Old friends coming back to the Improv
October 16, 2008
Yay: Wendy Liebman is back! There are times when you just look forward to having certain acts up here who are both entertaining on- and offstage.
Some of the best times we have ever had are when Wendy bursts out into spontaneous singing and then makes me join her. Who knows ” we could be related? OK, maybe not in this life.
Wendy is one of those people you warm up to almost immediately. Wendy loves coming up to Tahoe whenever she can, so we try to get her up here at least twice a year.
She has a unique style when it comes to delivery: “My mother is a ventriloquist ” but not professionally. For 10 years I thought the dog was telling me to kill my father.” Waiting a beat, she adds, “I got my brother to do it.”
Originally from Long Island, she went to a college in Boston refers to as IOU, where she studied psychology and histrionics. Wendy got her start in standup by enrolling in a class at the Cambridge center for adult education. She began doing open mic nights at Boston comedy clubs and performed throughout New England for the next six years.
“I kept my secretarial day job, though I would call in sick a lot. I would say I had ‘female problems.’ My boss didn’t know I meant her.”
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Wendy’s stock in trade is the one-liner with the subliminal afterthought. The effectiveness lies largely in her timing: The punch line invariably falls after the joke seems to be over.
Wendy was one of the rare few to work on “The Tonight Show” with both Johnny Carson and Jay Leno. I lay you odds that when he retires and Conan takes over, she’ll have appeared on that show with three different hosts.
Wendy has appeared on just about every television program it seems including Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” HBO’s “Women of the Night,” “Comic Relief VII,” :The Late Late Show with David Letterman” and the movie “The Aristocrats.” When you get to know Wendy, that is the last movie you would expect her to be in: Such naughty language!
Oh my: I can’t believe we have Burghart here. The last time he was here, the economy was actually doing well.
I have to tell you right up front that if you start to engage Jeff in any conversation, it will wind up being funny. He never seems to rest when it comes to the comedy of everything. He is without a doubt one of the best voice impressionists working today bar none. And yes, if you do talk to him, he will answer you in every voice except his own! He doesn’t have voices just in his head but actual characters who apparently need to come out from time to time. Good thing that he is in the field of comedy or else they probably would have locked him up a long time ago.
Jeff has a treasure chest of characters with different impressions. Some originated in Texas, as did Jeff. Those include his dairy farmer uncle and a Spanish Rodney Dangerfield, so who knows what their water supply must be doing to others down in the Lone Star State.
His versatility has made him a hot commodity, and comic legend Jerry Lewis once quipped, “Jeff is one of the craziest people I’ve ever seen in my whole life.”
Wendy Liebman, Jeff Burghart and host Howie Nave will bring their standup comedy to the South Shore Room at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18. Tickets are $25.
Colin Quinn, who had been scheduled to perform, instead will appear at Harrah’s on April 11.