Howie Nave, Lake Tahoe Improv

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January 30, 2013
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Bobby Collins: New Yorker trapped in California unleashed at Lake Tahoe

Bobby Collins only comes to Harveys Improv during the winter months in part because he loves to ski.

He also incorporates his family when booked up here to make it a working vacation.

Part host, part radio guy and part travel agent, we do what we can. We get a lot of inquiry about Bobby, and if it snowed up here in July trust me, he'd be here twice a year.

Although he resides in southern California, Bobby is a New York native through and through. He has the original take on East Coast/ West Coast sensibilities and can do an hour just on that. Bobby's fan base is pretty solid and he adds admirers every time he performs. I think Bobby's insights on everyday life touches a thread with everyone because sooner or later we all experience similar situations hence we get to laugh at the foibles of being human.

Collins has done specials on Showtime, hosted VH1's "Stand-Up Spotlight" and has opened for such acts as Cher, Dolly Parton, Julio Iglesias and Tony Bennett. He was nominated for a CableACE Award as well as for the American Comedy Awards "Stand-up Comic of the Year." His first CD, "On The Inside," showcased his wide-ranging observational material and his second CD, "Out of Bounds," earned him a Grammy nomination. His other four CDs include "You're Not Coming With Us," "Mr. New York," "I Wanna Go Home" and most recently "I'm on the Boat." His DVD "Bobby Collins: Live from New York City" is one that I have. It captures the best of his standup performance. Bobby has also appeared in five feature films and numerous television shows.

Bobby was destined for a career in comedy when his father named him after his favorite comedian, Bob Hope (good thing it wasn't Phyllis Diller). Bobby told me that he'd never seen the legendary icon but, "When I was appearing in Philadelphia for the first time, a newspaper reporter from New York City caught my act and liked it so much he put me on the entire cover of the paper's weekend section. Lost in the cover's corner was a tiny picture of Bob Hope. While I was visiting with friends at the club, a black limousine pulled up and the driver handed me a manila envelope. There was a signed photo of Bob Hope inside along with a handwritten note saying 'How dare you get top billing on a weekend' with a happy face drawn at the bottom. That's probably one of the best tributes I've ever heard from one comic to another, especially when that comic just happens to be a legend."

It reads like an old joke. How does a Jewish, half-Israeli comedian get to Afghanistan? Practice, practice, practice.

Born in Nahariya to American parents, Avi Liberman has been doing standup comedy in Los Angeles for more than a decade. He has regular spots at all the hottest clubs down there in addition to rooms in New York, Las Vegas and yes, Lake Tahoe. What's really interesting is that in addition to his standup career, Avi has kept his position as a substitute teacher, which must take both his students and school district by surprise sometimes. Then again, Avi has always been bi-vocational.

When not filling in as a teacher in the classroom you might have seen him on CBS' "Late Late Show" with Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central's "Premium Blend" and "Make Me Laugh" as well as on NBC's "Friday Night!" His acting credits include "Dave's World" on CBS, "Boston Common" on NBC and "Andytown U.S.A." on Comedy Central. Avi can be seen regularly on E! as one of their frequent guests on the very popular countdown series.

He has guest starred on "Movies at Our House," as well as having shot a pilot titled "Through the Keyhole" both on AMC.

He's also been heard on radio stations across the country.

A successful commercial actor, Avi has appeared in spots for "Mercedes," "L.A. Cellular," "Miller Lite," "Starbucks" and "Net Zero." He has appeared at the prestigious Montreal Just for Laughs Festival and booked comics on his own for tours to Israel donating all of the proceeds to different charities.

Avi's observations on life experiences and topical issues are more than enough to keep his comedy plate full. And as mentioned earlier, Avi does plenty of shows non-stop overseas entertaining both civilians and military personnel alike.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jan 30, 2013 05:29PM Published Jan 30, 2013 05:26PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.