Henton, Simmons deliver the punchlines at Tahoe Improv
April 19, 2012
If you followed John Henton, the headliner through Sunday at Harveys Improv, around for a day even before he went on stage, you, too, would find out why he’s a good guy to be around.
For starters, there isn’t much that fazes him these days. And if something did, he’d reserve it later when he was on stage, so you’d be hearing it for the first time, making the outcome that much funnier.
John told me once there was this really cute girl in her 20s who was being all nice to John after a comedy show and wanted her picture taken with him. She asked him, “You’re that guy who was on “Living Single” right? Oh my, my mother loved that show!”
Henton was on “Living Single” as well as “The Hughleys” for which he received an NAACP Image Award.
He also was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, proving that Henton could cross boundaries with the roles he perfected.
John’s been asked to appear on a number of both daytime and nighttime talk shows including ABC-TV’s “The View” and “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” and he’s one of the few comedians who appeared on “NBC’s “The Tonight Show” with both Johnny Carson and Jay Leno. In fact, after John had finished his set on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” he was called over to take a seat on the coveted couch where Carson asked him if he had an agent. To John’s reply of “no,” Carson mugged, “Well you will after tonight.” It was a performance that John says gave his career “a serious jump-start.”
Soon after, John appeared on “The Bob Hope Young Comedians’ Special” and eventually got his own special, “John Henton: Comedy With An Attitude,” on Showtime.
Henton has opened for a multitude of great entertainers including Little Richard, Paul Rodriguez, the GAP Band, the Pointer Sisters, Kool & The Gang, Kenny Loggins and Kenny G.
Whether she knows it or not, Kat Simmons is becoming one of today’s more inspirational comedians.
No, it’s not because she works “clean” or her material focuses on being do-gooder. I mean, don’t get me wrong – she would be the first act I would consider for any corporate engagement or as a speaker to open a conference – but it’s because she relates so well with people and not just women (although they tend to laugh hardest at her shows).
She’s been through so much in this life that the average person would probably give up, but Kat uses her life experiences as fuel for her comedy and, trust me, she gets very good mileage out of it.
Part of Kat’s appeal is her multi-layered existence in the world of comedy. I truly believe that Sybil is her agent and divides her up into as many arenas as possible. I know Kat as a solo artist, as an ensemble artist in the very funny and popular trio, “3 Blonde Moms,” as a producer who puts comedy shows together and as a teacher who teaches those who would like to not just be comedians (although I still think you can’t completely teach the funny) but also learning to be more comfortable speaking in front of crowds be it a presentation format or one-on-one with decision-makers.
She’s opened for the likes of Tim Allen, Diane Ford and Kenny Rogers although looking at their careers lately I could easily see them opening for Kat. If you’ve never experienced her act by the way it’s very physical which in itself is pretty funny. And yes, as I’ve said on numerous occasions, if Dick Van Dyke and Carol Burnett had a daughter it would be Kat Simmons.
Kat has done the L.A. thing appearing on countless shows but she chose to live here (as she puts it), “In Hooterville, er, I mean Gardnerville.” She has priorities in-check and her head screwed on straight. I don’t know what else I could say about her without pretending to be her publicist, but Kat to me is one of the hardest-working comics I know. When John Henton sent me a text asking who he was working with and I mentioned Kat, John sent back a text within minutes that said, “I love Kat!!”