Comedy at The Improv with Howie Nave: Tommy Savitt and Avi Liberman perform this week at Lake Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Comedy at The Improv with Howie Nave: Tommy Savitt and Avi Liberman perform this week at Lake Tahoe

Howie Nave
Special to Lake Tahoe Action

Tommy Savitt (AKA The Tommy Lama)

If ever there was a time for spiritual renewal, it's now. With all the madness going on in our planet I can't think of a better comedian/guru who is not only funny, but also has the kind of humor that stays with you long after the show ends. When I found out The Tommy Lama would be coming here I couldn't have been more thrilled. Technically he goes by his birth name, Tommy Savitt, but since finding his true purpose (and using comedy as his outlet), The Tommy Lama has created one of comedy's more unique shows.

I first met Savitt at the Boston Comedy Festival 10 years ago when he was part of the Best New Comedians competition. The following year he won top honors at the Seattle International Comedy Competition and was honored for Best In Comedy twice at the LA Comedy Awards.

Savitt has been seen on WGN America's "The Bob & Tom Show," SiTV's "Funny is Funny," "Man Up, Stand-Up"and on JLTV's "The James & Sunda Show." I have a coveted copy of his CD ("Who Wants Me Now?") that is still a favorite. Savitt really made it when he, as The Tommy Lama, was given his own show in Las Vegas at Laugh Factory Comedy Club (and — no surprise — he received some pretty cool reviews).

Maybe it was his years in the military that gave him the discipline he needed to shape him into the comedy guru he is today. During his stint as a Marine, Savitt was almost a JAG (Judge Advocate General), a lawyer for the military. It didn't quite work out that way though: While at boot camp on Paris Island, South Carolina, Savitt was too busy cutting everybody up with jokes, trying to keep things light and lively for his fellow recruits (much to the dismay of the drill instructor). Eventually he and the Marines had an amicable split.

As Savitt put it, "I got in great shape, though. I was the most in-shape law student ever. As I was leaving, my drill sergeant pulled me aside and berated me, telling me what a failure I was, how incompetent I was, how I was a quitter, that some unfortunate woman was going to marry me and bear me a child. Then he winked at me and said, 'Don't be a lawyer, be a comedian, Savitt.'" Thank goodness he followed the advice.

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Avi Liberman

Avi Liberman is back! Born in Israel, raised in Texas and educated in New York City, he has one of the most geographically diverse backgrounds ever. Oh, and you can add Los Angeles (where he currently resides). While in Southern California, he once worked part-time as a substitute teacher and honed his comedy chops at night — but it didn't take long to part ways with his teaching gig.

Liberman has appeared on CBS' "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson," Comedy Central's "Premium Blend" and "Make Me Laugh." His acting credits include "Dave's World" on CBS and "Boston Common" on NBC. He's also been heard on radio stations across the country. In addition to his stand-up, Liberman has been seen in television spots for Mercedes, L.A. Cellular, Miller Lite, Starbucks and Net Zero.

The comedian has also appeared in several well-known comedy festivals, including the prestigious Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal. He also books comedians in the Middle East, touring Israel and donating all proceeds to The Koby Mandell Foundation, which works with children that are victims of terror. Liberman has been doing this for years and it's not only a real passion for him, but also comics have been known to wait years just for the chance to be invited for this engagement.

The Improv at Harveys takes place Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays at 9 p.m. Two shows are held on Saturdays at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Learn more at http://www.harveystahoe.com.

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