safe from them. They also made sure to let everyone know how big of a deal it was to make it to a decade, although Tallent mentioned the show has “been good for like eight of those years.”
Lucha Libre & Laughs has become a mainstay at The Oriental Theatre and feature shows throughout the year. July 1, 2023, they’ll be at Ratio Beerworks’ Overland Location for a free show, with another paid event at The Oriental on August 11, 2023.